Bliss state of mind


It’s been almost a full week since the Blissdom Canada conference. As you may know, I was ecstatic about attending – for a second year – Canada’s only social media conference for women.

I had set a few goals for myself, one of them fully realized through the creation of this blog. Yes, indeed! I am finally self-hosted.

But I learned a couple of things about the other goals I set for that conference…

Working with brands and PR

Opening remarks-BlissdomCanada11
@aliworthington, @herbadmother and @barbarajones kicking things off

Excited as I was to learn about work with brands, I realized that it might not be right for me. It comes down to properly understanding the value of my time, something bloggers who want to work with brands need to really think about before cultivating those relationships.

This theme about valuing our time is a theme that ran across several sessions during the conference.

During the opening keynote, @herbadmother said it’s important to interrogate our knowledge of ourselves. Interrogate is a strong word and I never thought about self-knowledge in that way before.

What I value, what I don’t. What I believe in.

I need to really understand myself, and my own motives before thinking about working with brands. That’s going to take some reflection.

I’m not totally shutting it off as a possibility, but I’m parking it for now. In the meantime, I’ll continue to work at becoming a better storyteller and learning more about me.

Show me the money?

Nope. I don’t want to monetize my blog. Not now, although the panel She Works Hard for the Money led by @MissFish offered some great advice that I’ve set aside for later consideration. MissFish also wrote a follow-up post on how to create a rate card that’s valuable should you be considering blog monetization.

Tribe alliances

To help attendees connect with people of like interests, they created tribes – round table sessions held the first day of the conference. I attended the social media and the lifestyle blogging tribes.

@alimartell describing how riding the subway is the best writing inspiration ever

Good discussions but the groups were so big and the room so loud, it was hard to hear what people were saying.

I think it would have been better if the round tables were limited in number or rotated faster so you could speak with more people (kind of like last year’s round tables).

Speaking of tribes…

I actually found it hard to connect with people this year. I’m not sure why but I know I’m not the only person who felt that way.

Read here and here for viewpoints from @BeingMarci and @Clippo.

Don’t get me wrong – I had a great time at Blissdom Canada, and some great conversation too with the likes of @SherrieMae23, @mpricemitchell, @scarbiedoll, @publisher_ps, @karen_c_wilson and more.

A special shout-out to the women I had lunch with on the last day of the conference. I didn’t know any of you when I sat down for lunch but we had a personal and insightful discussion about mental illness, its social stigma and how society needs to be talking about it more. Thanks, ladies!

That said, I thought it would be easier to talk to people in general. And it wasn’t. Attendees seemed kind of closed off this year compared to last year. Less likely to say hi when you sat down beside them, less likely to start a conversation with a stranger. I’m friendly folk and was surprised by that experience especially since more likely than not we’ve been chatting on Twitter for ages.

My learning moments

Now before you think I’m a sour puss suffering a woes-me attitude, know that I greatly value the connections I did make at Blissdom Canada and the things I learned too. Like…

  • Get familiar with the language of business so you’re making knowledgeable decisions when working with brands @martinwaxman
  • Know who you are (and aren’t) to make working with brands work @AlisonIPR
  • Be the person the brand wants you to represent but! work with brands who want you to be yourself @kathybuckworth
  • Create a disclosure policy and publish it on your blog so brands know how to work with you
  • So many women undervalue their time – in working with brands we need to remember our time is valuable @missfish
  • Find someone to hug each day @jeffpulver (from the session A Little Sprinkle of Viral Dust – my fav session by far!)
  • Sometimes you need to “reboot your buddy list” @jeffpulver (You know, we tell kids that all the time – we should take the advice too)
  • Before you hit publish, know you have to answer for it because you put it out in the world @nummiesbra

    Viral dust panel: @thatericaplper, @jeffpulver, @mysmarthands @nummiesbra
  • Sometimes what you’re looking for doesn’t have a [Canadian] border – it’s about a heartbeat – Anna Maria Tremonti of @thecurrentcbc
  • Wisdom from @missrogue: teach your daughters to code, encourage them to get into technology – it’s a path to ruling the future
  • Read your work aloud because I guarantee you’ll edit yourself @scarbiedoll
  • @missrogue handed $20 to a woman in the audience who wanted it most (she went up to Tara and took it) – we need more women doing same (not grabbing money per se, but driven to go after what they want)
  • From the viewing of the documentary Missrepresentation: challenge people who are degrading ANYONE. Not just degrading women #missrep
  • Met @jenbanks_yeg of the Edmonton Girl Geek Dinners crew – cool! #GGDOttawa
  • Three iPhone apps that rock: Cinch to create/share audio, Dragon Dictation to voice record blog ideas, etc. and WordPress to manage your blog from your phone @susie_parker
  • That there are a lot of Buffy fans at Blissdom Canada – as there should be – Buffy rocks!

Two other take-aways to note

During my #MakeYourMark style session, Erin from @BetterStyled answered a long-standing question I’ve had about nude hosiery…To make sure your nude hosiery doesn’t look too pale or too dark against your skin, buy hosiery with a bit of shimmer to it. She recommends Shimmer by Silks. Awesome.

My all time favourite moment was at the CBCLive party last Wednesday. Like many others in attendance, I flashbacked to being a kid watching Mr. Dressup. I got to stand beside the tree where Mr. Dressup often spent time talking to Casey and Finnegan! Nostalgia at its finest.

Mr. Dressup

Will I attend Blissdom Canada next year? Absolutely. The conference was incredibly well organized and the speakers offered some terrific insight. I would  like to see some new speakers though. There were quite a few repeats from last year and getting some new speakers in would offer a fresh perspective on the topics discussed.

Next year, I’m going to adjust my expectations for myself and others, and work harder at making real connections with people. What was your Blissdom Canada experience? Please share them below. And thanks for reading.

10 Responses to “Bliss state of mind”

  1. Sharon

    I love how everyone is walking away this year with such different experiences and thoughts. It’s the conversations that happen at Blissdom and afterward that help us grow.

  2. Krista (@kristahouse)

    Here is what I think may be part of the disconnect… at least for me. This year we actually had an expo hall compared to the handful of booths last year. Actually I only visited one booth last year which meant that during break time I was actually having conversations and meeting with other attendees. That was how we connected Mel 🙂 I also met Sherrie Mae, Melissa Price-Mitchell, Marci (and countless others) in those very hallways during the breaks.

    This year I spent my breaks walking around from booth to booth — on my own! I was distracted and it just wasn’t the same. I’m not against having these booths, but I think I need to monitor my time better if I attend next year. I really missed the connections I made last year. It was why I loved the conference so much.

    • melgallant

      Krista, I never thought of that point about the expo hall but maybe you’re right. The in-between session times were kind of taken up with booth-hopping. I think that played a part in the disconnection for sure.

  3. Lara

    I wonder if year two could ever have lived up to year one? We were all new to it – nobody was rushing back to the people they always hang out with at these conferences… it was new and exciting.
    I think the booths were one part of it, but there was something more I can’t put my finger on… but it felt more the way I felt at BlogHer in 2010.
    I’m writing my Blissdom post today. I got a lot of great take aways from the conference again this year, but walked away a little less enthused. It was still great though 🙂

    • melgallant

      Hi Lara,

      You’re so right. I don’t think year two could have lived up to year one. It was still great though. I’m completely glad I went. Just didn’t walk away as excited as last year. hmm.

  4. melissa

    I felt disconnected at times, but I don’t know how much of that was me and my nature (not as outgoing as I’d like to think I am) and how much of that was conference-driven.

    I’ve been commenting like crazy this week though. Maybe I really am more sociable behind a screen. Not sure what I think of that. 🙂

    I agree that the larger booth presence may have contributed. As a necessary evil to keep costs down, they won’t be going away anytime soon. However the Phillips spa “booth” really allowed people some much needed sit/chat/relax time.

    I also think that some of it might be second-year blues. It was really fun to be part of that “first” group. Because it was smaller, we had built-in intimacy. I just hope folks that came for the 1st time this year felt welcome amidst all the “this is different from last year” talk. It may just be growing pains.

    I was so glad to go out for dinner with you and Sherrie. It was nice to talk about all this stuff without the stars on our eyes, so to speak. If we can’t get past the superficial stuff, we’ll never really get to the next steps in our blogging/online journeys, no matter what they are.

    • melgallant

      Hi Melissa,

      I hope the new folks this year felt welcome too, and not bogged down by this ‘different from last year talk’. We had a good talk – you, me and Sherrie – about the conference and what it means to be a blogger. And you’re right, if we can’t get past the superficial, we’ll never get to where we want to go.

  5. Sherrie Guthrie

    Great comments ladies. So many things I agree with you Mel. I have hesitated blogging and commenting on other blogs…because as I have been told in the past I am not a ‘blogger’. Finally, I realize I have to be myself and not be bullied by others and be myself online.

    Wonderful spending time with all the people I have met on twitter, facebook and through blogs at Blissdom Canada. Looking forward to more online & IRL interactions in the future.

    PS..Loved all our candid conversations in the hallways, convention centre and breakfast table, its amazing what common ground you can find over fine food & open attitudes.
    Thanks to Melissa & Mel for our dinner date….Already made the reservation for the #OpenAir dinner next year!

  6. melgallant

    Sherrie, I find it appalling those words were said to you.

    Who is it for others to decide what does and doesn’t make a blogger? I find that to be the strangest thing in the world to say to someone. We each of us are in charge of defining our own success. It’s nobody’s business to tell us otherwise.

    Glad you’re not letting anything get in your way of doing what you want. As it should be!

    Looking forward to more conversations in future – in real life and otherwise!


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