Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

AUSBLOGCON Part Two

Saturday March 19th

Conference day!!

Saturday got off to an early start, with quite a lot of us already in the breakfast room by the time I got downstairs.
Tables were already mostly filled with groups chatting and eating, so I found a tucked away table for two and ate breakfast (mmm, bacon) while I watched others. (not in a creepy stalker way)
I was soon joined by Denyse who was also looking for a place to sit and had noticed me on my own.
Denyse is a retired school principal who writes about schools, talking to teachers, assisting parents and also does guest posts for blogs.
We got on quite well and I was happy to have met her.


I was part of Veronica's Meet and Greet team and was looking forward to saying hello to absolutely everybody, not just the people I had met the day before, and handing out swag.
In reality this didn't happen.

Over the years I've become used to greeting people at the checkout, saying hello, how are you, blah, blah, blah and I thought this would be similar so I'd be okay.
Well! Clearly I don't know myself as well as I thought I did.
I tried and I did manage to hand over a couple of swags, (goodie bags), but I was very glad to be partnered in this with Naomi.
Naomi is a cheerful little livewire who isn't at all shy and wanted to meet everybody before handing over a swagbag. We soon worked out a system where Naomi checked people for name tags, said hello and handed each one a swag bag from the table.....

...while I kept the table stocked with bags from the huge pile on the floor.

A few people walked past and picked up their own bag only to have Naomi call out, "hey, come back here, I want to meet you before I hand you a bag. Have you registered? Do you have your name tag? I want to know who you are!" Then she'd hand them the bag they'd picked up!

Carly walking past the registration table.
And what a bag!!
I'd been expecting to hand out smallish goodie bags with maybe a couple of small gifts and a few business cards from BlogCon sponsors.
(Kleenex, Dyson, Rubbermaid, Nuffnang),
but just take a look at this!!
Lots of Kleenex goodies.....
What's in that white box over on the left?


This cute little pink piggy bank!
So that we can all start saving for next year's BlogCon, of course!



Meet and Greet progressed smoothly, people registered, received their name tags and came to our table for their swag, then headed into the conference room to find their assigned seats.


Bugger! There should be another photo right here!
After everyone was settled, there were hellos and short welcome speechesfrom the 5 lovely organisers, Karen, Veronica, Tina, Nicole and Brenda.
Then we played "People Bingo", which was a speed networking session designed to get us moving around the room asking questions until our sheet was completed. A good way to get everyone talking to everyone else.
Soon it was time for the first panel of speakers, so we all settled down and prepared to pay attention. 95% of women were paying attention to Twitter as well. Tweet, tweet, tweet.....
First Session: Creating Content.
A subject I wanted to know more about, since I'm often at a loss for words and fall back on using photos. This works well enough for me, but I feel I should be writing more and was looking for ideas on creating content.
Speakers were Kimberley, Liss, Corrie and Megan, moderated by Karen.
All spoke about how they'd decided to write about their subjects, how they'd found the passion that interested them the most, how that impacted on what they chose to write for each post.
Each spoke eloquently about their blogs and were interesting to listen to.
But, not as helpful to me as I'd hoped, since I don't have a passion for any particular thing which I can use to build consistent content.
I'll have to rely on random thoughts and subjects that occur to me at work or in the dead of night. And my photos.
Morning Tea time!
We all crossed the hall back into the cafe where we'd breakfasted and once more tables quickly filled with women chatting, laughing, eating, exchanging information and tweeting.
Groups did break up and re-converge, but I was still hesitant about joining in. I'm not good at conversation and it didn't seem right to join a group and say "hello, I'm River", then sit there like a bump on a log.
(Hey look at that, I linked myself!)
Still I was happy to listen to bits of conversation going on all around me and I did reply when people spoke to me. It seems it's the initiation of conversation that I'm unable to do.
Second Session: Social Media and You.
Moderator: Sarah; Speakers: Mark, Nikki, Nicole, Yvette.
I don't have a link for Mark Pollard, sorry.
Another very interesting session touching on bloggers using Facebook and Twitter as well as their blogs to get their messages out to people all over the world. For myself, this is not important as I'm not using my blog as a platform to promote a business or anything else.
But I could see how these two things, Facebook and Twitter, could be used to help things along for someone who has just started up a small business and wants to increase customers or just get the word out there in the quickest way possible.
Invented something that fills a need in a particular demographic?
Advertise it on your blog, then link the blog to Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter is a fast growing medium that many, many, people skim past daily. Create a page there that will catch people's eye, with a link back to your blog and business, then sit back and (hopefully) watch your business grow.
Lunch Time!
Hot food and dessert. I was so ready for some hot food. So much food in one day! I think I ate more food on Saturday then I would in three days at home.
After lunch came the My Story, My Blog Session.
Speakers were Tiff, (her speech made me cry a bit), Kelley, (again I cried a bit), Karen, Kim, Carly and Lori; all moderated, introduced and hugged by Veronica.
Each told us about themselves, what they do, what it was that strted them blogging and how the help, support and friendships they'd found online gave then incentive to keep going, to hang in there, to keep writing; they were no longer alone in their joys and sorrows, their troubles and their isolation.
The Building Your Blog Community was another session I was interested in, but by now, my neck and back were getting really uncomfortable, so I couldn't give this session the attention it deserved.
Moderated by Allison, the speakers, Catherine, Christie, Leigh and Mrs Woog, all gave tips on how to increase your blog traffic.
Keeping the content interesting and posting on a reasonably consistent basis were two of these. For example, there's no point in putting up a fabulous post and then not posting again for months. People will stop checking your blog and you might as well write your stuff in an exercise book and stuff it in a drawer. Having something in your post title that will draw people into reading it is another good idea.
Afternoon Tea!
More food!
I was glad I was wearing elastic waisted pants!
Crowdsourced Keynotes had several people read out their favourite posts from their own blogs. Most were funny, a couple were sad, all well worth listening to.
Finally it was time for Closing Remarks from Brenda, Veronica, Nicole, Tina and Karen.
Names were drawn for the door prizes and some lucky so-and-so won an I-Pad.
What a great prize!!
Door prizes were donated by several of the sponsors.
We all went to our rooms to freshen up for the pre-dinner drinks, which I didn't bother with, not being a drinker, then at 7pm we were back in the conference room for the dinner dance.
And what a difference!! These lovely women were dressed to dance, and dance they did!
They burned up the floor! What a sight, all those happy faces, letting go of all the stresses of the past two days.
I tried to take photos, but my camera flash sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, so I gave up.
Other cameras were busy, so I'm sure there are plenty of photos on other blogs to keep you all happy.

I did get a photo of Kelley's fantabulous green shoes,


and Veronica's tiara and veil.


Kim and Veronica
Close to 11pm, I was yawning my head off, so I left them all to it and went up to bed.
To be continued......








11 comments:

  1. What a day! It was so nice to meet you River. I love the keychain. Thanks so much for thinking of me. x

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  2. Wanderlust; you're welcome. I hope your wish to live in Aus comes true.

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  3. I had so much fun and I'm reliving it all through your posts!

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  4. Looks marvellous. And I really felt with you about your shyness issue.

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  5. Wow a full day and just remember, it took us ages to get you to actually start a blog. Bet you're glad you did.

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  6. Veronica; we're all reliving it through everyone's posts and it's wonderful reading all the different points of view.

    Elephant's Child; I'll probably be over the shyness by the fifth or sixth BlogCon....

    Baino; I am glad; I wouldn't have missed this forst ever AusBlogCon for anything!

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  7. Fabulous post.......with lots of pics and lots of links.
    well done!!!!

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  8. peskypixies; welcome to drifting and thank you. I hope I got everyone's link correct.

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  9. What a great summary! You remembered so much!
    I really enjoyed meeting you. It was nice we got to spend a little time together on Sunday. You feature on my blog post today.

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  10. River has an AMAZING memory Carly...

    And a pic of mah SHOES! YAY!

    As I said before MWAH MWAH MWAH!

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  11. Am glad you had a wonderful time at the conf.x

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