Let me start by saying, What a weekend! The conference was everything I imagined and more.
Where else could you be sitting at a table at a constantly tapping away at a laptop, ipad or phone, sending messages, tweeting or live blogging and your behaviour not be seen as rude or inappropriate? It was a place where you could be sitting beside someone and ‘chat’ to them without even opening your mouth. I think at one stage our table had 3 matching laptops sitting side by side and a matching pair of ipads and more than a few smartphones with everyone quietly ‘chatting’ away with the only sounds being the conference speakers and the tapping away at keyboards. Whilst I pride myself on my multi-tasking abilities, I really couldn’t keep up with some of the tweeting legends in the room. I was too busy reading tweets, and at times giggling at them, to send millions of tweets myself.
There was much discussion about why we were all blogging and the overwhelming response was to feel a part of a community, to belong, to find a place to be me. That is essentially what the conference was all about. It highlighted the differences I have observed about internet usage of different groups of people, and reinforced just how much I love the personal blogger scene. My favourite session was listening to the ‘My Blog My Story’ readings. These amazing women and their presentations epitomised why the blogosphere is such an amazing world, how despite living in a world of total upheaval and turmoil you can still be supported by people who care for you, who will do anything to support you. This love and support was evident everywhere you looked with people hugging, chatting animatedly, supporting one another and during the ‘My Blog My Story’ session offering one another tissues or a shoulder to cry on as we shared the pain, frustration and also the successes of the presenters.
I was there and it was amazing. I DID learn and I DID have fun but I have to admit that I was disappointed in the weekend, not disappointed about the conference as it was inspiring, but disappointed about me and my lack of involvement. I know that I am an observer, that I stand back and watch rather than getting in amongst the action but I really wanted to be the me I know I can be. I mean seriously, I was going into a world where I could be whatever ME I wanted to be, whoever I wanted to invent, I could be loud, confident, self-assured and involved if I wanted to instead of being shy, insecure and the real me.
It is no secret that I was more than a little apprehensive about going to the conference, about getting all the way out of my comfort zone, but to be honest I normally manage to get past the apprehension and thrive under the self- perceived ‘pressure’ of the situation, or at least I do in a work setting. In some perverse way I actually love the adrenalin of being thrown in the deep end and seeing just what will happen but for some reason the adrenalin just didn’t kick in and I kept creeping back into the shadows. To be honest I think I was more introverted at the conference than I normally would be in any other social situation. Perhaps it was being surrounded by so many people I admire, maybe it was just being surrounded by so many people!
I guess it didn’t help that I had had a chunk of ‘stuff’ chopped out of my neck a few days prior to the conference and was sporting a dozen stitches in my neck. (good news, the ‘stuff’ was benign!) I was feeling more than a little self conscious and was sporting a rather large sticky plaster on my neck that I tried (unsuccessfully) to hide with scarves. I was feeling a little sore and sorry for myself. I couldn’t turn my head to the left without pulling the stitches and so I am sure I appeared even ruder or more aloof than I really am! I promise that in more ‘normal’ circumstances I can be a friendly and interesting person who loves to meet people and talk.
I had the chance to reconnect with old friends and I loved meeting friends I feel like I have known forever. I do wish that I had the courage to meet more people but I was happy just to be in an environment with other people who ‘got’ my love of blogging and the feeling of community that blogging has given me.
Despite all my apprehensions and freak outs during the weekend, am already psyching myself up for next years conference here in Melbourne. Surely with a year to prepare myself I will be a little more user friendly. I can practice by going to more tweet-ups and get-togethers locally. I will be braver next time, I will meet more people and I will have fun out of the shadows.
Above all, I was and am so excited to have been at the first ever Aussie Blogger Conference, a fact that I can already imagine bragging to the grandkids about in many many years to come.