Friday, June 17, 2011

I was not at #BlogCamp Manchester

I was not at BlogCamp Manchester in the UK today (organised by tots 100). Neither will I be going to CyberMummy 11 next week. However, I just want to say, after weeks of build-up from blogger after blogger.... I get it.

First the build-up. As a newcomer to blogging (five months on Sunday) and having received the advice of blogging friends to 'join the community,' I found a core of blogs that interested me. I followed them on their blogs and on twitter, I commented, I replied, and I put them on my blog list (for my convenience aswell as for them). Very soon I had a group of 'close friends' and a wider group of 'friends of friends' with whom I regulalry engaged or at least read.

Some months ago there started to be twitterings, mutterings, and references to CyberMummy 11: Are you going? Who is going? Who is your sponsor? How much are the tickets? Can I justify the expense? How do I get a sponsor? Etc, etc...

Then there started a whole wave of excitement about BlogCamp Manchester. No sponsors this time as it was free but, as the date drew nearer, the build-up... well... er... built up: What shall I wear (whole blog posts and surveys on the subject)? Am I crazy to be so excited? I can't wait! Etc, etc...

Well, I get it. I've got the blogging bug. I love writing my little thoughts and about my (not so little) experiences. However, there is no getting away from the fact that, although I spend far too many hours on it, all those hours are spent sitting physically alone with my computer. A whole community of virtual friends and supporters is great but, after a few months wouldn't it be nice to meet some of them and have a real conversation over coffee or something stronger? Wouldn't it? Of course it would.

Blogging is the perfect hobby for mothers, especially those with limited financial resources - it's free, there are no travelling or babysitting costs, you can earn money from your blog eventually, and it doesn't matter if you do it in your pyjamas with eggy stains down the front or at stupid o'clock in the morning. But even mothers (I include all the blogging fathers in this generality) need to get out and socialise with other adults sometimes.

Of course it is not only the social. It's also the subject. The chance to learn how to blog better and more effectively. To hear the success stories that will inspire you. To get ideas about growing your blog, your readership, and your earning potential. To be bouyed by the sheer professionality of blogging and to see it as a legitimate, lucrative and socially useful thing to do (as opposed to self-indulgent and somewhat twee - not what I think but it has been suggested by some ignorant non-bloggers). And, of course, to meet all those 'friends' that you know everything about except that you wouldn't recognise them if they sat next to you on a train.

I get it that you want to look your best. I get it that you would be concerned that the reality of you doesn't match up to the image you portray on your blog. Not to mention all the other usual insecurities - will they like me? Will I fit in? Am I sophisticated enough? And I get it that you are eager to discuss bloggy things with bloggy people who totally understand.

Many people who would have loved to have been at BlogCamp Manchester, couldn't go. I live in Jerusalem, Israel which is my excuse. Others have lammented on twitter that they couldn't find childcare, the train fare was too steep, one poor soul has toothache (I wish you better)... Much to my surprise, I found they were following the conference on twitter ( #blogcamp ). So I checked it out. And I learned some things. Obviously it's not the same as being there, but I get this also.

In the same way as writers go to writers' workshops, teachers go to conferences, and village idiots go to the National Village Idiots Convention (Woody Allen), I want to go to a blog camp (or should that be #BlogCamp ?). I hope you all had a terrific day and one day I hope that I'll join you.

21 comments:

  1. Hello! Thanks so much for the tooth well wishes. The #blogcamp column was full of tips today. Wish we could have both gone. Good to meet you though!

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  2. @Aresidence - good to meet you too. In years to come, and over a drink at blog camp, we might muse that we were brought together by toothache. Ihope your are feeling better - Rachel

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  3. Popping by from Mummy's Little Monkey Blog Hop!

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  4. Hi Jenny - feel free to stay as long as you like :)

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  5. Oh I really enjoyed this post and I was WITH you on TWITTER at the exact moment when you GOT it and I literally HEARD the penny drop.
    You are so so sweet. I really enjoyed watching you change your opinion this afternoon.
    I consider you a blog "friend" even though you are so so far away.
    Much love,
    Liska x

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  6. Thanks Liska - it really was a penny-drop moment. At first I couldn't understand why everyone there was tweeting about it (were they bored?). Then it was explained to me that they were including all those who couldn't attend. And sharing all the knowledge. What an amazing community.

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  7. Me too!!!! I followed #blogcamp fascinated today and have learned so much. When I'm a grown-up blogger, I'm going too...

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  8. MilChic - You grow up fast in this industry. See you next year!

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  9. Thanks Rachel for the continued message that Blogging offers a community. And I am a great proponent of networking. We have a mutual friend in JK and the rest is history....

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  10. Thanks Rosa - as a mother of a toddler, blogging has turned out to be a lifeline back to the real world.

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  11. Hi there, I didn't go either even though I'm just down the road. I'm not going to Cybermummy either although I did go last year and even delivered a keynote. Although I'm not worried about not going from the educational perspective, I am a little chagrinned about not going for the networking getting in touch with people aspect. On the other hand, you find when you're at these events there's so many people you want to say hi to, it all because a bit of a rush. One thing I have realised since I've been blogging (Must be almost two years..?) is that it's wonderful taking the friendships you've made online, offline and meeting up in the real world. That's when the magic really starts. Maybe you could co-ordinate a bloggy meet-up in Jerusalem? Glad you're enjoying your blogging, and fab to have met you Vix xx

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  12. Vix - thanks for your lovely comment. I do know a few English language bloggers in Israel and I have thought about organizing a meeting of some sort. At the moment though I'm just trying to organize getting through the week :). Maybe later in the year. Fab to have met you too.

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  13. Now why didn't I think of the twitter hashtag for blog camp?! I too would like to learn more about blogging. I am 3 years blogging and there is always something to learn. I enjoy the whole social media experience and it is a fantastic outlet. You are of course right... it's good to get the mix right between our virtual and real worlds;-)

    Can't believe you're only 5 months blogging! Took me so much longer to get a following. Well done:-)

    xx Jazzy

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  14. Hi Jazzy. About that balance, ahem, I'm a little bit obsessed with the blogging. I think there might be a bit of sibling rivelry going on between DD and the computer. The computer is behaving impecably however.

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  15. I don't know a thing about blogcamp, but I am so happy that you are blogging...

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  16. hanks Keren - you are my original inspiration blogger (along with Sashinka). It just took me a few years to realize that I had something to blog about.

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  17. I hope you will join us one day too Rachel, I would love to meet you.

    I did not go to Cybermummy last year and I followed the conference on twitter and it was great fun. There was actually loads more people not there than I expected.

    Enjoy the weekend.

    Mich x

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  18. Thanks Mich - I suppose at any event there have to be more people not there than there. ;) Look forward to following Cybermummy on twitter with you. Enjoy your weekend also.

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  19. Woops - I forgot you are going! Look forward to reading all your tweets!!!!

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  20. Gosh Rachel, is it only 5 months! It wonderful to read how much you enjoy blogging, I have made a massive assumption and included myself in your blogging friends. Your continued support of my blog warms my heart. It would be lovely to meet. I too have enjoyed both the opportunity to express myself through my blog and finding the community. I have met some bloggers in 'real' life and now have some new and valued friends. I am very much looking forward to Cybermummy and putting a face to the blog. I'm sure there will be lots of posts and tweets - so put your feet up and enjoy it and maybe next year, it would be wonderful to meet you.

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  21. Gemma - it would be great to come next year but June is not so convenient for us so it probably won't happen.
    Of course you are one of my blogging friends - one of my first.
    And yes, this time I will be joining the Cybermummy tweets from the beginning.
    Thank you for being a friend.

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