My first time at BlogFest 14
Dear mummy, pheweee! What a weekend! It’s been non-stop and not the relaxing weekend we hoped for at all. My mummy attended her first Mumsnet BlogFest on Saturday in the big smoke and came back feeling mixed about the whole thing. Why you may ask? It’s not as if she paid to go, surely it’s like looking a gift horse in the mouth? My mummy is not ungrateful at all and had a lovely, quick catch up with her fairy godmother Karen @Minitravllers to say thank you for the free ticket and she passed on her thanks to Alice @skimlinks too.
However, she came back with a feeling like she didn’t belong in this world of professional blogging. It all started at the beginning of the day, butterflies in her tummy on the cold dark platform waiting to get the train up to London, leaving me behind for the whole day and feeling guilty for doing that. She wasn’t off to a great start and was worried about what she was letting herself into. Thankfully she met another fellow blogger at Waterloo, Amy, who was nervous about crossing London on the tube and getting lost, so mummy offered to help her navigate the dark tunnels of London.
It all seemed a bit rushed and hectic as she joined up with some more mummy bloggers at Kings Cross station, they seemed friendly enough, even though they hadn’t planned to meet her and hadn’t a clue who the hell my mummy was! Awkward smiles and exchanges about the event were made, but my mummy still felt out of the loop and that she was hanging onto other people’s groups of friends. It was like being back at school and my mummy didn’t like it, she felt like the odd one out – on the fringe, so broke away trying to find other bloggers who were on were on their own and strike up a conversation. Blogfest was held at Kings Place and was massive and as she travelled down the escalators my mummy was overwhelmed by how busy it was.Mumsnet had laid on coffee, tea and pastries but she hardly had a tea or anything before the breakfast session was over and everyone was ushered into the main hall for the welcome talk. It’s was so busy and the air was buzzing, lots of chatter and laughing, tweeting and photographs were taken.
For the first time mummy felt like she was part of something important but maybe still out of her depth. See, my mummy is only a part-time blogger, it’s not her intention to take her blogging to the ‘next level’ or to make a profession out of it like some others she met. She felt like a fraud too, my mummy is not a writer, she’s bad at grammar and spelling. Afterwards she came out of the main hall feeling suffocated by expectation and pressure. At least she could go and hide in the next session ‘Getting more from Google+’ she anticipated that it would be empty as everyone surely would want to attend the ‘Masterclass in Making Money from your Blog’? See my mummy isn’t really that fussed about making money from this blog *shock horror* you may not believe it, but this really is a hobby. (That phase was repeated over and over again during the course of the day to people’s disbelief) The Google+ session was going to be interesting as mummy wanted to know the power of it and what all the fuss was about. She wasn’t disappointed James Dearsley was fantastic and gave a brief but brilliant overview of Google+ in a simple and visual way.
My mummy was dying for a drink afterwards and a bit of a break after absorbing ‘too much input Stephanie’, so started to queue to get a her nails done and soak up the atmosphere while the majority of the bloggers went into the ‘Think Bombs’ session on the main hall. It was nice and quite out here on the mezzanine level, she watch staff set up the yummy lunch and stopped by the TalkTalk stand.
Before she knew it the masses descended on the mezzanine and foyer area for lunch. The decimal level increased and the chatting reached fever pitch. My mummy takes after my Grandma and likes to talk, however she dodged all the large circles of giggling bloggers drinking mulled wine in their clicky groups, others taking selfies and felt very alone, surrounded by so many people.
Thankfully @Vaichin at Rambling Through Parenthood struck up a conversation in the Nail Bar queue and my mummy and her found some solidarity in being on their own and not in a large group. The queue was short when we joined, see my mummy NEVER gets her nails done, so this was a real treat and was the perfect excuse to people watch. She chatted to some other ladies, but never got their names as they whizzed past only stopping to perch for lunch at the glass table next to her. Finally after an hour plus wait my mummy got her nails done and it was worth the wait, they looked awesome and WAHLondon did a fab job, maybe next time they could do with some more technicians as there was a lot of disappointed bloggers waiting who never got served. My mummy grazed on her lunch (as she didn’t really feel hungry) and before she knew it is was time for the next breakout session ‘Advanced Social Media’ with the witty and fast talking Paul Armstrong in the main hall. My mummy really enjoyed this session and was amazed at Paul’s knowledge on new trends and platforms in social media, she really felt she was getting the inside track on TSU and Hello Bar. She took lots of notes. I looked at them last night and couldn’t make head or tail of them, her shorthand is awful!!
She bum-shuffled up another seat to get a better view on the next masterclass ‘How to be a YouTube Star’ she was intrigued with what all the fuss was about with Vlogging and was even brave enough to ask Kate Rushworth a question, her hand shaking holding the microphone.
Afterwards it was Afternoon Tea and Cake, this is the part my mummy didn’t really enjoy as it was the start of the ‘back turning’. My mummy was trying to engage with other people, by this time in the day, circles had formed, mulled wine was consumed and people didn’t seemed that interested in mingling. She felt disheartened. After a smile from my mummy gets rejected by a passerby, my mummy slinks off to the corner of the mezzanine level to hide by the Coca-Cola stand, again, not the wisest move, the girls at the stand were unfriendly and pretentious, looking down their noses while my mummy was trying to be nice and talk to them..anyone. She felt so alone at this point. Thankfully her smile wasn’t wasted on @snowingindoors who took her under her wing. They had the same sense of humour!At last the final sessions were about to start and it this stage my mummy was about ready to go home. This was the session that everyone was looking forward to. ‘The Power of Writing’ my mummy arrived late and wanted to get a good seat so foxtrotted over to the front.
Meanwhile, throughout the majority of the day, a ‘ninja’ blogger called @needaphone had been tweeting my mummy, playing silly buggers and making her feel at ease. A lot of banter was shared and some stifled laughs during the keynote speeches saw shoulders rising and falling, glances and tweets of ‘what are you wearing?’ My mummy enjoyed listening to Harriet Kane and Nick Hornby, while the tweeting exchange carried on.
Finally after Power of Writing session my mummy finally caught up with her. @needaphond was actually not a cat as the Twitter profile suggests but in fact Claire and she was great fun. My mummy sat next to her through the very funny and entertaining Lucy Porter closing speech. Through Claire my mummy met bloggers and tweeter extrodinaires Oliver’s Madhouse, You baby me mummy, pigeonpairandme she enjoyed a quick gin (or two) and hung out briefly discussing the day and her first impressions of Blogfest before heading back to Kings Cross in the rain with a overpacked goodie bag of treats with ramblingthroughparenthood.
The F and the C word at 10am
James Dearsley – Google +
Paul Armstrong – Advanced Social Media
Harriet Lane – her cafe Nero story
Lucy Porter – and the penis cup story
Finding out about the #clearaplage, Project Sunlight
Getting nails done
Meeting singular bloggers like @Vaichin @needaphone @snowingindoors and getting introduced and greeted into larger groups of blogger friends
The big screen which caused some amusement during the keynote speeches
Well established clicky groups of superpbloggers, some of them back turners and air kissers
Too many selfies!!
Queues for nail bar and lunch
No seats for lunch and the constant balancing act of food vs drink (a lot of people sat on the floor)
Quick turnaround of breakout sessions
The Coca-Cola stand
The rain and getting soaked on the way home
Travelling….it’s such a long day
So in hindsight did my mummy enjoy this event? Yes for networking it was a great opportunity, but you have to be thick-skinned and confident in yourself and your blog to chat and carry a conversation. Sometimes if you have nothing to offer people or nothing in common a lot of the more established bloggers seem to get a bit turnt off. Which is a shame as we all had to start somewhere right? Will I be returning next year? I don’t know, probably not if the cost stays the same. Blogging events don’t seem to be part of our world yet, they may never be and my mummy may never feel comfortable attending another one and we have to ask the question is it worth the stress?
When my mummy got back from the big smoke she felt guilty, even though she was triumphant about being out of her comfort zone, she felt drained and at a lost. Today was a much better day, she was back in her comfort zone playing with me and daddy while we were out on one of our adventures. This is our world….professional blogging/networking may have to wait.
Bella and Mummy x
59 thoughts on “My first time at BlogFest 14”
I completely identify with a good few things you’ve said here. I have felt much the same a bunch of times. But there’s a whole lot of nice people out there too. I might have found one of them in that nail bar queue 🙂 xxx
Ah shucks! That makes me feel fuzzy and warm! So glad I joined the queue 🙂 x
It was fantastic to meet your Mum, if it makes her feel any better I felt the same after my 1st blog event, it almost put me off for life. The cliques and ‘big name bloggers’ made it feel like being back at school but I found a group of like minded nutters and now find these events (mostly!) fun.
I hope it doesn’t put your Mum off attending another event, I’d love to meet her again x
Team ‘nut’ it is then, my mummy has always been a bit of a funny weirdo! x
It was JOLLY good , to meet you .
And you are a fun and funny person.
I too found liked minded nutters like yourself
Your mummy is FUNNY.
And i may lead her to the dark side
I think it is a bloody friend for life
Thanks Claire x please continue with the random images! It makes her chuckle!
Thank you for your down-to-earth run down of the day, I am fairly new to blogging and wondered what all the hype was about! I think if id of been there id probably of been hiding behind the Coke-Cola stand too, I don’t really ‘do’ clicky groups! At least it helped me find your blog, and i love your style of writing 🙂
Thanks Hannah, I’m overwhelmed by the response to this post and that many others kinda feel the same. x My mummy thought she was the odd one!
I felt similar. I actually had a mild panic at the lunch break. It’s hard to get involved when you don’t really know anyone 😦 but the goodie bag wow. I bet you have stolen your mummys warm scarf! Xxx
My mummy wished she’d found you… Maybe they should do a ‘lost and found’ section for newbie bloggers that don’t know anyone x the goodie bag was awesome yes I agree x
A lost and found section would be very funny but it would be helpful!!!
Thats it then! @mumsnet need to do a lost and found section at next years #blogfest #mumsnetbloggers 😉
Felt so similar to the way you did. Shame we didn’t bump into each other- I was even worse at networking and couldn’t cope with all those people and being on my twitter feed/phone at the same time. Left with the same mixed feelings and having met fewer people and felt a bit cold shouldered at times by some of the cliques. Totally felt like I was back at school again!! Definitely lots of positives too though, fab panels etc and lots to get working on tomorrow…but yes, echo your sentiment in the slightly down side of things. Plus I woke up on Sunday from a nightmare where I had been combing maggots from my youngest daughters hair whilst my eldest ate one… If that doesn’t say parental guilt after that writers session and the comments about kids with nits then I don’t know what does!!!
Thanks for your reply… I take some comfort that other people were in the same boat as my mummy but still sad that others felt alone during the event, I suppose the first major networking event is the hardest… x
It’s a shame people ignored your smile and turned their back on you but I’m glad you met some great people. I’m with you and only blog fro a hobby. I don’t want to make money from my blog and will probably resort to being a slow blogger next year lol x
I’m already slow! 😉 x Maybe they looked at my mummy’s crazy smile and thought ‘who is this idiot’! 😉
I feel your discomfort with the “clicky” groups I attended blog camp last month and felt the same. 😦
A lot of people were talking about blogcamp…that sounds even worse! Surely thats more than a day?
it was lovely to meet you, if only briefly. I felt like the whole day was very brief conversations which I started and never finished. I hadn’t met any of the bloggers there before either and understand the whirlwind feel. I think a lot of people came away feeling the same. It’s hard to be new. I am only 3 months in too. Glad you could come.
Thanks for the opportunity to attend, my mummy wishes she’d spoken more to you throughout the day x
I know exactly how you feel as it was my first Blogfest too. You’re much braver than me as I didn’t attempt to join any super-groups! That said I met some lovely bloggers 1-1 which is definitely much more comfortable than approaching a big group. I also spent a long time queuing at the nail bar after lunch 🙂
I think 1-1 meeting is good for all the newbies to blogfest, maybe a round table meet and greet…an introducing table *just an idea* xx
It was a mad day and pretty overwhelming at times…I bumped into a large room to find huge tables which was a relief for lunch – although hard to get the attention of the two bloggers so deep in conversation they didn’t see me arrive =)
I had great fun nattering to you though…Will find that pyramid photo and figure out how to get it off my phone tomorrow (rather think a usb is the way to go!)
Your blog is fab, and a great way as @singlemummyahoy advocates, to record precious moments.
Thanks! Overwhelming response from this post that I wasnt expecting x thanks for chatting with my mummy through the Google+ session x
I’ve never been to one of these and not sure I ever will. I think I’d feel far too intimidated by the ‘big bloggers’ I don’t want to make mega bucks from my blog either. I do feel a bit out of my depth in the blogging world!
You feel exactly the same as my mummy Amy! Its worth pushing yourself out of your comfort zone though..the courses and speeches were fab x
Really interesting to hear how your day went, I think I would have been very scared and nervous had I gone as I hate cliquey groups! xx
Seems a lot of people felt nervous! x
Oh I always feel a bit out of place when I arrive at blogging events and only been to a few small ones so far.
I met Vaichin a few month back too. Lovely lady.
I think I’d be same as you if I had gone. Too many already in groups and a few who think they are above everyone else sometimes x
Defo x Vaichin was so lovely x
What a lovely written post. I have never attented a blogging event as my blog is just a hobby too and I think I would be the same on my own and nervous as I don’t have a group of blogging friends . I can’t believe people were rude enough to turn there back on your mummy that’s a bit mean but at least she had a lovely Sunday with you and your daddy x
it sounds like the sessions were good but shame you felt overwhelmed. I felt a bit like that at Britmums but I also had Sebby with me and he didn’t like the crowds.
I know it can feel like bloggers are in their cliques, but it’s everyone feeling the same and identifying the people they know and they naturally gravitate towards them. I tend to butt in and introduce myself in those situations!
I think I prefer smaller more intimate events as you get more chance to mingle!
This post could so easily have been written by me (if only I was as good a writer as you). I hint several times in my post, at the feelings you so much better describe, but those feelings were with me all day “lonely in a crowd”. You explain it better though.
This is why I spent the day hankering for the first MumsNet Blogfest which was only 2 years ago (this was the 3rd). THAT time people arrived on their own and it felt like everyone spoke to everyone. It was a lot more high brow, and if you approached a circle of ladies, you’d be talking politics, current affairs and having a lot of laughs. It wasn’t so much about blogging. I know that sounds like a contradiction but it is only because I am not explaining myself very well. Although I hate to think anyone spent the day feeling how I did, I was happy to read this post, so that I knew I wasn’t alone in feeling that way. I have been blogging since 2008, so it is not only newer bloggers who feel like this.
Oh and next to Mark Warner there was a LARGE room with big round tables where you could sit for lunch. It was only 20% full so I think anyone eating sitting on the floor just didn’t know about it. I think people balancing food and drinks should have been ushered there as I only found it quite by accident but it did enable me to take the two before and after #ClearAPlate photos in my post xx
It’s so funny isn’t it as I think you were in front of me in one of the sessions and you looked so comfortable – a thing we all do i think. Perhaps we should make a new clique of nervous first time bloggers for next time 🙂 xx
A breakout space at #blogfest for newbies would be good where everyone can enter and all feel in the same boat or a table discussion like a meet and greet…. x
plus you are a writer. i love reading your blog x
I’ve been blogging a few years, but it was my first conference too. I can absolutely relate to much of what you’ve written. Luckily I did know a couple of people (who knew lots of people) but I was happiest in a geeky corner at the end of the day (although it was still too noisy.) Perhaps we all felt the same, and the people who seemed to be ignoring were actually just feeling anxious themselves?! I hope I never turned my back on you, but I have no idea who I bumped into and I didn’t talk all that much. I got a lot from the sessions, even if there were many things that didn’t apply to me. Professional blogging seems like far too much hard work though 😉
A very thought-provoking and honest post about blogging events. I am sorry that Blogfest was so mixed for your mummy but glad she did meet some lovely fellow bloggers and take some good tips away. I have only been to one blogging event so far which was blog camp last month (just a one day event) and whilst I did enjoy it and meet some lovely people, there were definitely moments of feeling a bit on the outside looking in. I like the idea of a newbie area at blog events to help those of us who are less established and less confident. Hope any future blogging events are a more positive experience for your mummy x
i only blog for a hobby and being a shy person it always puts me off these events! I love your idea of a newbie get together, it would make me feel much more confident if I ever went to one of these zz
Maybe an idea for #blogfest next year 🙂
I am so sorry you felt like this. It was lovely to meet you and I’m sorry that I didn’t get to talk to you more. I was pretty terrified myself as we walked to the venue so I apologise if you thought I was rude. I think that you should stay true to yourself. these events are aimed at bloggers who want to take their blog further. but if you enjoy writing and are happy with where you are then that is brilliant. Your blog is lovely as it is. That should make you proud! Hugs Mrs H xxxx
Thanks Mrs H x it means a lot to get this feedback x
Oh I am so sorry I didn’t get to meet you! I was a newbie too and was nervous the whole time. A group of us equally nervous bloggers huddled together- if only Id known we would have come found you! I know what you mean about the cliques. There were bloggers I admire but felt put off saying hello as I felt like I was back in the playground looking on at the ‘cool kids’. You aren’t an imposter though, you are you and this blog is lovely. x
My mummy saw a lot of ‘cool kids’ that day! 😉
Big bloggers, schmig bloggers! Whether it’s a prodigious money-maker or an occasional hobby, a blog is a blog. It should be fun! I only started blogging a month ago so I’ve never attended one of the these events but simply because the actual talks sound informative and interesting I definitely want to go to one in the near future. I HATE the thought of people being made to feel excluded, it just doesn’t sit well with me at all. However, let’s give people the benefit of the doubt; perhaps your mummy exuded confidence to onlookers, maybe that’s why people weren’t involving her in their conversations? Just a theory. Maybe if they’d known she was feeling a little left out they’d have been more inclusive? Who knows? I’m just happy she met some nice people who made her feel welcome. I must say this experience has made me a little apprehensive about my first bloggers event. I really don’t like cliquey behaviour, it reminds me of all the parts of school I least liked! We’ll see. A really honest and illuminating post. Maria x
The talks were good 🙂 and its nice to know everyone was in the same boat x by the sounds of it some felt the same as my mummy about #blogfest
I’m so sorry you felt like that. I think more people feel that way than people realise. My first blogging event was Brit mums – I arrived not knowing a soul. It felt like everyone knew everyone else and it was hard to break in to a group, but some kind people took me under their wing. When people are in groups it can he hard to break in – there’s a few people I didn’t say hello to at blog fest because they were in conversation and didn’t want to be rude by butting in. It’s a difficult balance and it can be overwhelming with the number of people there but there’s never an excuse for people to be rude, not returning smiles or turning their backs. Your lost and found area is a really good one, I think it would help lots of others. Sorry for the essay, but I thought your post was really poignant xxx
Thanks…my mummy is taken back by the amount of people that felt the same on their first big blogging network event. Everyones experience is different but hopefully some good will come out of it. Her confidence has increased just by looking at the replies x
Your mummy is definitely not alone in her feelings. I have been blogging a few years now but I still feel like this when I attend events. I am not an overly successful or super-blogger (whatever that means!) but I do enjoy it. I remember going to my first Blogcamp (they are good, a lot smaller and more intimate and a really good place to get to know other bloggers in real life) and I very nearly didn’t go; I was sick with nerves. I have been to other blogging events with people and still end up feeling much the same way. x
Just popping over from Little hearts Big Love friday fab 5. I’ve never been to any blogging events although I’ve recently wondered if I might. This is a really useful, honest post! I also have no interest in making money from my blog and can imagine being intimidated by the superbloggers! But well done for stepping out of your comfort zone!
Thank you for commenting x I’m glad this post has had a small impact on how people view large blogging events. Yes it’s scary but still good to push yourself out of your comfort zone every once and a while x
What a brilliant post! I loved reading all about BlogFest through the eyes of Isabella. I was there, too, with baba. Full on day. x
Great post hunny. I think we all feel like an imposter the first conference. It’s overwhelming and not knowing what to expect. It’s brilliant and exhausting at the same time. So glad you went though. I am so sad we didn’t get to catch up properly. I was the one hiding and learning from the corner as I had the worse cough in history. But needed to learn and meet and greet. So I trucked on. Sounds like you met some fab people too! Thanks for linking up to Share With Me hope to see you at the next one. #sharewithme
I am so sorry to hear that you had some bad experiences and am really disappointed I didn’t see you to say hi (I am terrible at putting faces to blog names so always really pleased when someone comes up and says hi!). It can be overwhelming, your first conference but I am really happy to see that you learned stuff and, on the whole, enjoyed it. Sorry I missed you and hope to meet you at the next one. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂 x
I felt like that at Mumsnet last year too. I was terrified, felt like everyone knew each other bar me and was totally overwhelmed. The speakers were amazing though and I left there feeling so inspired. I’m hoping with the Brit Mum butterflies, it’ll be less daunting! 🙂
It will be! I’m one of the butterflies and I’m determined no-one will feel daunted or alone! Ceri xxx
It made me really sad to read this. It’s such a shame you had a negative experience but I can see how it can happen. Believe in yourself, you are a writer and a brilliant blogger. Making money from blogging doesn’t mean someone’s blog is better, it just means they play the game differently but they should always keep their feet on the ground as your right, they had to start somewhere x
Aww thanks. We hope BritMums will be a different experience 🙂 hope to catch up with you and Kaz x