Monday, 23 June 2014

#Britmums and ##############

Hashtags!! If you are not familiar with them.  That was my lasting memory of Britmums - the constant hash tagging of what was being said at the seminar, key note speakers and #having a great time with @ cue twitter name cue picture upload. It made my head spin if truth be told. Now, as you all know I'm not a techno blogger and I increasingly find myself disliking the constant social media intrusion into everyday life.  Its society in general so its not just Britmums but it was on a massive scale here. You know how you go on facebook and you have the pics of where someone is all smiles, having a great time, documenting their life.... well this was documenting every second!

I'm sure many who weren't at it thought they were missing out on all the fun. You shouldn't worry, yes I'm sure many had a nice time but I do feel it was over exaggerated which is a fair assumption given that it would seem some felt isolated and a bit low. Would that be the case if people put their phones away and actually focused on what was being said for 10 minutes minimum?  I won't be returning (I knew that before I went) but the person that didn't go and thinks they should have done based on the #hysteria will do.

Billy Butlin came to the conference in my desperate attempts to be an Ambassador!
Naturally all the hash tagging is great for the organisers of Brtimums (more of which later) you have a constant stream on Twitter (think it was trending at one point) and it hams up the event. But it did mean that people were constantly looking at their iphone, ipad and tweeting parts of speeches before the person had finished their sentence. Bloggers desperately showing people how much fun they were having.  Call me old fashioned but wouldn't it be better to listen to a speaker and not have your head bowed down with finger scrolling and picture taking and uploading the whole way through? I suppose the speakers are well used to it but I wasn't! My suggestion for next time - a phone free zone perhaps?

Let me rewind a little as there were some positives that came out of the 2 day conference. On Friday I made my way up to London for the Britmums Blogging Conference. I've never been to one of these - I knew it wouldn't really be my cup of tea but I was up for meeting up with Rachel who I'd had an on line love affair with since I started blogging way back in 2011. She did not disappoint - I would hope that she would concur that we were of similar mindset and had a relaxed time even with her poor headache that more or less wiped her out on the Saturday.

This chap is seriously worried he's standing next to a nutter! 
The conference itself is very well organised and credit to those that arranged it. They have got it down to a fine art and ultimately they are only facilitating a blogging community - they are not responsible for how that community conducts itself with others. Now, don't get me wrong there were lovely people there - I was particularly pleased to see Nikki from Stressy Mummy fame and just loved Michelle from Mummy from the Heart. However, social etiquette people. Social etiquette! Now, I don't buy this oh but people are different to their blog persona blah blah.  Granted you maybe shy but not that shy you've purchased a ticket and are attending a conference.  I'm not talking about being all leary and gregarious. I'm talking about if you are at a table - look up from your phone, smile and say Hi! Simples.  I made an effort to say "hello" but many don't bother. That's just rude.

Also if you are talking to someone and other's join then cast your eye around as you are talking, rather than just have a fixed stare on one person, it shows you are inviting the others into the conversation. There were plenty that were friendly and approachable, there were groups who had agreed to meet up (nothing wrong in that) but there were some as described above. That's life. What I would say if you do go on your own you will have to approach people and start the conversation.

I did witness the most outrageous blanking I've ever seen!! I was quite taken aback at the rudeness of one blogger.  This has nothing to do with a blogging persona or being shy its simply about good manners. I know a blogger who is very shy and has openly discussed how she struggles with this type of gig and she had no trouble smiling, saying hi and engaging in conversation.

We ordered room service after our Tapas and were in our PJ's at 9pm as we are proper hard core!! 
I digress. I used to work on the PTA and this gig was any summer fair you may have organised on steroids and more. The venue is perfect, the organisation, the printed schedules, the seats, the coffee, the sponsors and the content. That's really the key to this type of event isn't it? Great content. They had everything you could of think of to do with blogging.  I loved all the stands, in particular, Butlins of course and all the little competitions and what not.

I enjoyed the panel talk with Annie and the Fashion Foie Gras lady. I liked the founders - American ironically. The American accent just oozes enthusiasm and excitement don't you think? So when the opening welcome was trilled out by the two ladies I was up for this. I did, however, have an internal groan when their keynote speaker Emma Freud bounded on wearing a tiara. Urgh. I'm not a feminist. I'm not a party pooper but seriously tiara's?! I'm a 40 year old woman - I am not a child like adult like so many these days. It's hard to take anyone seriously wearing a frigging tiara. Would you go into an important meeting wearing fancy dress? NO! So, no my face was a picture after listening to her impressive CV and A lister tales and meeting the Queen talk. I am a republican so tiaras and royalty weren't cutting it for me.

I have to say I cringed throughout her speech - I know she wanted it to be light hearted etc but referring to her partner of 25 years as her 'boyfriend', repeating how she slept her way to the top (with said boyfriend), how she was in a band because of her big tits rather than singing and topping it all off with a tiara on her head.  I think she may have squealed at one point! I found her a bit child like (a bit like Carrie Bradshaw who someone once said is like a whimpering child like adult running through Oxfam - a reference to her fashion sense by the way!) and was just waiting for her to start skipping and clapping her hands.  There was this awful tumbleweed moment when she asked the audience to put their hands up if you have kids "yay" she said. Who doesn't have kids? "ahhh poor you". Ekk!

To cut a long story short - I headed home at 10.00 am on the Saturday. This was because my son had had an awful cough prior to me leaving (still does) and I wanted to get back.  I didn't miss the keynote speaker in the morning though. Ben (Life of a Widower) was moving, funny and a joy to listen too. On returning, I popped into his facebook page in which he said he was taking at least 6 months out and (this really struck a cord with me) instead of documenting his life he was going to live it. He wrote his blog because he lost the love of his life would he be writing a blog if the love of his life was still with him? I doubt it.

My blog doesn't interfere with the children - I blog between 8pm-9pm and maximum 3 x a week but it does mean I'm tapping away whilst the husband watches telly and I need to re-think  this.

I came away thinking about blogging in general and whether or not I will continue. I will do for the time being. But not for numbers, rankings, blogging communities, awards etc. I will blog as and when I feel like it and it will be to serve the purpose that I started with which is to lose the rest of my excess weight.

Until next time..

14 comments:

  1. Really interesting post. I was one who was sad to have missed out on the conference, but was I more sad about not being part of an event or not getting freebies I dont know. I went last year and found it very overwhelming especailly for a nobody blogger I guess - not a well know, not a name in the blogging world. just someone who enjoys it I guess. I would like to expand my knowledge and learn more, but I am like that with most elements in my life. The whole attachement to the social media thing is something I having a internal battle with at the moment. I don;t like the fact it has such a big influence over the way I live - not sure if this is a reflection on me, or the times in which we live. There needs to be some kind of balance. right?

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    1. Hi Leanne thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I did enjoy the stands and in terms of content there is everything you could possibly wish for - literary agent, book signings etc. I am not that well know, I don't hang out in Twitter and am confident but even if I had gone on my own I'm pretty sure I would have left prior to when I did! I suppose blogging is an individual sport so its the nature of the beast. Its interesting to see that you didn't return and I know others feel the same way. It should be a meeting of kindred spirits but it didn't feel like that. The biggest barrier to engaging was the constant # what a great time we're all having even to the point when you could be mid flow in a conversation and someone would be saying hang on I need to # and let's take a picture! Agree there needs to be a balance but it tipped right off the scale for me that weekend! x

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  2. I know we talked at the time about it being a self-fulfilling prophecy ... we're all tweeting about having a great time so we must really be having a great time. As for the people who blanked us despite knowing who we are ... I'm still shaking my head at that ... it was truly shocking, really truly shocking. Lesson learnt that some people are exceptionally far removed from their twitter personas. But anyway, lovely to have made your acquaintance x

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    1. Exactly! Yarp really surreal that was - ditto and not a picture of us taken together, uploaded and hash tagged during the whole event. We really must have had a good time! x

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  3. I really enjoyed this post, and I've read a lot of posts about britmums - I wasn't there, and have wondered if bloggers have been truthful about what they really truly thought about it. It's nice to hear a true opinion. It wouldn't be my cup of tea, but then, I have enjoyed reading about it. There's something fascinating about lots of views about the same event. And I like following links to blogs I haven't seen :)
    Xxxhttps://mylittledreamworld1.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/the-ordinary-moments-saturday-cleaning/

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    1. Hello Katherine, I'm sure many had a ball and that's great and I can only tell it from my own point of view. I think, like reviews, there is a tendency to write through rose coloured specs as bloggers have an eye on the ratings, not upsetting big players, potential review opportunities etc. I don't like how parasitic it is at times. But if you genuinely don't care about ratings, stats, communities and whether or not you get review opportunities then you have the ultimate freedom in writing honest stuff which I do. I also think people enjoy reading the honest opinions rather than contrived ones x

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  4. I organise conferences and I organise rankings so, you know, sorry. But as you say, it's different strokes for different folks and what one person loves, one person hates. That's life. I'm a big believer the Internet is big enough for everyone to do the stuff that makes them happy and ignore the rest. There's no one right way to do any of this stuff, just the way that's right for you.

    Personally, though, I have to say I agree one thousand percent with you about Tweeting during conferences. At BlogCamp I have tended to say to people, please don't worry about Tweeting, we will do that on our account, and we'll also share write-ups of sessions afterwards, so you can relax and enjoy the presentations. As a speaker, it's kind of demoralising to look at an audience of 200 or more people and realise that nobody is looking at you. Especially when it's REALLY hard to capture the full spectrum of what someone's explaining in a series of 140 character Tweets - you tend to end up with 100 people Tweeting the same soundbites, which aren't THAT helpful. I love reading Tweets about who met who, what the food is like, what the venue's like - but with conference sessions, I'd rather go to Slideshare afterwards and see a presentation for myself.

    But - as ever - that's just my view. I've had bloggers say that their followers want updates from events, and are eager for them, and so if that floats their boat then fair enough, I'm only speaking from a personal perspective here.

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    1. Hi Sally, thanks for commenting. Not quite sure why you need to be sorry re organising conferences and rankings - the organisation of the conference was superb - I've never been to blogcamp but I'm sure its on a similar scale. The problem for me is it magnifies what I dislike about social media in everyday life i.e at pre-school/school run everyone looks down at their phone etc. So the # was a big groan for me and there was a lot of false stuff going on. Do you really need to tweet someone mid sentence, take their photo whilst you're talking to them so it can be uploaded to twitter. The answer is no. I can imagine, having spent time on a presentation etc, to have everyone looking down is pretty soul destroying and quite frankly rude. I can't believe followers really are sitting by their phones waiting for updates - people have an over inflated opinion of themselves at times. I know my tots ranking has kamikazed from 267 - 675 and that's down to the fact I don't have pinterest, instagram etc and I don't want them. I find the whole you follow me and I follow you all very sycophant and parasitic - I much prefer strangers as readers as really bloggers cancel each other out. I did enjoy sessions and everything I've written is a true reflection of how I felt and I know it does with others. Thanks for commenting! x

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  5. Very interesting post. What a strange world we are raising our kids in eh?! Writing (a blog) is therapeutic and enjoyable but why are so many bloggers hung up on Twitter and all that crap!! It's so sad.

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    1. Hi Cath or should I call you Ballistic! I know its a worry - will their lasting memory of us be heads bowed down and finger scrolling?! xx

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  6. As always a very interesting take on things. I love blogging as you know and I do spend a lot of time doing it but then now I do a lot during the day when everyone else is at work and school so that it doesn't take over real life. I do sometimes wonder if some bloggers actually ever switch off, either that or they have scheduling off to a very fine art. I am so with you with the social media thing at conferences, I hardly use it as I like to listen and take everything in and if I want notes, I actually write stuff down rather than tweet it.

    I'm gutted that we didn't get a proper chat, once these children are all at school in September I am going to get on a train and come and meet you properly!

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    1. Your blog is very slick and its how I would like mine to look if I could be arsed!! I love all your widgets for pinterest or what ever its called and what not. I don't read your blog I just admire it - only kidding! I did notice you were sitting very politely listening to what was being said. Me too re the chat but then I did leg it on the Saturday - son is more or less better. Ahh that would be awesome re the train! x

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  7. I like you're take on it. I thought I was supposed to be tweeting more and felt guilty for not doing it enough! I was too busy looking at people's lanyards to do anything else. I was actually speaking to one person who turned their back on me! Thanks for making me feel better. I will be going back next year, because I think every year will be different x

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    1. Hello Joanna - I found the tweeting excessive to be honest! I don't think I tweeted once maybe on the way there. I, like you, found some people lacking in basic social skills and I don't buy the persona bollocks - if you're rude you're rude! Good luck next year not for me and I came away with a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve so it served its purpose and it wasn't to be a 'parent' blogger! x

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