“Conference” sounds important, doesn’t it? It sounds like you’re knowledgeable and you are going to the conference to further that knowledge and network and drink cold coffee from those boring little conference cups. Because you’re important.
Then people ask you what it’s for and you’re all like… “um, a blogging conference”. And they’re all like “oh. What’s a blog?”
And you want to explain the fabulous world you’ve fallen into like Alice down the rabbit hole and you can’t because it’s so big and it’s so much a part of you now that when you say you write stuff on the internet it sounds weird. And it doesn’t encompass the incredible connections and opportunities and fun and challenge that the blogging world includes.
Lucky for me, most of my friends have blogs, or sites for their photography, or sites for their music and it isn’t weird at all. But for those who don’t, I’m at a loss to answer the inevitable “how’s the blog going?”. Well, it’s going really well, thank you, but I get so much more out of it than I can actually describe. And I’m not sure you really get it and I will end up sounding like a freak and now I don’t want you to read my blog because that would be awkward and I didn’t think you paid attention and I’m fairly certain I don’t want you knowing quite that much about me.
Now a conference, on the other hand, is full of people that get it. And it’s normal. In fact, it’s desirable to have a blog. And care about your blog and work on your blog and take photos for your blog and talk about other blogs you love. I’m incredibly fortunate that I have a husband that understands and encourages, but for all the ladies out there whose husbands think you buy shoes and lurk Facebook with your online time, this is a chance to fully blossom into the blogger you truly are, in a nurturing environment!
I find conferences and public things really quite intimidating, I’m not terribly good at being social and I suck so hard at small talk. But I’ve never found conferences or blog meetups to be terrifying at all, once you get there. It seems everyone is a little nervous and lost in a sea of strangers (who probably aren’t actually strangers but you don’t know them immediately on sight… until you see their blog title!) and we could all do with a friendly face and a “hi”. That’s usually all you need to get going!
I know people talk about cliques and in-crowds and whatnot, but to be honest, I can’t keep up with what everyone’s doing, and people tend to congregate in little groups and plans are made. I’m often not there when they are. I don’t see it as clique-y (it sounds nasty and schoolyardy, two things I loathe!), but sometimes you’re catching up with people you’ve forged friendships with and don’t see very often, so it’s natural to get together. The number-one mistake anyone attending these conferences can make is to take it personally. It’s never anything you’ve said or done or not said or done, and it’s not that you’re not “big enough”… I find it’s a very equal playing field at these things, and nobody wants anybody to feel insecure or left out. There’s just so many of us now! And if you are getting together with a select few you’re dying to see – don’t feel guilty. Soak it up, enjoy the moment and maybe next time that select few will have grown.
The best part about going to a blogging conference is learning new things about something you love, meeting people if that’s your goal, watching everyone eat, sleep and breathe blogging, and experiencing something out of your everyday. And if you’re a mum, this is something that is just for you.
I’m off to pack my bags ready for my flight tomorrow. It’s gonna be one hell of a weekend and I’m going to make sure I damn well enjoy it, no matter what!