So here we have it, the obligatory Cybermummy post. For anyone bored to tears with the whole thing, please feel free to move on – I’m not armed with google analytics – I have no way of monitoring your activity and tracking you down, you are free to go….
Someone asked me today what I learned on Saturday. I have thought a lot about this question; I want to answer honestly.
From the outset I was someone who struggled with the whole concept of a conference for mummy bloggers. I don’t feel comfortable defining myself in those terms and I could understand the mumblings or, in some cases, rants of those who felt it was deliberately ostracising folk.
I wasn’t going to go.
For one thing I couldn’t afford it, and for another I didn’t consider myself ‘that type of blogger’. I wasn’t looking for a book deal, or to learn how to increase my traffic, maximise my brand or improve my content. But as the list of attendees grew I recognised with a sigh an unalterable fact – I wanted to go. I wanted to meet all of the amazing people whose blogs make me laugh and cry, whose tweets force me to descend into a world of random nonsense and dammit! I didn’t want to be left out.
That didn’t change the fact that I wasn’t going – just made me put 🙁 at the end of every tweet I gave in answer to the “Are you going?” question. And then a chance meeting with a rather wonderful wig-wearing-woman meant that I was offered the opportunity to go, and of course I said yes please.
Making my way to London town on one of the hottest days of the year I cursed Chiltern Railways – not only had they changed their timetable and deleted the train I’d booked, they also saw fit to divert me all over the county, ensuring my late and somewhat flustered arrival. Thankfully my rather lovely friend Heather waited for me and held my hand as we entered.
Inside was a chaotic concoction of enrolment procedures, goodie bags, badges, lanyards and friendly faces on the registration desk *phew*. Heading into Room2 was massively overwhelming – so many people, many of whom I ‘knew’, but not so many familiar faces – it’s just the weirdest thing, you spend most of the day appraising people’s midriffs trying to get a sneaky peak at their badge. We leapt into speed networking and then the first session before I’d even got my breath…I was still cursing Chiltern Railways.
I enjoyed hearing my friends Josie and Gigi speak, I’m already familiar with their opinions, but hearing them expressed verbally was a new treat, and one that really defined the entire day. The most incredible session was listening to the keynote blogs being read. To hear the voices behind the keyboard clicks really brought the pieces alive. I laughed and cried, and cried, and cried…. we all did, unashamedly. They were simply brilliant. I watched my friends steel themselves to deliver posts that I’ve wept through before and I mentally clutched their hands as they shook on the podium.
I missed sessions I’d have liked to have attended – too busy chatting to move, and sat through sessions that didn’t feel terribly relevant to me. But this was the first…I’m sure the organisers went away with a lot of valuable feedback that will enable them to build on this fantastic start. Ultimately for me though, it all boiled down to this:
1. Bloggers are invariably shorter than you think. With one or two notable exceptions….
2. Chiltern Railways are conspiring against me. I got my revenge on the way home by taking up an entire 4-seat table combo with my haul of goodies
3. Friends may be absent, but they are never forgotten….
4. No pub quiz will ever be the same again, unless compered by the legendary Linda S Jones…
5. For people who communicate largely through the written word, we really can talk!
6. Bloggers are an amazing, gorgeous, intelligent, and slightly crazed bunch of truly supportive types. As sickly as it may be for anyone not attending to read, that spirit is what truly defined my day – oh and Cosmic Girlie kissing me repeatedly….
8. ….what happens at Cybernutters stays at Cybernutters…..
and finally a thank you, to all of you who were there… YOU really made my day…