I finally got my Blogpodium 2014 recap written! Yea, me! First of all, I had a great time at Blogpodium , I always do. I was using my iPhone for photos that day, and the venue was a bit dark, so needless to say this post is going to be Texty McTexterson so bear with me. After this Blogpodium was all said and done, I definitely had lots of thoughts about blogging in general, which I will get to later, but first I want to share some of my highlights.
I loved the keynote speech by Donna from Funky Junk Interiors. It had humour, passion, and grit. She drew us in with her story, which really showed us how she got where she is today. She did give us some tips and hints but it was her story of perseverance that made us all relate to her and it really set a great tone for the day. I loved the picture she posted talking about people’s reactions when you tell them you are a blogger….
Now, I have been blogging for over four years and generally haven’t really paid much attention to the numbers. Recently, I have been trying to figure out traffic, the best ways to improved my google rank, and other techie things, and well, it been frustrating. So this year, I decided to nerd it up and focus on the technical sessions. I went to 2 sessions. One by Nicki Lamont on Essential SEO and one by Avery Swartz from Camp Tech on Google Analytics. Both were really, really helpful and I left with a much better of a grasp on all those crazy blogging metrics. And can I tell you how much I love Camp Tech? Seriously. They had a nerd station at Blogpodium where bloggers could ask questions and get specific help for their own blogs. As you can see from the photo below, they were pretty busy all day! Also they have the best tag line ever.
And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the panel discussion with Jen Flores, Scott McGillivray and Monika Hibbs. I knew Jen would be great….obviously she has the finger on the pulse of bloggers. But I’ll be honest, although I enjoy both Scott’s shows and Monika’s blog, I went into the session wondering what exactly they would bring to the table that would be applicable to the average blogger. Well, I will tell you I was really impressed with both of them. They told their stories which were very interesting in their own ways and also they provided good advice on career paths. And they both had a huge amount of drive, which resonated with me. What I took from that discussion was be true to yourself, make a plan and then go get what you want.
Another great thing that I always love about Blogpodium is seeing all the bloggers I don’t see in real life often enough. This year I was so happy to have my friend Sarah of More than Denim, staying with me for her first blog conference. Sarah is a Canadian blogger over at More than Denim, who just recently moved back to Halifax from the US and is excited to get tapped into the Canadian blogging scene. Check it out for some fabulous fashion and food posts.
Now on to the more introspective stuff. I have been attending blog conference since before I had an probably had any right to do so. I’ve been to all four Blogpodiums and I also attended Alt Summit in Salt Lake City in 2012. Looking back, I will say that for the first 2 Blogpodiums and Alt, I KNEW NOTHING. I learned a lot but maybe not a lot that applied to me directly since my blog was so small and newer at the time. Now, that being said, my blog isn’t much bigger now than it was then, but I would like to think it’s slightly more sophisticated. I certainly would say that the last 2 Blogpodiums were the most rewarding. but also very different. Last year, I left feeling super inspired and motivated. For me it was about the relationships and connections, but looking back I didn’t leave with a huge amount of tangible information to actually apply on my blog. This year, however, while I didn’t leave with a sense of euphoric blog bliss, I learned a ton and left with so much information that I could put into action right away. It wasn’t better or worse than last year, just different. But I think maybe that is the evolution of attending blog conferences. Every experience is unique and speaks to you differently.
Now, it’s no secret that the word on the street is that that blogging as we know is dying. Readership is down, comments are down, major publications in the US are shutting down blogs. And for sure, all that may indicate a significant change to blogging. The next big thing may take blogging in a whole new direction. Big changes. But just because something is changing it doesn’t mean it’s dying.
And I think something is missing from this conversation and that is that people don’t ever get tired from hearing stories. About a month ago I read great post written by by Erin Loechner over at Design for Mankind titled Blogging, Now that was posted back in August and talked about the state of blogging. I think Erin’s take on the topic is bang on. I would encourage you all to take a read of the entire thing but I want to share with you a quote from the end of that post…..
“Blogging won’t die, because it was never truly alive. The stories, the voices – that’s where the heart beats. And storytelling, friends, is forever.” – Erin Loechner, Design for Mankind
Truth. Look at my Blogpodium highlights above. Do Donna and I have the same aesthetic? No. Do I love every single project she does? Not necessarily. But I still loved her keynote and love how she writes on her blog. Why? Because she is genuine, tells a story and I connect with that in some way. And then, Scott and Monika, two people that I didn’t anticipate taking much away from who really surprised me, and why? Because they told their stories before they launched into the advice. I understood where they were coming from. Genuine stories make all the difference. Isn’t that how blogging started? It doesn’t matter what a post is about or how short it might be, if you there is a reflection of you and your story weaved in there in even the smallest way, someone is likely to enjoy it.
And I’m off my officially getting down off my soapbox. (*Drop Mic)