I'm slightly apprehensive about writing this post given the unnecessarily, heightened negativity that seems to have escalated over the past 48 hours, but I had always planned to do a TOWIB related post, so here goes!
Heading to the event alone, I had planned to meet outside the 'We Will Rock You' sign, hopefully meet a few friendly faces and head in more comfortably with a group. But after a nightmare train journey, which resulted in being stuck at Tonbridge for over half an hour, then my train being terminated a few stops early as it was so late, panicking over what tube line I now needed, I consequently ended up being 25 minutes late to an empty sign. Thus commenced Google mapping the venue and finally turning up to a room full to the brim of eager, chatty bloggers enjoying cups of tea and coffee with a cup cake and/or biscuit thrown in for deliciously good measure.
At 1pm, it was time for the PR panel question and answer session. I thought that this was a really good talk, it was extremely interesting and informative about how to approach PR's, and what to be wary of if you find yourself being approached by them, the dos and donts of emails and contact, little tips to help you stand out from the crowd as well as encouragement that those GFC figures that we are all so hung up on are not the be all and end all of a successful blog, hurrah! I've heard a few people complain about not being able to hear because they were too far back and others complaining due to other people talking the whole way through! The latter I think is easily rectified with good manners but maybe if microphones had been used then people wouldn't be so keen to start up their own conversations, as I can imagine not being able to hear being quite frustrating! But what we have to remember is that this is the first time that TOWIB has had this many people attend and this is only, what, the third event out of all of them. Surely we must all be sympathetic to trial and error and allow that there will be flaws, but this is a new event, it is organised single handedly and at no benefit to anyone other than us, the attendees.
We then had another chance to mingle some more, refill our coffee cups before Ebuzzing took to the stage. The woman originally meant to give the presentation was unable to for whatever reason, so a guy called Dave and another called Joel stepped up to the mark. I'll be honest, I didn't have a clue what Dave was going on about in his beautiful New Zealand accent for the first 10 minutes or so, and Hayley could see this on many-a-dazed and confused face, including my own, so interrupted to make sure that we were up to speed and that Dave would cover more relevant subject matter. Maybe a little rude and embarrassing for a slightly beetroot faced Dave, but it was a sure relief for us clueless cookies. It wasn't the most captivating of presentations, a tad long in my opinion and a lot of the talk was about monetising your blog which was better aimed at bigger blogs and a few figures he gave were disheartening to say the least, but to look on the bright side, it is something for us newby small time bloggers to potentially aspire to. It may not have been relevant for everyone, I do not think it especially was for me, particularly the monetisation parts, but Joel's part in particular I felt was beneficial to everybody with more advice on how generate more traffic, get your blog higher up the Google search engine ladder, the benefits of what he called 'evergreen' posts compared to topical posts in relation to generating long term traffic as opposed to short term reading. Plus, hats off to the guy for concluding with, 'You can't polish a turd.' Yes, this really was his final say on the matter.
Now, I won't lie to you, I was bloody starving by this point, I mean, I was picturing everybody as a scone kinda level of hungry and was close to breaking point at finding that the last scone had just been taken as I reached the front of the queue! I know it is a bit petty, but numbers were confirmed before the event and perhaps a little announcement wouldn't have gone amiss to let people know how many scones were too many scones or maybe I should just get over my food addiction! But I'm not bitter about this and I think that we are all old enough to get over the scones running out, right? (But, to the girl with 4 scones plus a cake on her plate, if you're reading this, I'm coming after you).
The last hour was by far the best and it was a shame that so many people missed out on Bloggers Q&A chat. It was an incredily interesting talk and a great way to get bloggers chatting and laughing. The atmosphere was brilliant and Louise from Get Lippie, Mina from Kings Road Rocks and Hayley again were fantastic and thorough at answering our questions, Louise in particular cracking me up more than once! And hats off to the girl who was brilliant enough to share and laugh at someone calling her 'uglier than a tramp's testicle'. Come on now, that's funny?
Overall, I had a brilliant day, I got to meet people I had spoken to over twitter and blogger alike, plus some brand spanking new beautiful faces, acquire a fabulous bunch of new blogs to read and learn a hell of a lot. Yes, the day was flawed, but give the girl a break! No, it wasn't for everybody, but it was all set out in black and white before we went and it was everything I expected it to be, which is perhaps why I wasn't disappointed. I'm gutted I can't make the London Lunch which would suit me down to the ground as there's not a lot I like more than socialising and stuffing my face, but hopefully there'll be another event soon so I can do a tad more mingling and broaden my limited blogging knowledge just that little bit more. In the mean time, thank you and congratulations to Hayley for an overall insightful and enjoyable day and hopefully you'll check out these wonderful ladies: