Blogging In The Afterglow…3 Things I Learned At PB Event

blogging-quotes-1And so…it’s been 2 weeks already since I headed down the highway to this year’s ProBlogger Training Event. Each year, the ProBlogger team goes above and beyond to provide inspiration and technical training to Australia’s blog and online business communities. It’s a massive, vibrant, exciting occasion;  everyone walks away with new friends and a to-do list a mile long!

But it wasn’t all selfies and canapes for me this year (although the macarons were outstanding!).  I had a brilliant time and learned a lot, but I also got a glimpse into a shady undercurrent that flows beneath that river of networking smiles.

Here are 3 things I learned at this year’s training event that surprised me …

1. Not everyone likes bloggers

One of the risks of spending the weekend with highly motivated people who share your common interest is that it gives you the false impression that anyone outside of that room gives a damn about your blog! I got something of a ‘reality check’ sitting outside at breakfast one morning.

Queue conversation between a group of older golfer types who were guests at the resort:

“So, why are all these women here?”

“Blogger conference apparently.”

“A what???”

“Blogger conference.”

“What, this stuff? [Insert hand gesture involving tapping on a mobile phone]”

“Yep, apparently.”

“So, what do they do? Day One: Taking Selfies?”

[Insert raucous laughter]

“Day Two: Sharing with people who don’t care.”

[Oh, the laughter!]

The ‘general public’ are not well informed about what blogging really IS or what bloggers really DO.  In fact, some of them very much DISLIKE bloggers – a perspective I always find hard to understand. Don’t like? Don’t read! But I guess the Interwebs don’t always work that way.

Comedian Kitty Flanagan is another anti-blogger. She’s touring Australia with her latest stand up show at the moment, and had this to say in a recent interview for BMag

“Everyone has a blog… but not everybody should,” she says. “The reason I read blogs is the same reason I watch reality television, it’s just fun to shout at. I’ll watch 10 minutes of The Bachelor and think, ‘well, I’m a superior human being’. I feel like a winner.”

So, pouring your heart and soul into a blog post has no more credibility for some people than a televised scrag fight over roses. I guess it’s still taking awhile for some people to understand the hugley varied content available in the blogosphere, where you can actually find some pretty darn impressive writing (along with the dodgy stuff).

If you’re part of the blog community, your newsfeeds this week will have been awash with people inspired to blog more, analyse more, monetise more and generally build, grow and achieve their blog/business dreams. It’s heady stuff to behold and I sincerely hope all these PB-resolutions last a lot longer than my New Year’s ones usually do.

But whilst WE know that blogging is about impressive content, smart marketing solutions and creative technical innovations, a lot of THEM still think bloggers are bored housewives taking selfies in their sewing room. Which kind of brings me to my next point…

2. Not all bloggers like each other

As a predominantly female crowd (and seriously, we’re talking maybe 20 men out of 700 delegates) there was some incredible nurturing, support and sharing to be found at PB Event. Sadly there was also exclusion, competition and bitching.  I witnessed several incidents last weekend involving old school, high school gossip and backstabbing.  If women want to step up and be noticed by leading brands, developers, agencies and middle aged golfers, they need to leave high school behind them. This is blogging, people, not parliament. Let’s play nice.

B_mFYu5UIAEq2arIn another moment of levity and optimism at PB Event, the drawcard keynote speaker, uber blogger Heather ‘Dooce’ Armstrong, declared personal blogging dead now that monetisation has become the norm. It was Derrida all over again. The room fell silent whilst Twitter lit up like a glow stick. As a blog idol of many, Heather’s message was not quite what the more ambitious bloggers in the room wanted to hear.

3. I don’t want to change much about my blog, and that’s OK

So, where does all this leave those of us who love blogging, but aren’t necessarily all that ambitious? I’m grateful to Melissa at Hugzilla blog who wrote one of the most refreshing post-ProBlogger posts this week.  She declared it AOK to embrace you’re inner ‘loser’ and agree NOT to make a million dollars from your blog.  When asked to reflect on her ‘why’; that is, her raison d’etre blog-wise, she said…

“After two long days of inspiration and insight, my answer is still the same as it ever was: because I want to write stupid shit that makes my friends laugh.”

I heaved a sigh of relief when I read Melissa’s post. I DO get paid to write for a living, and I want to be taken seriously as a writer, but 99% of that happens away from This Charming Mum. In the words of Madonna (to whom I often turn for sage advice) “This used to be my playground”. As a housebound freelance writer/editor, This Charming Mum is the ‘Friday night drinks’ to my virtual office. I use it to learn more about online writing, sure, but mostly I use it to write stuff that doesn’t need anyone else’s sign off.

Let’s face it, I’m a melancholy introvert with a Morrissey fetish. I NEED someone to remind me to lighten up occasionally and thankfully I got that little shake up at this year’s PB. I never want to be taking my blog so seriously that it leads to political tension between me and other bloggers; haters gonna hate, but ain’t nobody got time for that! I’ll remain fascinated by SEO and analytics and engagement and algorithms, but only when I have my professional hat on.

A professional hat.

A professional hat.

So, more power to those of you striving to turn your blogs into businesses. I will read your shiny blogs and toast your success! Some of you are destined to truly sparkle, others will just be mocked by cynical golf guys.

And if you ever need some down time from all that sparkle and shine, I can probably recommend a good book…

 

Did you attend this year’s PB Event?
What was the best moment for you?
Did I meet you?
(If I was holding a glass of wine at the time
you may need to re-introduce yourself.)

16 comments for “Blogging In The Afterglow…3 Things I Learned At PB Event

  1. August 28, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Oh LOL to the olds throwing shade at bloggers! A bit disappointed in Kitty though, I think she is hilarious in general but obviously off the mark there (in my clearly unbiased opinion…) Sadly, I missed Heather’s now infamous comments on blogging and am kicking myself because it became the talk of the entire event. Can’t wait until next year, and hopefully we will have more than a brief bump-into at the loos.

    • This Charming Mum
      August 28, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      Yeah, clearly Kitty is just trying to stir (maybe…) – I generally like her too. This year’s event was just so different from last year for me – both valuable in different ways, but much more controversy this year! I’ll be back next time though, for sure.

  2. August 28, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Oh and big thanks for sharing my post!

    • This Charming Mum
      August 28, 2015 at 10:54 pm

      My pleasure!

  3. August 28, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    This is great. I loved my first PB and will gladly return. Met some excellent folks in person (yourself included) and took some hints and ideas away. I didn’t feel particularly inspired, or impassionated (it’s a word) or whatever, but I felt that nice little lift to keep on going. Particularly with Darren’s ‘pivot’ talk. The better food, by the way was upstairs at the ‘Special peoples’ room. I ate there with my vegetarian partner and met good people, including a young stunt woman blogger. Now there’s a niche! As for Kitty Flanagan, these days I think she really aims for the lowest common denominator. The Sketch Show was her best stuff. I like taking my blog seriously, just not myself too much. I counted 16 men on the attendees list, I had the pleasure of chatting with one in front of the rugby after the last session. I don’t even like rugby, but was happy for some bro time :)

    • This Charming Mum
      August 30, 2015 at 6:17 pm

      Ha ha, bro time must have been pretty special. I’ve heard many great things about the ‘special’ food actually. I’m tempted to sign up for that next year, just for a change of scene :) It was good to meet you too.

  4. August 29, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Hi Lara, great post. I was also shocked when I first came across #2 – up til then I thought all bloggers were wonderful! The other thing I’ve learned is that just because I like somebody’s blog doesn’t mean I’ll like them IRL, and vice versa. It’s just the way life is x

    • This Charming Mum
      August 30, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      Yeah, I think I was living in a little bubble thinking all bloggers are lovely and friendly! Most of them are, of course, and you can’t be everyone’s best friend can you? It’s always a strange thing meeting other blogger when you’ve had a ‘virtual’ friendship for awhile.

  5. September 4, 2015 at 9:58 am

    I didn’t go to ProBlogger (I live in Perth it is just too darn expensive with airfares and accommodation added on). But I love reading all the posts about it and getting a bit of inspiration.
    I like how you said it is your blog and you will continue on your way. I think if we all try to follow the formula to monitorise etc. then there will be nothing unique about any of our blogs and then no one will want to read them.

    • This Charming Mum
      September 11, 2015 at 2:10 am

      That’s right. We can’t all be doing the same thing, competing for the same dollars and still be totally unique and original! But there is room for lots of different voices and approaches – as long as everyone plays nice!

  6. September 4, 2015 at 11:21 am

    No you didn’t meet me because I was noticeably absent and the whole event was somewhat less crumpety for it. From all the reports coming out – crumpet blogging was a much neglected topic! Next year I propose a session on How to Crumpetize Your Blog. Meanwhile Moz was an A Grade crumpet back in the day wasn’t he?

    • This Charming Mum
      September 11, 2015 at 2:09 am

      Blog Crumpetization 101 is definitely going in my conference feedback as a suggestion for next year! There’s talk of Todd Sampson making an appearance in 2016 so, maybe…

  7. September 4, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Love this! What kind of high school moments did you come across? Sadly it happens everywhere and I am totally in Melissa’s court too, I have no interest in making money, in fact writing sponsored posts for money makes me cringe! Not because I disagree with anyone who does but I would totally feel like I was back in English class writing an essay about Romeo and Juliet! I’m awkward at writing set topics and would be dreadful at it. Props to those who can do it and do it well!

    • This Charming Mum
      September 11, 2015 at 2:08 am

      Ha ha, love the idea of being forced to write the right thing ‘for the teacher’. I’ve done several sponsored posts and that’s all fine, and some people can do them very well. But I’m certainly not prioritizing the money over the fun of writing anymore.

  8. September 5, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Good wrap up Lara and I loved Melissa’s post too. I’ve come to an acceptance around my blog and how it is for the next little while anyway and I know that means not making money or taking anything too seriously.

    • This Charming Mum
      September 11, 2015 at 2:06 am

      Your blog is beautiful, and always provides me food for thought. That’s a valuable outcome in itself.

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