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
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.