Monday, 14 May 2012

Cybher - my musings

This weekend, thanks to my lovely sponsors DYLON, I attended Cybher - the UK's first all genre blogger conference for females.

Due to absolute technology failure on the day (both my phone and my ipad went loopy with the excitement of it all) I was unable to share many thoughts via the medium of Twitter.  So instead, I'm writing them down here so I have a record of my time and a reference to come back to so I can keep focused on what's important to me.

Firstly, I think Sian did a monumental job - what a Herculean task.  Her and her team have every right to feel proud.

Secondly, what I enjoyed most was the chance to meet up with blogging friends old and new.  To finally meet in the flesh people I've spoken to for donkey's on Twitter.  People who have shared their highs and lows through their blog.

It may seem odd that I shared a room with someone I'd never even met before, but Amanda felt like a dear friend, and now we've met in person I'm sure we'll remain close friends in real life.

I found the talks from Di Coke (competitions and the law) fascinating and really interesting.  The presentation by A Thrifty Mrs on incorporating money-saving into your blog was also very entertaining and her personality shone through.

However, I was let a little deflated by some of the sessions.  I guess it's the world we're in now but there seemed to be a fair amount of doom and gloom - you can't do this; you mustn't do this; be careful if you do that; don't do this or you'll get your ass sued...

I also found the idea that not everyone can blog a little arrogant.  I strongly disagree - the tools are there, they are freely available to anyone and everyone who wants to write a blog.  True, not everyone can write an award-winning blog, a blog that will be top of the charts or a blog that will give them commercial success, fame and fortune.  But that makes assumptions about an individual's motivation to blog.

We all have different reasons for doing what we do.  Yes it takes hard work, effort and skill to come up with entertaining, engaging and regular new material, but it doesn't mean anyone can't try.  If we perpetuate the idea that bloggers are an elite bunch then how are we to encourage and motivate the next new wave of blog writers?

There was also a lot of talk about finding your 'niche'.  I agree that to be top of your game and achieve sucess you do need to be focused and stand out from the crowd, but again this is making assumptions that that's what we all aspire to.  The reality is there are millions of blogs out there in cyberspace - how many niches are there?  Yes, I could write a blog about owning a smelly Labrador with an underactive thyroid - I may even win an award for the best blog about a smelly Labrador with an underactive thyroid - but how dull would that be?

I am more than one thing.  I am mother; partner; friend; crafter; thrifter.  I wear clothes; I eat; I drink; I go out; I buy stuff; I do stuff.  That is me and that's what I write about.  A blogger's real USP is their self.  

I write my blog because I enjoy it.  It's fun.  I don't want to lose sight of that.  I want to enjoy the fantastic benefits of being part of a motivating; supportive and diverse community.  I want to continue to write with integrity; fairness and passion about what interests me.  To support brands I respect and small businesses I admire.  To make more friends and meet like-minded people.  Above all, to not get hung up on the competitiveness and the politics.

Keep calm and carry on blogging!


  1. I know I didn't go - but wholeheartedly agree! I think some have become far too serious about blogging. It's supposed to be fun, after all.

    1. I don't want to sound negative, it WAS a fabulous weekend...BUT... really yes it is meant to be fun :0) x

    2. Oh definitely! I was inspired and excited just from following the hashtag on Twitter :D I really hope there's another next year!!!

  2. Thanks for mentioning my presentation - I'm glad you found it useful! It was great to finally meet you too.... wonderful trousers!

    I did feel that some people at the event did seem to be a little snobby about who should and shouldn't be allowed to blog. The joy of blogging for me is that I CAN offer useful advice and help, but also have a bit of a ramble about my latest prizes without worrying someone will criticise my writing style. And yes, maybe the main sessions could have focussed a little more on the positive side of blogging.... I loved hearing about @girlonetrack and @nataliemlue's experiences of the press and trolls, but it did panic me a little!

    I did have a fabulous day though - so nice to talk to real people instead of a little square box on Twitter...

    1. I had a fabulous day too, great to finally meet you in person.

      I will definitely be changing my avatar - next job on my list. So many people said it didn't look like me, i was surprised!

      Loved your session and overheard lots of people saying how useful it was.

  3. I came away feeling recharged and inspired, am guessing it really depends on which sessions you were in! Someone on a panel made precisely that point about yourself being your usp though, think it might have been Kerry Jean lister.

    Blogging can be whatever you want it to be. I'm serious about it, and it's fun, it can be both. I do think the awards can detract from it all, as well as adding that little something.

    1. Yes you're right, there were several sessions I was gutted to miss, but the timings didn't work out.

      Maybe I missed Kerry's comment - some people were intent on nattering all the way through people's presentations which was irritating and not a little bit rude!

      I agree, blogging can be whatever you want it to be - there's no right or wrong way.

      But most of all, it was lovely to see you again and thanks for the snuggles with Tiger Boy x

  4. I had a fab time at Cybher and so so glad I overcame my fears and was a speaker at the Ask a blogger session in the afternoon.

    I came away feeling inspired and refreshed and definitely made some new friends.

    I've decided my voice is my niche and I'm gonna keep on being me :-)

    1. There is only one of you :0)

      It must have felt so empowering to speak, especially if you were nervous about doing it. Very brave!

      I too made new friends and it was a top weekend! x

  5. It was so lovely to see you there honey. I had a great time. I think as long as you blog for yourself it'll all fall into place. Hugs xx

  6. Couldn't agree more about the negativity, sad that so many bloggers are focused on watching their backs and trying to eek out a living that we're missing the point of why most of us started this lark in the first instance, for me it's a way of keeping a record of my life and achievements, to show that although I may not have a job I'm still a worthy human being that has lots to contribute.

    Lush to see you there honey. xx

  7. It was really ace to meet you! And like you, I want to have fun and don't want to constrain myself to a single 'niche'.

    Love and virtual hugs,

    Ruth xxx

  8. Really well put. I blog because I love to write. If I don't have a brilliant idea (or an interesting one, at the least) I don't force myself to publish. Mine started out as a reflection of my children as they grew and has expanded a bit, but really, there isn't more of a niche than what I have.

    Overall, I found a little inspiration as well as getting some needed affirmation that I'm ok with where I am. Lovely to meet you this weekend!

  9. Awh, was lovely to room with you. It didnt feel like we had just met in real life at all. That photograph is so funny!

    I think the main thing I got out of it, was to remember why I did it, and that is for my family, and to go my own way. I too have written it down, as I think it really easy to lose site of it.