I’ve written the me-centric feelings of going to Blogfest, so this post if going to focus on what the day was like (in my opinion!)
Going last minute meant that the structure of the programme was essential for me and I did base my day around going to each session / option on offer. As someone who finds social events a struggle, the low-key guidance was enough. Although either I didn’t hear or there wasn’t announcements for all session starts, which I would have found helpful.
The first session was a keynote panel titled Always On: How does technology shape the way we think? I don’t really take a lot of notice of titles, as panels and discussions often meander. I found the people in the panel interesting and amusing, even if they didn’t really have a clue about the subject. They made some good points, especially that our children do not have a “before internet” experience. I recommend reading Jax’s review of the panel at Making It Up including her excellent tweet notes.
— Jax Blunt (@liveotherwise) November 8, 2014
The second session was a choice between How to find your funny, Google masterclass, and money making masterclass. I chose How to make Money, but I was also tempted with the Google one, which I might have got more out of. I now know how to monetise my blog if I’m the number one blogger, or a company in the US. That’s not an entirely fair representation, but the most useful part of the session was Tara Cain’s advice on how to build an audience and what to charge. Everything from that part of the session is in her post, which I think is an essential read if blogging is a serious part of your life – even if you’re not interested in sponsorship or brands.
Following the second session were Think Bombs – three five minute chunks of inspiration. Luckily they are available to watch on YouTube, although sadly Francesca Martinez is cut short. My favourite quote from Francesca was “Accepting yourself is an act of civil disobedience“.
A ninety minute lunch break gave plenty of opportunity for milling around the brand stalls if you wanted, or to chat. The time flew past and I’m not sure who I spoke to where or when to be honest. Having this time without sessions was lovely, but some quiet areas would have been much appreciated.
The third session was a choice between beauty, campaigning or advanced social media. I chose advanced social media because I don’t see myself as a campaigner (and have no interest in beauty) but perhaps I should have learnt more about how to change the world online. The social media session started late due to traffic and Paul Armstrong speeded his way through the presentation, referring to “as I said last year” a lot. He’s obviously on the forefront of technology but I think I needed “a few years ago” lessons rather than what may or may not be happening in the future. It was interesting though, and the slides are online.
The final choice session of the day was between between food blogging, youtube or round table discussions. Several of the round tables appealed, but as I hadn’t signed up to anything in advance I waited for spaces and chose the techie panel as I might be able to input as well as learn. Sadly having five tables in one room, packed with people talking and laughing, was absolutely no good for my hearing and I missed almost everything in the session due to background noise. Rachel, Jax, Alice and Sue were great with dispensing useful advice (from the bits I did hear!) and well worth following.
After another well needed break, it was time for the final panel of the day The Power of Writing. Perhaps I was too worn out at this stage or perhaps I’m just not a writer, but I wasn’t as inspired by this as most seemed to be. It was interesting (again) and I’m glad I was there but to be honest I can’t remember much of what was actually said!
— Rachel Cotterill (@rachelcotterill) November 8, 2014
The closing Keynote was hilarious, the drinks afterwards too noisy (but once I found my geeky corner, it improved immensely and I almost missed my train from staying too long…) and having now had gin for the first time, I think I quite like it.
Was it worth it? Absolutely. I want to go again now, and get more out of it now I know what to expect (but I got a lot out of it anyway, and I met friends I’d not met before, which was priceless.)
— Sue Black (@Dr_Black) November 8, 2014
Was it worth £95? I do think you get more than your money’s worth just in terms of food, drink, entertainment and the goody bag. However, as someone not particularly interested in fashion, beauty, or cooking, the goody bag was mainly irrelevant to me. Personally I couldn’t justify the cost, so I hope there is an early bird discount for next year as I really do want to go back!