Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Was Blogfest an introverts flashmob?

On Saturday I had the absolute pleasure of attending my first ever blogging event, the delicious Mumsnet Blogfest

I had a grand time listening to such inspiring speakers like Francesca Martinez, the Fleet Street Fox, Suzanne Moore, Rachel Joyce, Harriet Lane, Lynn Barber, Nick Hornby, Lucy Porter and the man that talks faster than I do when I bump into a beautiful blogging moment (ie, a passionate speaker)...Paul Armstrong. And with Rachel's writerly advice to 'forget the washing', it's like she had already heard about my #stuffthelaundry Twitter linky I launched last week!



I had thought it was the absolute wrong time for me to not have Wi-Fi access; I'd swapped my broken smart phone for a Blackberry only a mere few days earlier, and I don't know about you, Dear Reader, but it takes me a good six months to figure out the smarts on a phone.  And my Kindle is reaching it's second birthday, so having the appropriate tantrums: Wi-Fi was available throughout Kings Place, but my devices weren't cooperating on the day.  

I couldn't join in the tweeting!  
Well, I could read the twitter feed, and take notes on my Blackberry.

I couldn't instantly upload pictures!  
No, but I could chat to the blogger next to me.

I couldn't check back home with my family!  
No, but they could ring me if there was a problem.

All couldn'ts suitably dealt with, I sat back and enjoyed the presentations, and nattered to the willing bloggers around me. 

When I arrived I was as nervous as a woman walking into a room full of strangers could be.  But I rationalised that if I didn't enjoy myself I could always clear off to Westfield for a spot of shopping research.

Throughout the day I sometimes felt like a shy teenager loitering under the stairs at the popular party, until I found other shy people who understood what I was going through. Was Blogfest really an introverts flashmob?  

I realised that I didn't need to take part in the seemingly speed-networking event, and I also learned I wasn't the only nervous attendee.

I found the balance of confidence that is needed for single people in new situations: I was good enough to be there simply for being me.

The event ran smoothly, and was clearly a project of absolute dedication for the Mumsnet Team, although, perhaps for next year the team might like to throw in a few ice-breakers, where we have to collect information from other bloggers.  At one conference I attended, each person was given a playing card, and encouraged to find their matching pair in order to claim a free chocolate bar.  I met a lot of people at that event.

The food was plentiful throughout the day, and plenty of moments provided for us to step away from the programme and talk over coffee, or lean over the rails to look at the eager bloggers below and reflect on what we learned from each session (that we need waterproof mascara when listening to Francesca Martinez make us laugh).

I took away with me so many future steps for my blog (new social media trends, writer-inspiration, google+ definition) and the techie tips at the end of the day offered guidance on how to protect the posts on my blog (back them up).



Oh, and the delightful goody bag of edibles, beauty samples, warming scarf/pashmina/blanket, a Boden bag and an actual book means I can't wait for the early bird tickets for Blogfest15 to go on sale!

Do you use a reward system (shopping and/or chocolate) to help you through a tremendous yet giddy-with-the-nerves time?  
 

5 comments:

  1. Hi It was a pleasure to meet up with you at Blogfest. We missed a golden opportunity to photo bomb an audience speaker. If you look at the heading photos posted by Mumsnet, I believe that is me up front and centre and you were sat next to me. It is a shame we did not have a mask of Francesca Martinez and turned round. Francesca certainly made a lasting impression with me that we all suffer from image confidence her interpretation of life is something we should all aspire to.

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  2. Er, oh-kay. Can't see myself in any of the photos, think you may have mixed me up. Was quite far back during the Think Bomb. Agree that her interpretation of life is fantabulous.

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  3. Er, yes you can. If you look again at the first picture you will see your hand in the air. Sorry for misleading you with my comment about Francesca.

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  4. I went to Blogfest last year, but not this. I think they do a fabulous goodie bag. Sounds like a wonderful day. Blogging conferences are wonderful places for people who have found their niche to then take the next step and find their people. Especially, for the most nervous and introverted. Glad you enjoyed. Maybe I should go next year.

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  5. Hi Gemma

    I've just seen this message - think it got a bit muddled amongst all the sale offers lurking in my inbox! I'm definitely looking forward to Blogfest next year, and not just for the goody bag; was so inspiring being around all those blogging enthusiasts and experts! Think early bird tickets were on sale around Easter time last year :)

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