“I think there’s just so many of them now, we’re over it,” my UK blogging mate muttered.
As I’d just finished presenting BlogCamp Auckand (The Second) and was preparing for Problogger Training Event on the Gold Coast this weekend, her words made me pause.
I pondered over the Blogging Conference ‘thing’. Has it turned into being a bit much?
The expense for travel and tickets..
The nerves about meeting an entire conference hall full of people we may think we know but don’t really..
Not to mention those feelings of utter inadequacy as we face the great and the good of the blogging world.
Are we over it?
I’ve been to a few conferences over the years, including the CyberMummy in London in 2010, and TBU in Oporto in 2012, not to mention a number of BritMums, Tots100 events and others. Whilst each conference was different, and my ‘take aways’ (to use conf lingo!) were different there was a great deal that was the same.
Some good, some not so. Some was downright challenging.
But despite all this, I’d never considered not attending or holding them anymore.
But maybe I should? Are blogging conferences so last year?
My blogging mate made the case that there are just too many in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s time-consuming attending them all and costly. She may have a point.
Recently there was a huge broohaha in reaction to a Wall Street Journal written by Katherine Rosman subtitled ‘The Mommy Business Trip – Conferences Appeal to Women With a Guilt-Free, Child-Free Reason to Leave Home’. *
Because, of course, women don’t go on real business trips. They just want to get away from the man and the kids and go booze with their other friends in a mummies behaving badly perfect storm!
Then there’s the criticism that blogging conferences are so busy it’s almost impossible to make contacts and that everyone is simply out to find new readers for their own blog. That it’s all over commercialised and the brands don’t want to talk to little bloggers.
I confess I haven’t experienced that. In fact, I’ve experienced the exact opposite and have even travelled to the conference venue to hang out with attendees after the conference, such is the importance I place on making connections. Some of those connections can turn out to be incredibly helpful – not only companies who want to work with me and partner with Vegemitevix, but making some brilliant new friends from brands and bloggers alike!
In my experience the best networking happens after the scheduled sessions over a glass of something socially lubricating.
With that in mind we rejigged the format for the last BlogCamp Auckland, and introduced a one hour lunch offsite. It was a huge success and everyone felt a highlight of the day! I’m working towards encouraging Blogcampers to go out together after the workshop to enjoy some socialising together, we haven’t quite got there yet, but I suspect we will. Maybe it will happen in the Christchurch BlogCamp scheduled for 9th November? They’re pretty social down in Chch!
Though I can see how the cynical might assume that blogging conferences are a bit of a junket, I wonder whether they have considered the other side of the story.
That blogging conferences provide an outlet for professionals who typically work alone (mostly at home) to meet together, share ideas and experiences and learn from each other?
That the majority of bloggers I meet at conferences are actually fairly shy individuals and putting yourself out there, beyond your laptop screen can be really nerve-wracking?
Do they realise that blogging conferences are go-go-go and exhausting!?
For me to get to Problogger I’m going to have to get up at 3am on Friday morning, and even then I will miss the first morning’s sessions. As for getting boozed and shaking my groove thang until the wee hours, as if! I’ll be the one in the corner mainlining coffee and stifling a yawn.
Don’t forget if you want to join in the fun but can’t make it to the GC by tomorrow you can get the Virtual Pass over there >>>
Of course I’m looking forward to meeting people like Mrs Woog and Mrs Styling You and Mr Problogger himself, but mainly I’m hoping to soak up some new stuff. New ideas, new information, even a whole new season’s weather. I hear it’s Summer on the Gold Coast which is mighty fine by me!
It’s a chance for me to stop presenting and giving out but just experience a little receiving. After holding three BlogCamps in Auckland and Wellington in the space of four weeks I’m knackered and ready for a little input.
BlogCamp Auckland (The Second) last weekend was awesome, and I loved meeting up with some of the original Blogcampers as well as welcoming some very cool recruits like Celeste from Celeste Reviews, Andrea from BabyBanz, Siobhan from A Little Bit Mummy and Jessica from Weepals.
The gorgeous door prize of a beautiful bundle of Nude by Nature makeup and skincare products was won by Elizabeth from To Find a Silver Lining. Lucky girl!
Whilst Lisa, Siobhan and Nat each won their own packages of the very sweet one-size fits all re-useable nappy by Bambino Mio.
Bio Oil did us proud providing these cool almost glow in the dark orange pens and their fabulously effective skincare oil which I’ve been dutifully (and gratefully) slathering over my stretchmarks… or stretch dents as I like to call them.
Nat Cutler-Welsh came along and gave a spirited presentation about how to use Facebook effectively and then gifted a fab 2 hour session with herself – the Go to Girl – which was won by Jess from Foxes Blog.
Celeste won the two hour free consult with c’est moi.
But overall it was win win for everyone. We all felt better for getting together and sharing our crazy stories with other crazy bloggers. We all felt supported and inspired and motivated to get back out there and keep on blogging.
And that is really the best win of all from blogging conferences. Validation. For our industry, for our craft, for our blogging businesses from our peers.
What more could you want for?
Has the blogging conference bandwagon run away with us?
Maybe. But you don’t have to go to every one! Instead of traipsing around the world from conference to conference how about choosing one or two that really fulfill your needs as a blogger? And then once you’ve done that, set yourself some goals for the conference and go and enjoy it.
After all, you – yes, blogging you, deserve it.
NB/ Whilst I’m at Problogger I just may enjoy stretching out on a hotel bed, running myself a bubble bath and NOT cooking dinner. But be clear, it is most definitely a blogging business trip…Now where’s that swimsuit?
* All of the products in this post were provided to us at Parents Online New Zealand (which I also run) to give away. But, all opinions are my very truthful, own.