You know when you aren’t in the mood for something? Well, that was me at Britmums Live this weekend just past. I wasn’t in the mood.
Most of the reason for this was due to my eldest daughter having been away on her school residential that week; by attending BML on Friday I missed out on collecting her from the coach, and on the Saturday I just wanted to stay at home and spend time with her.
Because of my mood, it would be fair to say that I probably didn’t give BML my best shot this year.
But also, I’ve been to six blogging conferences now, so some of the content is probably becoming a little old hat for me.
One thing I learnt this year is that I probably need to get out of my comfort zone and go to some sessions I wouldn’t normally attend. Nothing on the Friday blew me away, and the ‘Funny Women’ talk in particular left me wondering ‘what was the point of that?’ If you attended this session, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it as I think I must have missed something crucial; I had NO idea what was going on!
I went to the Published Authors and Literary Agent sessions and they were okay, but I learnt nothing new. I should have gone to the Feminism one instead. According to Twitter, it was a blinder.
I didn’t stick around for the BIBS but scurried home to hug my daughter instead.
Saturday started very promisingly with a Keynote Speech from the inspirational Katie Piper. I don’t watch much TV and have no interest in celebrities, so had only the vaguest idea who this woman standing on the podium was. If I’m honest, I had some vague idea that she was sometimes known as Jordan!
So I was completely blindsided by Katie’s story. What an amazing, brave , inspirational woman she is. Her mum was in the audience and Katie professed her love for her and thanked her for her support, but to be honest, if Katie was my daughter I think I’d be the proudest mum around.
After that incredibly moving speech, the day could have spiraled downhill quite easily, but it didn’t.
I didn’t get much out of the Innovative Blogging Model session itself, but stayed behind to talk to one of the speakers afterwards and got some good advice about self publishing the travel books I am beavering away at.
And after morning tea I attended quite a scientific session that asked ‘Are We Really Addicted To The Internet?’ I rather suspected the answer would be yes but went along anyhow, and I’m glad I did. The speaker was rather serious, but I found her lecture fascinating. Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE is not anti computers, but as she explained that the human race’s strength is the adaptability of our brains, she rightfully pointed out that if a child is spending x hours a day in front of a computer or TV, then their brain is missing out on X hours of real life. This will have an impact on the brain’s development.
We need to strive for balance when it comes to the internet and our kids. Computers are important but so is activity, socialisation and fresh air.
She also pointed out that online interaction is NOT a substitute for In Real Life socialisation. When you talk to someone on the computer, all you see is words. When you communicate person to person, words make up only 10% of what is said. The other 90% of communication is conveyed by body language, facial expression, volume, pheromones, and maybe bodily contact. This is definitely something I need to bear in mind as I am definitely getting less sociable in my old age.
Next up was a pretty lively Travel Blogging session. I like to think of myself as a bit of a travel blogger, so I found a lot of this talk relevant and plucked up the courage to go up and have a chat with Kirstie from The Family Adventure project as we seem to be planning the same summer holiday. We are doing it by car and they are doing it on bikes!
Then it was lunchtime and I can’t say I was impressed by the lunch this year. Mine was rice curry(?) with one bit of chicken in the box. Still, there was plenty to eat and no one went hungry. I spent a lot of the lunch time wandering around talking to various brands and trying to find someone who was giving away carry bags as I had run out of handbag space at this point!
After lunch I attended the Review and Sponsored Posts talk, which basically ended up as a discussion about follow/ no-follow links. It was probably worth it for the reminder to add some discussion about value-for-money to any product reviews though. This is a good point and information I need to remember to include.
I intended to go to the Pinterest session next, but arrived late and it was completely chockablock so I couldn’t get in. I wonder if there is some way that the organisers could gauge popularity before allocating rooms, as that session would have probably made better use of the huge main room rather than been poked downstairs out of the way.
After that we had a non existent closing Keynote session followed the Bloggers’ Keynote posts. These are always good, so I’m glad I stayed for them but straight afterwards the session launched into a memorial song for Multiple Mummy. For various reasons I felt very uncomfortable during this and would have preferred to have had the choice to be involved or not. I don’t mean any disrespect to Kerry, I really didn’t know her, despite having had a coffee with her a few weeks before her aneurysm at the Christmas In July event. But I have ‘grief issues’ of my own and dislike singing in public, so to have to entire conference end on this note cast a bit of a cloud over the whole event.
Also last year, I’m sure there was wine and food on the table during the last part of the day, but maybe I was wrong. There was nothing this year anyhow, and I’d been looking forward to a drink to set me up for the long tube trip home!
I do think that the Britmums was less social this time around. Maybe the blogging world has become more cliquey as friendships have formed, and I understand why people who see each other only 1-2 times a year want to spend as much time as possible together. But I spoke to at least three newbie bloggers who felt quite left out during the conference. A couple felt that they had been actively snubbed while attempting to make friendly conversation with people sitting next to them. This seems a pity, as surely the blogging community wants to attract as much new blood as possible.
All in all I think Britmums Live 2013 was a positive experience for me, and I’m planning to attend again next year. But I am not going to attend every session for the sake of it next year, only those I really want to. I’m going to chat to more brands, drink more coffee and socialise more. I think I’m going to make a wish list of people to catch up with and tape it to my back.
So if you see your blog name on it, please stop me and say hello!