The Problogger Event is on this Friday and if the Twittersphere is anything to go by, there is a little army of trepidative birdies in the nest (go on, admit it – you’re shitting your pants just a little bit. I know I am).
I get it. As a Problogger virgin myself, attending one of the biggest blogging conferences in Australia is an intimidating proposition, particularly if you are used to hiding behind a keyboard snuggling up in the soothing warmth of an anonymous blanket. All of a sudden you are expected to rock up and get your networking shesizzle ON and be INTERESTING. DYNAMIC. CHARMING. Even if that’s not your schtick.
When I was a kid I was insanely shy. PATHOLOGICALLY. My friends at Uni didn’t believe I was the doyenne of social awkwardness and called BS on me constantly. But it’s true. I had an epiphany when I lived in Canada, where I was forced to make friends because I had none of the old circles to fall back on – that everyone is having a similar experience. Every time I wonder “What does she think of me?”, that same person is probably looking at me, thinking, “What does she think of me?” I’ve learned to approach people I’m interested in talking to under the assumption that they too, are fellow travellers on the rocky path to social Shangri La.
There are a lot of inspiring people going to Problogger, whether they are keynoting, panelling or simply attending. I have a little list of about 10 people that I want to meet (oh alright then, it’s a little spreadsheet, are you happy now?), that seem like some dope-arse biatches (sorry, channelling Coolio there. Let’s get our shit together now, shall we?)
Yes. Better. They seem like a lovely bunch of smashing ladies, some of them are Problogger virgins, others not. Some have been on the blogging circuit for years (because bloggers do like a good excuse to meet up, exchange ideas over a coffee drip and clink glasses) but there’s always fresh blogging meat out there who would be happy to buy a ticket on your tram. Sorry, did I just refer to bloggers as meat? Pardon me. I’ll have to think of a better word to refer to myself. And write note to self that one doesn’t buy tickets on the tram anymore.
My five hot tips for surviving the social bit of Problogger (or any conference for that matter – knew my HR experience would come in handy one day):
1. Let go of expectations.
Sometimes a blogger who is daring and irreverent on their blog will come across as trepidative or unsure in person. I look at someone like John Cleese who is the most insanely funny bastard when acting, but in real life is softly spoken, even melancholy. They are both him – just two sides to the same coin. Conversely, blogs who don’t particularly float your boat may be written by people who end up being life-long friends and wiping your bum in the nursing home when you’re 90.
2. Don’t be intimidated.
Every member of the Blogerati started with 0 visits and the same number of Twitter/Facebook followers.
3. You’re there to learn.
OK. That might not be strictly true of the cocktail function, unless you want to know the difference between sparkling and beer (hey! We’ve all been there after a few sherbets), but if you don’t learn anything from the brilliant lineup at Problogger then you probably weren’t meant to be there in the first place.
4. Share the shesizzle.
If you’re the kind of person that everyone wants to be – charismatic and confident, with an army of blogging peeps – then take someone who looks lost amongst hundreds of screaming bloggers under your wing. Introduce them to some folks you know. You’ll have a friend for life. Just don’t, you know, eat them.
5. Remember that you are your own brand.
You have your own blogging style. Don’t be what you think other people want you to be. Be true to yourself, darlin’ (oh Shut Up, Marcia). If you’re a bit of a pottymouth (waaaaa? you’re looking at me?) then it’s hardly going to work if you prance over to Mr. Problogger and say, “Oh spiffing, darling chap, you really have put on a jolly good show here”. But I also don’t advise crowing, “This party is a fucking HOOT, BIATCH”. Remember that whilst you have your own personal brand, you still want people to talk to you.
Will I see you at Problogger?
If you’re a blogger and missed out on a live ticket, consider a Virtual Ticket.