I literally felt on top of the world that day in London. Mumsnet’s first mummy blogger conference took place in the Millbank Tower, somewhere between the 28th and 29th floors. It so happened that the Mayor also threw a parade just for us and made sure we got the best seats in the house!
I was excited to come to the conference, and so stayed overnight in London (unlike my last minute dash to BritMums Live!) earlier this year. I was particularly looking forward to the star-studded line-up and couldn’t wait to hear what they had to say to the assembled mum bloggers. Zoe Williams, Gaby Wood, Natasha Walter, The Bloggess, Tanya Byron, Cath Elliot, Eleonor Mills, Suzanne Moore and more and more. With Caitlin Moran being the cherry on the cake!
I was also surprised how many delegates were already quite established bloggers, some of them with publishing deals under their belts. And all that swearing!! That what happens when you get a group of feisty journos in a room.
*Tbh I found that quite therapeutic!*
I took everything on board and made a few notes for myself. What I realised is that there is no right or wrong answer. Blogging sits outside the traditional rules of writing and the rules for social media still haven’t been written. So here are my views and musings on the matter of:
* THAT PHRASE
“Mummy blogger” vs “mum blogger”. The former gets a lot of grief, but it works. Advertising needs a clear way of identifying who we are. We don’t mind being called a “yummy mummy”, but “mummy blogger” seems to annoy mums who blog. Does this really matter? Either way it works in my humble opinion, especially when we’ve got bigger fish to fry. I know I will choose my battles carefully :)
If it’s your public space (your blog, a Facebook page) I would draw clear guidelines for community management. Big brands and businesses do it, why shouldn’t we? These are our communities and we are in effect a brand, so don’t let anyone abuse you or use any derogatory language towards your readers. This is obviously harder to moderate on Twitter, but ignoring them and not giving them the attention they so desperately seek sits well with me.
I must confess I’ve been worrying about not blogging frequently. To have a moment to think, let along write, is quite challenging as I don’t just want to share my day-to-day ramblings. What I liked about the advice given is that the writing element will develop with time and it takes years to develop your voice. That was the feel-good factor! Not rushing and taking my time.
* UNITED YET NOT
What made be feel quite sad is that we are all women who blog for whatever reason and yet we are all competing with each other. Why oh why? Why aren’t we collaborating more? Guest blogging, campaigning, getting things done. It makes sense. To make an impact as mums, bloggers we should have a more united front.
For starters we hold economic and political power – who runs households, allocates family budgets, makes purchasing decisions for him, her, kiddies and organises this, that and the other? If we continue to show our brilliance in the pieces we write and highlight the big issues that are important to us and our families, both advertisers and the government will start to take notice.
And finally, what a BOMBSHELL Caitlin Moran is!! I had to think quickly on my feet as I was attending this conference on behalf of a friend, a mum and a fabulous jewellery designer, who adores Caitlin. We discussed a possibility of sending Caitlin a sample of her eccentric jewellery line, but didn’t quite get organised. And so I thought – this is my moment!
As Caitlin was making her way saying goodbye to friends before getting into a taxi, I leapt forward just like in The Bodyguard movie to get to her in two steps and pass on a sample to her. She probably saw a real desperation in my face. She smiled, said “thanks” and probably thought “what a loon!”
Few more photos from the conference and a nod to the sponsors and The Blog Clinic:
Nintendo ladies for being so cheerful and patient with a mum, who never saw a Nintendo DS in her life… Definitely on a wish list for my son now.
Gorgeous Boden stand, a very inspiring collection for next season.
Jax Blunt for making me feel good about WordPress again!
And my lovely ex-colleague Victoria Noble from Zone who ran “Brands with Bloggers” clinic.
And other sponsors, who so generously filled our goodie bags!!
I will be following this post up with individual product reviews for some of the brands in the bag. Please bear with me. There was so much good stuff, that I thought I should share it with local mums asking for a review in exchange.
How wonderful it was to be in London again :)