It’s a rum ol’ game, this blogging.
Putting yourself out there, (selected) warts and all, but also holding back a little. Every blogger has their own limits regarding what they’re prepared to share and what they keep private, and unless I missed the memo (entirely possible – I miss a lot of memos, including the one that says your sentences shouldn’t be nine clauses long), nobody has yet figured out the definitive answer about exactly how open a blogger should be.
(Disclaimer: the photos in this post are rubbish: I was ill, OK?)
One of the many things that I like about blogging is… bloggers. Sure, there are probably some obnoxious ones out there somewhere*, but the ones I’ve met have almost all been interesting, witty, and creative. Several have become real-life friends (you know who you are), whilst others are people-whom-I-know-would-be-proper-friends-if-they-didn’t-inconsiderately-live-hundreds/thousands-of-miles-away.
Anyway on Saturday, I went to Blogfest in London. Muchly hurrah! A whole auditorium full of bloggers! I went with my fine friend Selma and her lovely friend Nicki. Their entertaining company distracted me from the fact that I was facing an entire train journey with no suitable knitting/crochet projects to work on. (The big-etc-etc-etc-crochet-house-project is currently so large that I would’ve needed to have bought it a separate seat, and quite possibly a selection of snacks from the buffet car as well, so I left it at home, the greedy blighter.)
Now, I’m not a fan of London. At all. Even slightly. So it takes a lot to lure me in, but this is the third year on the trot that I’ve been to Blogfest. How to describe the event? Well, it’s a day-long mix of big-name speakers talking about blog-relevant themes such as privacy, plus smaller workshops on specific and practical bloggy topics. Also, there was a great deal of food.
And there was free gin.
There was also an atmosphere that I can only describe with the cliché of ‘buzzing’, although possibly the buzz was just tinnitus brought on by the Dickensian lurgy. And given that the event was run by Mumsnet, the attendees comprised a disproportionate number of mothers happily hysterical at the joy/confusion of escaping nappy-changing for an entire day.
Anyway, the talks. May I just at this point write the words ‘I love Sandi Toksvig’? Also, we were visited on a giant overhead screen by the magnificent Margaret Atwood (4.45am her time, hence her apparent need for a thick coat and a large coffee), although it was frustratingly difficult to hear a word she said due to wonky technology. Still, she smiled a lot and appeared to be enjoying listening to the panel discussion that was going on amongst the ants sitting below her giant head.
Meanwhile, Fi Glover chaired with panache, and journalist Robert Crampton gave the useful advice that it’s OK to write about your nearest and dearest as long as you are the one who crawls out of the anecdote looking like a fool. And did I mention that David Baddiel, Meera Syal and Lionel Shriver spoke too? Meanwhile, Shappi Khorsandi winced at memories of her online over-sharing:-
These big-name talks definitely provided thought-provoking entertainment more than practical tips, but I have no problem with being entertained. Where we got down to brass tacks was in the smaller workshops. Film director Mike Figgis taught us all about videoing ourselves, and kept it real for those of us not blessed with Hollywood budgets. Hayley Willis gave a slightly rambling but still worthwhile talk on photographic techniques: for example, rather than ramping up the saturation on your photos, try pulling back the black to make your colours ‘pop’. (Yes, I know that my photos with this post are rubbish: I was ILL.)
And of course whilst all this was going on, we were meeting each other. Being nosy, I was desperately curious about everyone else’s blogs. I had a good chat with Kitchen Counter Culture, and I can also inform you that HannahSpannah is thoroughly lovely and friendly.
And at the end, it was time for gin (a Mumsnet tradition), and also Prosecco, and also much chatter. Happy days.
- Sudden scary realization: maybe if you don’t know any obnoxious bloggers, that means that you are the obnoxious blogger…