Not sure where to start really? First blogging event and all that. Initial thoughts of “what am I doing with my blog and why am I even going” gave way to “could get some ideas and let’s get there”. So I did.
You have to hand it to Problogger aka Darren Rowse. A self-confessed introvert speaking in front of hundreds of people. This is where being prepared and knowing your stuff comes to the fore. And I say being prepared because while you may know your stuff, you must always be prepared. And, critically, you must know your audience. Darren was prepared, knows his stuff and clearly knows his audience. I’m not sure one of the speakers I saw was particularly prepared or knew their audience or if they did, they chose not to engage with the type of audience they mainly were.
Given I’m not sure which direction my blog is taking, it was difficult to pick which sessions to attend. I did go to the session ‘how to get brands knocking at your door’ simply to see Eden Riley and Mrs Woog, given their profile in the blogging world and beyond. Nikki Parkinson, who was the moderator, did acknowledge that some of the audience may have been there for that reason. I don’t ever want to be presumptuous but given Eden’s struggles in the past few months, I thought her courageous to be present on the stage. If I was to meet her, I’d say to her “you are enough” but again, that would probably be presumptuous given I actually don’t KNOW her – apart from empathising with her on Twitter about why our mums and grandmothers didn’t warn us to moisturise our necks!
My favourite session, even though it doesn’t effect me at all (yet!), was Jules Clancy’s. Jules has a blog called Stonesoup. Naturally I’d not come across it before because it involved recipes (really, anything involving kitchens causes my eyes to glaze over) but the tag line of delicious, healthy meals in minutes caught my eye. Yes please. Jules had a lovely way of speaking; kind of normal and accessible and her online business is amazingly successful.
Then of course there was the keynote speech from Chris Guillebeau. I had a rather embarrassing encounter with Chris on Day 1. I was the lone person sitting in the tea and coffee area when he walked past and said something to me which I didn’t quite catch. I said “well actually, I had to leave a session because I needed to wee”. I can be so charming. As soon as I said it, I inwardly groaned so loud it’s a wonder Etihad Stadium didn’t collapse.
Anyway, Chris has an understated way about him which appeals. His blog is called The Art of Non-Conformity – just the title appeals. In fact given my top value, by the length of the Flemington straight, is Freedom, his whole bloody life appeals! Shame I don’t like flying. But there’s something alluring about living a life of non-conformity and I think that’s why he engages his audience so well – perhaps we’re all a little drawn to living an unconventional life. I know I am. It’s no secret that if I had my way, we’d rent the granny pad out and road trip around Australia for a couple of years.
So we’ll all head to Day 2 with eagerness. Some perhaps with sore heads after the cocktail party (lookin’ at you @Mrsceecee and @FiveFrogsblog). Me, well I was in bed by just after 9pm and asleep 3 seconds later.