I went to Blissdom Canada this past weekend, which is described as a “writing and business conference: social media, blogging, marketing and public relations”. Though I didn’t get a chance to write out my goals before I left, my friend Mel did and I found that several of her goals were similar to my own:
- discuss digital media trends with other attendees,
- network with women interested in the same topics as me,
- meet and reunite with women I’ve talked to on Twitter, and
- don’t be afraid to talk with women I don’t already know
I did pretty well with all of these goals. I would have liked to meet a lot more women than I did, but I focused a lot on going to the sessions and live tweeting them. But despite the time constraints that going to each and every session caused, I’m really happy with my Blissdom experience.
I drove down with Mel and Barbara Thursday and we had some great conversations in our Ford Edge provided by Ford Canada. The rainy weather held off for us so we had a nice drive down to Toronto with plenty of time left to get ready for the CBC Live kickoff party which was great fun and I got to hang out with a lot of my friends from Ottawa and finally meet some of my friends from other parts of Canada and meet a ton of women I didn’t know yet - even online. To me, these personal connections are the very best part of conferences like Blissdom Canada. Social media tools as we know them today are fabulous, but they must be accompanied by face-to-face interactions.
For me, Blissdom Canada was an opportunity to connect in person - even from a distance as an audience member because I was too chicken to go up to them - with some of my favorite bloggers. People like Tanis Miller (Redneck Mommy) and Elan Morgan (Schmutzie), which is just silly because the very next day I did approach Jeff Pulver and Amber Mac which was just surreal. I’m seriously not the type to get star struck, but it happened and it was fun.
Through the sessions, I got to have a glimpse of what makes these people tick - the motivation and inspiration behind their success. The gist of it was that they don’t let others plant seeds of doubt. Nor do they succumb to the doubts that are inherent in themselves. They just keep going, working toward goals they’ve set and making progress, even if it’s small steps sometimes or backwards leaps. They just keep going. These are the nuggets of wisdom that I want to retain. They are fitting for where I’m at and I want to remember them every day.
It was nice to go to the conference and know without a doubt that I had no interest in working with the brands. That was a question I’d asked myself this time last year and ultimately came to the conclusion that working with brands and monetizing this little space of mine isn’t a direction I’ll take with this. This is my place to tell my stories, share a bit of my life and enjoy the process of writing.
What was interesting to me was hearing all the different perspectives of the individual sessions and the conference overall. Knowing how others’ felt didn’t really shift my views, but hearing everything from the most cynical and pessimistic views to the idealistic and naive views was enlightening. We each look at the same thing through our various filters installed throughout life and come up with pictures of what we believe that are wildly different. Not necessarily right or wrong, because often these views are based on assumptions about the people involved. At the end of the day, only they know what their own motivations and intentions are for their words and actions. That we can come together at a conference like Blissdom Canada and challenge and learn from each other through our different perspectives is an indicator of just how strong the social media community is.
And, we know how to party, too! Check out this story from CBC Live about our surprise guest at the closing night Karoake Costume Party. (The story even made Entertainment Weekly!) I hate to admit that, though I did enjoy their music, I wasn’t the world’s biggest NKOTB fan. However, but it was pretty cool that Jordan Knight showed up and hung out for so long. (I was still way more star struck by Amber Mac, though. :) Hopefully, my awesome pink wig wasn’t too disturbing for him. I owe a big thanks to Annie for said wig AND the picture.
I’m not quite done talking about Blissdom Canada yet. If you head over to The Media Mesh, I’ve shared a few tips for brands at conferences inspired by various conferences I and others have attended, including Blissdom Canada.