It was a little like being in a room full of celebrities...I did lots of people spotting. I didn't work up the courage to say hi to everyone but I did get to meet a few bloggers that I really admire and so it was totally worth it. I'm not going to mention everyone I met in this post because I'm sure I'll leave someone out and I would hate to offend!
I will give a shout out to Katrina from The Block and Lou of Louwink because they were the very first people I spoke to. It will come as no surprise to anybody that knows me that I bumbled my way into this being the case. You see, upon arrival in the conference foyer and overtaken by the buzz in the room, I thought there was a queue stretching sideways from the registration table. I did ask a few people if they were in the queue but they said no and stepped aside...so up I went and stood right next to Katrina and Lou, who in hindsight, were having a private conversation. Imagine a stranger comes up and stands right next to you while you're having a conversation with someone. "Weirdo" alarm bells must have been going off in their heads! Lucky for me, they were totally, totally lovely people and just turned and said "hello". I then introduced myself and Katrina, who is a reader of my blog, gave me a welcoming hug and Lou proceeded to tell me that she left a comment on my blog that very morning. I was blown away! Thank you girls!
Following this embarrassing start, and after I actually registered and got my little name tag, I just walked to the middle of the room and stood there. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I knew not a single soul there and whilst everyone was chatting away to somebody, I was self-consciously standing alone in the middle of the room. So, I tried to fake it...I walked around pretending I had some purpose...and desperately searching for someone I recognised from a blog! Lo and behold, as fate would have it, someone else was standing alone too (she was actuallly waiting for friends) and I just said hi. This person was Anorina from Samelia's Mum - a very successful blogger and super friendly to boot! We ended up sitting at the same table and found we had a bit in common. Thank you Anorina for saving me from being a loner!! Anorina, along with my other table buddies, Eleise from What's on in Wollongong, Tania from My Kitchen Stories and Carolyn from Desire Empire made for a fun-filled day with lots of laughs! Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos with anyone...maybe next time?!
So, what did I learn? Heaps! I'm not going to regurgitate my notes from each session as I'm sure many other bloggers will have already done it and the presenters themselves may be posting recaps this week. Instead, I'm going to list 5 Light Bulb Moments that I had whilst listening to the various speakers:
1. I really, really need to make time and fix up the way my blog looks. So much to do in this regard - the list is a mile long! But a good place to start is with a photo of myself on the home page so people know what I actually look like. I realised how important this was for building relationships. Will be attending to that very soon.
2. Branding is not just about a logo. It is about creating an overall experience or mood. It's about giving The Camera Chronicles a strong personality so that it can poke its head out from the crowded blogosphere.
3. If I really want my blog to go in a certain direction, I should be proactive and chase opportunities. But at the same time, I have to realise that some opportunities just happen...and they often happen when you least expect them to. A bit like falling in love I suppose. Set goals and be happy with small steps.
4. I should really be utilising various social media platforms to increase my readership. I use Twitter a fair bit and my Facebook page, but have let things like Pinterest slip by the wayside. YouTube and podcasts are other avenues for reaching an audience. By the same token, I must also prioritise - there aren't enough hours in the day to be across all social media all the time!
5. The realisation or confirmation that blogging is an industry. It may be a little unconventional and made up of some very weird characters, but it's also totally awesome. We should embrace it and treat it like the industry that it is. We should support one another and help to strengthen it.
Did you attend Blogopolis?
What were your light bulb moments?