Sunday, March 20, 2011

Aussie Bloggers Conference - a tale of triumph and woe

I wonder if I'm the first to start a new blog off the back of the Aussie Bloggers' Conference? I must admit, going in, I felt like a bit of a hanger-on. A ring-in. I knew I would recognise some familiar faces and could hide behind my travelling companion (metaphorically more than physically- a bit hard when she is tiny and I am a giant) - but I didn't feel like a bona fide blogger. I don't blog often and the subject matter is limited to a paragraph or two of funny things my kid says. Back in the day I was a kick-ass serial commenter on a number of other blogs, but recently, life has gotten in the way. (I still read and lurk, just not as much time for commenting!)
So I went to the conference mainly for the social interaction with bloggers and tweeps I had only up till then met online, and also as my background is in writing and communications I felt there was a neat tie-in there, which almost lent me some kind of credibility.

When I got there I was amazed by the warm reception I was given by every one, whether I had met them before often, fleetingly or not at all. The turn of the day's events plus the love in the room have combined to provide me with both the motivation and material I needed to go ahead and set up my own 'proper' blog. So here it is.

Warning: I am going to name-drop the shit out of this first blog post, both to share the love and to make myself seem very, very important.

After the 'whoop-whoop!' style enthusiasm of Brenda from Mummytime opened the conference, there was an ice-breaker called 'People Bingo'. What started out as a nice social mixer brought out my competitive side until, with two spaces left to fill, I was racing from group to group screaming "Which one of you mofos can do the splits/make a croquembouche!? Huh! No one? You're no use to me! Outta my way!" While I may have lost some friends in that initial crush, my tactics meant I won some Baker's Delight vouchers. Totally worth it (also worth if to find out that one of the few men present could do the splits - mad skillz ahoy).

The panel discussions that followed were a valuable way to listen to various points of view, offering some great tips about blogging such as use of twitter to facilitate your blogging. One great tip was to link from your twitter page to a landing page on your blog for twitter followers rather than just the front page of your blog. The panel format meant that no one had to 'go first' and deliver a long speech, it was interactive and dynamic and a great way to deliver that style of information.

The breaks were a mad rush of introductions and a grab for as many pastries as we could fit in the time allotted (oh, was that just me?). The scandalous gossip was reserved for later in the evening (more on that later). I made some new friends who were seated at my table : Adam (originally from Adamstown - I love it) Julie, Dee and Clare.

The standout of the day's offerings (aside from the Lindt-and-other-goody-packed swag bags, it goes without saying) was the My Blog, My Story session in which six stunning, unique, bloggers told their beautiful, emotional stories. There was not a dry eye in the house as they opened up about the trials and tribulations of their blogging life. Some said it saved them during their darkest days to have that online community at their side, full of love and support. Some outlined the perils of being misinterpreted or accidentally setting off a chain of events that allowed their families to be taken advantage of. All of them were touching, and I must commend the bravery of these women. To stand up and tell their stories in a room full of people is a very different thing to the degree of protection afforded by sitting in a room in front of a computer.
You can read more about that at Life in a Pink Fibro but I'd like to repeat Al's thanks to Tiff at My Three Ring Circus, Lori at Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum, Magneto Bold Too, Karen at Miscellaneous Mum, Carly at Tune Into Radio Carly, Kim at FrogPondsRock

We also heard some hella funny blog posts read out by some of our favourite bloggers, Bern Morley and the NDM
Edenland and MummyMayhem
an honest and gut-wrenching post by Kim at allconsuming
a heart-stoppingly lovely poem read by Kristin at Wanderlust_lust
and a sobering but beautiful piece by Mark Mullins at Blak and Black

Onto the gossip and scandal part of the evening. Not one to name names, suffice it to say that if

undies "falling off" on the dancefloor
some one dry humping a dyson
a newborn winning the prize for 'most enthusiastic' dancer
a bunch of bloggers doing the nutbush
singing into a fork
fabulous shoes
chocolate cake
red wine
Salt n Pepa's 'Push It'
dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld
and the funniest bunch of people you could ever assemble in one room

makes for a good night out, then a good night out was had. It was blogtopia.

This post is getting long enough, so I will cut to the chase with my tale of woe: it involved
waking up with the migraine from hell (after drinking one glass of wine the night before - life is so unfair!)
slumping in the hotel lobby in my PJ bottoms, t-shirt and sunglasses (Sarah Pietrzak saved the day not least by saying I rocked the look, which bolstered me somewhat)
absconding to the house of a lovely blogger (who wasn't even at the conference!) and collapsing into her 3-year-old's bed, and
ralphing into a sick bag on the F3 while trying to give directions to Indydreaming.
Did I mention this was the first time I had met Kerri Sackville? It was a great look for me. She sent me away with a bottle of water, box of crackers and bonus towel (which was kind of like a free 'gift with purchase' except for the purchase bit). I am planning on keeping the towel until she becomes a best-selling author (ie later this year), and then auctioning it on ebay.

Ms Dovic, Bern Morley and Annie Reuss administered sympathy hugs while Jo Foster did a pharmacy-run for emergency meds.

As it is my wont I will now provide you with a one-stop-shop for the ausblogcon-related blogs I have to hand (and as a thankyou to you for reading my first post), to save you the hassle of scrolling through the hashtag, I have done it for you and (besides from those listed above) here they are:




Singular Scene

Baby Mac

Sleepless Nights

Diminishing Lucy

Every one I mentioned here (and some who I didn't - apologies for my post-migraine memory fuzz) rocked my little world this weekend, which is pretty damn rad. I'd do it all again (well perhaps minus the migraine).
Thanks so much to the brilliant organisers -see you all next year! (hopefully I'll do another post before then...)