Vegemite soldiers, real tea in a favourite teacup, and Fadra's latest post. No better way to spend a morning.
Fadra is currently kicking my arse in Qrank. Every time I log on I think ... can I beat Fadra today? I usually can't .. and that's seriously ok. I’m not that competitive. If I was competitive I would be *much* more ... better at things.
I met Fadra online - we both submitted videos for a reality TV casting show. She was a breath of fresh air in a sea of forced chirpiness. We met in the flesh at BlogHer10 ... we sat next to each other on the couch and Alice Bradley was RIGHT next to us and I was all "Fadra that is Finslippy! Look, Catherine is dancing in her tutu! Ahhh!" And Fadra didn't know who they were. Like I said, refreshing.
We talked and talked and talked, for over an hour. Her husband kept calling and texting her, as we sat lazily sprawled out on the big cheeseburger-shaped couches at CheeseburgHer.
Fadra, you're one of my best mates. Thank you for sharing your American bloggy conference knowledge with those of us going to the Aussie Bloggers Conference in Sydney next week.
I hope you weren't joking about that passport.
I'm never at a loss for words or topics so I was all ready to step forward and blather on about something on Eden’s blog. And then she gave me an assignment. I’m totally cool with that. In fact, when someone gives me something specific to write about, I can usually rock it out in about half my normal time.
Since there’s apparently a really big Aussie blogging conference coming up, Eden thought it might be nice if I gave you my perspective on what to expect and how to survive.
Why did she ask me to write about it? Probably because I’m a SUPER big deal back in the States. I’m, like, one of the biggest bloggers out there. In fact, I invented blogging.
(I figure I can say all this because you all being down under and such, you can’t really verify it, can you? Oh, you can? I see.)
I’ve been blogging since September 2009 but didn’t really “get” it until March 2010. That was when I attended my first blogging conference, a lovely little intimate one day session called Bloggy Boot Camp. I went because a friend was going and asked me to come along.
It really was my “a-ha” moment. It was the moment that I realized, “Oh, okay. This is a community. These people are like me. And these people are making some money.” I opened my eyes, bought my domain, switched to WordPress, and never looked back.
There were a lot of novices at that conference. We started following each other on Twitter and reading each other’s blogs. Now, a year later, I’m good friends with a lot of these people online and didn’t even realize I had met them in person.
My second conference was in August 2010. In NYC. For BlogHer. BlogHer is definitely the grand poobah of blogging conferences. I suppose I should have been intimidated but I didn’t know enough to be intimidated. I approached the conference with the same naïveté that I generally use when approaching life.
· Find a crowd that you know. They might be online friends or real life friends. (Usually after a conference, the lines are blurred anyway.) Use them as your anchor so that you feel comfortable at a session, party, event. But don’t latch onto them. This is your chance to branch out.
· Talk to everyone. This can be really hard at blogging conferences because a lot of times you don’t know many people. And, um, hello, we spend a lot of time behind our computers. We don’t all have the best social skills. But try anyway.
· Bring business cards. You may not feel like you are business card worthy or that it’s even necessary. Trust me. It is. You don’t have to spend a fortune but make them memorable and consistent with your brand/blog. And for God’s sakes, don’t forget to put your NAME and email address. I know we like our anonymity but this is how business gets done.
· Get to know other people. I found the most amazing connections in the most unexpected places. I sat at a table for a quick sec to grab lunch while the staff was cleaning up and struck up a conversation with an amazingly experienced writer from Chicago. I created a friendship with the wife of a semi-celebrity because we hit it off outside of a party when we started talking about publishing. And did I mention Eden? Yeah, I wrote a whole post about how we fell in bloggy love.
· Leave the high school mentality at home. There will always be someone smarter, prettier, more popular than you. There will always be the painfully shy, nerdy, socially awkward kids. But we’re grown-ups now and we go to these things because we all have a common love affair with blogging. Embrace your differences and you might learn something.
· Bask in the blogginess. For just a few days, you will be surrounded by people that totally get you. They understand that you like to tweet. A LOT. It’s okay to bury yourself in your laptop or pull out your iPad and iPhone in the middle of a session. You can talk about widgets and plug-ins and reviews and giveaways and all speak the same language. These are your people and nothing feels more motivating than to know you are not alone.
All in all, my naïveté didn’t work against me. It actually made me relax and talk to people I might never have thought to talk to. I even hung out with some “big” bloggers. But again, I really didn’t know they were big bloggers and I’d kind of like to keep it that way.
Best of luck to you at your first ever blogging conference focusing on the mum, parenting and personal blogging communities of Australia. If any of you ever need a guest speaker, I have my passport ready.
* No idea why I wrote "dropping it like it's hot" in this post title. It just sounded cool. Almost as cool as FAY-DRAHHHHHH.
Fadra on facebook and twitter
Plus her awesome site "And Nobody Told Me."
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