Yesterday I attended a blogging conference in Birmingham that goes by the name of Blog Camp UK and which, sponsored by Skype and Growing Up Milk is organised by Sally Whittle run free, one-day workshops and conferences for Independent UK Bloggers around the UK. I was on a waiting list for this event as I had been silly enough not to organise myself a reminder for when the tickets were to become available. And boy those tickets went fast. So I waited in anticipation for an email to see if I would get one of the ten tickets that became available at a later date. And thankfully I was and got the email. Having myself been a blogger who blogs about all sorts for quite a while now, coming up to 4 years, I have been pondering about whether I have possibly come full circle within the blogosphere, and perhaps I am just too busy to blog or indeed have nothing left to blog about for blogging these days. This blog started out after much encouragement and support from others as a little crafty blog which documented my journey within the craft scene and then progressed onto me chatting about all sorts of things. I spoke of my appearance on television with another blogger, I loved to chat about my family, I enjoyed sharing my thrifty shopping purchases, interior makeovers and my love of shabby chic. What started out as a very personal blog, almost anonymous, I soon realised I didn't mind it being out there a bit more. Also it is especially hard, when having appeared on television, to keep that anonymous ;)
Then came the working relationships with PR's and brands and I have never been ashamed about my enjoyment of this role. There is so much out there in the internet about this side of blogging. Discussions about whether one is selling out from the journey that they perhaps first started on, and blog's becoming more *commercial* means you lose readership or you are perhaps even selling your soul. In honesty, maybe at times I felt hang on, is this commercial side of blogging really for me. I blog from the heart, write just as if you and I were talking, and would this commercial side of things sit side by side within my blogging personality. Blogging is first and foremost a hobby, yes albeit a hobby with perks as I enjoy the blogging events and lovely days out I get to attend, especially the ones where also my family get that same enjoyment. Reviewing items relevant to me/you is something I enjoy and I certainly didn't start out this blogging journey to get on the freebie ride. It absolutely isn't about *free stuff*. It is kind of a job, a little job that I enjoy. Heck I have even been lucky enough to win a little break abroad as a result of my blogging. Should I hang my head in shame? Does it make me a *particular* type of person that I enjoy this commercial aspect of my blog? Well, going to blog camp to discuss all these different blogging questions I have with other like minded bloggers certainly gave me food for thought...
There are so many bloggers out there more savvy/confident than I who relish this commercial side and although it is a role I too enjoy, I am not one for rushing to PR's to get my blog seen, if they come to me, that is great, I am always happy to talk, but I never started out in the blog world for this PR/brand thing. It found me and I still like to keep the bare, gritty bones of my blog. I don't want the personal side of it to disappear. Engaging with people in real life is something I get great satisfaction out of and I want to bring a little of that here, to engage. I listened to what the speakers had to say and I found it all very interesting, I even asked a question or two, which in a room of over 100 other bloggers, was a little nerveracking....
Bangs & A Bun A very savvy blogger who chatted about many subjects including how to take your blog to the next level.
You could then pick and choose whose talks you wanted to attend and I opted for...
Luv & Hat A really insightful, funny discussion on how to be a little bit snarky, but also how to get away with it without being a dick. (Yes this is the first time I have mentioned anything remotely dick like within my blog in nearly 4 years ) He came to sit next to me when he first came in, alright it was the only seat left but hey, and I just thought he was another bloke blogger come along for the day. He certainly looks like such a sweet boy and I would never have imagined he had all this snarkiness inside him, great talk Stuart btw.
Susannah Conway Lovely lady, and I thought someone that I would really enjoy chatting with over a glass of fine wine. Susanna a talented photographer, writer and indeed creator of the Unravelling e-courses was just a delight to listen to. Susannah, like myself, though albeit under very different circumstances entirely, has gone through a bereavement and like me, was possibly the catalyst for embarking on this blogging/creative/soul searching journey. She chatted about her e-courses and gave lots of insightful tips on setting them up.
Then it was a follow/no follow link debate. Don't ask. I don't get it. Well I do, but there are others that can explain it far better than I.
Everyone then met back together again for the final talk by Stephen Waddington from Speed Communications about how to make brands sit up and take note. Again a very insightful discussion and Stephen really knows his PR/Brand stuff. I personally think PR's get bit of a raw deal by bloggers, maybe I am in the minority and have only ever had perfectly lovely, professional, happy relationships with PR's. Maybe it is because I feel a little on the fence with it all as professionally the PR world is one I myself would like to work within and think I have a flair for. Who knows. Nobody is perfect and both bloggers and PRs can learn from each other about their relationships. I sometimes just wish it was done in a more nice-esque way. Anyway, I obviously still have a lot to learn as when Stephen asked me for my card, I wondered if I had missed his birthday or something? Do bloggers really carry cards promoting their blogs? Obviously, but I don't think I shall be rushing to the printer's just yet.
So, a really enjoyable day out, and I certainly learnt a thing or two, though still not sure if I perhaps have indeed come to the end of the blogging road. I think all us bloggers have these thoughts at some time perhaps, and talking about blogging so intensly always brings up questions and thoughts about one's own blog. Where is it going? Why do I do it? There are so many blogging personalities out there, all with their unique voice, I guess we all need to find our own, trust it, and go with it. I would certainly recommend one of these blog camp event's if you are a blogger who wants to learn a little more of the blogging world. There are going to be more, so keep your eyes peeled on their website. Of course being a people person I thoroughly enjoyed meeting some old ( not literally ) faces, and meeting some new ones too. I was far too busy eating/chatting/listening to take any photographs so all within this post are borrowed ( thanks btw )