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Why BritMums Live was awesome

17 Comments 27 June 2012

BritMums Live

The BritMums Live Blogging for Good Session

BritMums Live, the biggest blogging event on the UK calendar!

Last weekend was the biggest blogging event on the UK calendar, BritMums Live! I was one of the people working on the Brilliance in Blogging Awards on the Friday night and I also worked in Room 1, introducing the sessions, which meant I was in attendance to some really fascinating discussions. For the first time I was on the inside looking out and I enjoyed this conference as much as I always do, but in a different way.

1. The opportunity to meet up with good blogging friends

I organised an Expat Dinner on the Friday night, because I knew that for many expat bloggers–Brits in other countries or foreign nationals in the UK, BritMums Live would be the only opportunity to meet up and say hello. And I wanted to meet these people too! I love expats, they’re so friendly, interesting and open minded.

2. The opportunity to finally put faces to names

I worked on the BritMums Live reception desk which was a fantastic place to be as you get to finally match faces and blog names or twitter handles! Doing so makes chatting with people on Twitter or commenting on their blogs even more meaningful. Of course I didn’t get to meet every single one of the 500 delegates that walked through the door, but I think I increased my faces-to-names ratio considerably.

3. The opportunity to hear how others ‘do it’

No, not that, silly. I mean things like juggle everything, or take your blog to the next level or create an interesting food blog, or blog for good. I was especially taken with Her Melness and her tips for Taking your blog to the next level. I highly recommend that post if you need focus in your blogging.

4. The opportunity to push my boundaries a little

I know a lot of bloggers feel more comfortable in front of their computer screens than in front of a mass of 500 people. One of the truly fantastic things about blogging is that it has given a lot of men and women a voice they never had before and a way to connect to others when they may not have been able to so easily before blogs. And although these same bloggers will buy a ticket and attend BritMums Live because they’d like to learn a bit more about their craft or because they want to meet those online friends they’ve made, it is still an incredibly daunting task. And I also know that these same bloggers feel a huge thrill at just doing it, just getting on with it, pushing their boundaires and going to the conference and meeting people.

I pushed my boundaries in other ways. I wasn’t sure if I could do some of the jobs asked of me, but thought ‘I’ll never know unless I try!’ Cheesy, yes, but true. And I found out that I could indeed do them.

5. The opportunity to meet and speak with some really inspiring people

The guests at BritMums Live were amazing. Camila Batmanghelidjh from charity Kids Co; Sarah Brown, former Prime Minister’s wife and president of Piggy Bank Kids; Ruby Wax, American expat in Britain (!) and founder of The Black Dog Tribe; Katy Hill, former Blue Peter presenter, fellow blogger and really lovely person; and Cherry Healy, intrepid TV presenter. And that’s not forgetting all the bloggers who inspire and make a difference like Hayley from Downs Side Up or Kate from Kate on Thin Ice.

6. I came away feeling blog invigorated

I have a sense of focus and direction now. Regular readers will know I have let days, then weeks slip by before posting on my blog recently. I have been very busy working with BritMums and the Brilliance in Blogging Awards and that has taken all my blogging energy I think, but after listening to some of those remarkable men and women speak last weekend I have a new feeling of clarity for what I want to do with The American Resident.

  • I want to support charities–not loads, just a select few that I can really put my energy in.
  • I want to write from the heart a lot more.
  • I want to focus on quality not quantity–I want to spend more time on posts and write better, rather than beat myself up if I don’t post frequently.
  • I loved supporting BritMums and the Brilliance in Blogging Awards and would enjoy doing that again in focused, specific ways. There is nothing like working with an excellent, efficient, friendly, supportive team and Jen, Susanna, Karin and Mari were exactly that. I think this will only enhance my personal blog work.
  • I want to post more regularly, but see the comment above about quality–I don’t want to post regularly at the cost of quality.
  • I want to keep the long term expat slant because that is my most authentic voice.
  • I want to keep variety on my blog, but not so much that it seems all over the place. Some focus is good!
  • I want to keep remembering why I blog, my compelling reason–I enjoy being creative with this medium! I love combining writing with images, I love creating a ‘look’ on my blog, I love experimenting around with styles and subjects to see what people respond to and what they don’t.
  • I want to remember that I can pick and choose who my online tribe is (and my offline tribe!) and I want to keep that focused on good people who will offer support as well as constructive criticism, inspiration and laughs!

 

So what about you readers? Do you go to BritMums Live, or are you ever interested in going to a blog conference?

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17 Comments so far

  1. Great post and like how the event has given you ideas of how you want to move forward with your blogging. I love your number 4 in particular. I have learned from you to think less of my own stuff and more about other people. Also, you were so wonderful at sorting Room 1 out.

  2. HerMelness Speaks says:

    As an experience, I think it was very moving.

    I would say though, unreservedly, you do have to join in to get the most out of it. Standing on the sidelines results in a very different experience.

    Maybe one thing I could have added on my feedback form is that we have to find a better way of ferreting out those bloggers who are really nervous and get them in a room or huddle or seminar at the get-go. But done in a subtle and low-key way. And maybe include a ‘How To Improve Your Confidence’ workshop as their kick-off….something. I haven’t really thought it through thoroughly.

    Relying on shy or nervous people to make the first move is perhaps optimistic – even with the brilliant supportive posts which went out prior to the event.

    I was REALLY sad, for instance, that some bloggers emailed me saying they were too shy to come and say hello to me. Such a shame.

    Thank you for the mention. That is very kind (and flattering) of you. HMSx

    • Michelloui says:

      It’s true, you have to join in and I know this is difficult for a lot of bloggers who are ued to a quiet life at home. I think the secret is perhaps helping people network more in advance and perhaps providing more ‘butterflies’ on the day. I was really shy of meeting a couple of people when I first went to a blog conference, so shy I didn’t go up to one for several conferences!! Then I finally did and we’re now good friends–crazy me.

      I hope I am approachable because it’s so nice to meet people I ‘know’ online but difficult to meet everyone I want to, so if people come up to me, i get to meet more people!

      It’s good thought that people were brave enough to at least email you to say they wanted to meet you! I am sure that in your reply to them you helped them feel much more comfortable about approaching you next time. You were LOVELY to meet!!

  3. Michelle, you were fab at BritMums Live! Your energy, optimism and outlook on the blogging world are impeccable. Good list of “wants” going forward too!

  4. Trish says:

    I loved meeting you and think you did a terrific job with the BiBs, throughout the whole process.
    I hadn’t been to a conference before and I’m not shy: just wasn’t sure it was for me. But I gained a lot from it and, more than anything, feel that knowing people in person helps to cement the friendships that have developed online.

    • Michelloui says:

      Really pleased I got to meet you Trish and really pleased you got a lot out of it!

  5. I like the last one Michelle. Choosing the right tribe can help you with focus.

  6. Oh I wish wish wish I could have come. Congrats to you for helping organise a fabulous event. It sounds so glam and really invigorating! (Love the pic of you on Susanna’s blog handing out the envelopes) I have to make sure I’m there next time and at your Friday night dinner too!

    • Michelloui says:

      Would LOVE for you to be there Jody! Get your diary out, the next epat meetup will be on 21 or 22 June next year… x

  7. Bod for tea says:

    Fab roundup of a brilliant day. It was lovely meeting you (if only briefly!) and I love the positive goals you have for your blog now :D

    • Michelloui says:

      It was way toooo brief! But thank you for introducing yourself to me, it’s such a blur of a day that even though I try to meet as many people as I can, it really helps when people come and say hello!!

  8. The Fool says:

    Totally agree on no.6 the event gave me the kick I needed to make the move to self hosted and some ideas about how to improve the look and feel.
    I thought it was a great event but I think some people were overwhelmed by it and struggled to take away these key messages, blinded a little by the brands and commercial side.

    • Michelloui says:

      Good! Glad you gained some inspiration!

      I think for a lot of people, the whole ‘conference experience’ is going to be overwhelming no matter how carefully the organisers try to prepare for them–installing the Butterflies, for example, to catch the nervous delegates. From my understanding as well, as a result of the low ticket price the commercial side is essential in order for the conference to happen at all–the cost of hiring a venue, providing tea/coffee/lunch is all a lot more than many might expect! And then of course, many people do get very excited by the competitions, freebies and opportunities the sponsors provide. People can choose to not explore the room with the sponsors. I wonder if an answer might be providing a Guide to Conference Going or similar for people who are unsure how to approach them…

  9. Great opportunity and I can see why it left you feeling so invigorated and motivated. I think your clarity of way forward is also spot on, particularly writing from the heart and focusing on quality not quantity. You’ve read my blog and seen me go on about this – I think it’s so important. When a blogger’s posts are written from the heart and are well thought out, structured, and written, it shows. I also agree that keeping the expat slant is, for both of us, where our true voice is.
    The hardest thing I find is not writing too much variety – I try to focus on expat life generally, living in Sydney, and the writing path but sometimes wonder if it jumps around a bit. Not sure how to figure that one out but, for you, I’d say keep doing what you’re doing because it’s great :)


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