Attending blogging conferences has been one of the smartest things I’ve done as a blogger. They allow me to feel connected with people who “get” this crazy need to blog, to learn about a craft that is anything but traditional, and to keep up with technology that moves at break-neck speed.
The very first blogging conference I attended was a biggie: BlogHer in 2010. When I’d heard about it, I emailed a local Ottawa blogger I didn’t really know very well and asked her if she wanted to attend with me. She hesitated. She’d been blogging for many years and had never attended a conference. But then she jumped on board. So there we were: Andrea, who had been blogging since 1999 and me, the newbie. That year, BlogHer hosted more than 2,500 bloggers and was in The Big Apple! We travelled together, shared a room together, and had a blast together. Since then, Andrea and I have been to a number of conferences together. She’s a great roomie and a great friend.
Last year, a new conference launched here in Ottawa for parent bloggers: BConnected. I attended last year, and I attended again this year too. In fact, it was just last week.
Even though it was a local event for me, I booked a hotel room so that I could stay and enjoy all of the after-hours events and maximize the time I would have to connect with everyone. Because, that’s what it really comes down to. Over the years, I’ve titled conference posts as “School for Bloggers,” but really it’s more about connecting than “getting schooled.”
I really value this community of fellow bloggers. I’ve been the recipient of many tips, lessons, and support from many smart, successful individuals. They’ve been generous with me, and given freely of their time and experience.
More recently, I’ve started to speak at conferences. It feels a bit strange since I’m not a “big name blogger,” but I’m always honoured and see it as a way to pay-it-forward, so to speak. (Generally, speakers are not paid at these conferences, so they’re really there because they want to be there. And that’s exactly why I was at BConnected.)
However, there’s no debate in my mind that being connected to my blogging community matters. And how much? To the moon and back, my friends … to the moon and back.