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Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Tall Poppy Syndrome Alive and Well in the Land of Bloggers

A group of women got together to organise a Conference. They worked hard for 8 months, using their own money as deposits to assure conference venues etc were secured. These woman put a lot of time and effort into making the conference the best it could be. It was the first so sure there may have been some teething problems, maybe even some personality problems, after all get a group of diverse people together and things have ups and downs and ebbs and flows. All this was behind the scenes for people like me. The first I knew about the Conference was when my daughter told me there was a conference happening and I said, when, how do I get a ticket and booked right there and then.

I gave little thought to who was putting it together, what the content might be and focused on the fact I know had a chance to meet other bloggers 'in real life', mainly those I followed, but I was also looking forward to the opportunity to meet more. It didn't matter to me what 'niche' these bloggers fitted into, and really should there be a thing as a niche for most bloggers? I expect those that are using their blogs to make a living like to belong to a niche as that is their community and I suppose you could say their market.

Me, I just blog and hadn't really put much thought into falling into a niche, I am after all many things in life, as we all are. But some people have specific needs for their blogs and the communities they build - support, advice, friendship, the list goes on. But did it matter to me what 'niche' these bloggers fitted into - not in the least - they are bloggers and that was all that mattered.

Well the conference was held, and about 170-180 people attended. All but a handful were women, women of all ages, all shapes and sizes, but women who seemed excited to be there. Well that is what I thought anyway.

I don't know about you, but normally I lose interest or start to day dream/get sleepy when I attend a conference, no matter how much I want to be there, it is just the way my mind works. Not once at this conference did that happen. Personally I thought the content was good without a particular bias one way or the other. Sure there were mainly women on the panels and as speakers, but there were mainly women at the conference - so that sort of made sense. Of the group of women that put in all the hard work behind the scenes - a few of them were on panels and a couple spoke - but not all of them - they didn't take the spotlight - well not in my eyes anyway.

If I had any reservations about the conference, it was that I didn't get to meet and spend time with all the people I wanted to meet. But I take some responsibility for that - I am very uncomfortable in large crowds and tend to withdraw a little, but that is my issue and no one elses.

I came away from the conference looking forward to 2012 and hoping that the conference might be over 2 days to allow more mingle time, but so looking forward to what was to come. Where the conference could head in the future.

Now I don't twitter - it really doesn't interest me, and I only have time to follow a few blogs every day, I alternate to try and get to everyone on my list. So imagine my surprise when I started to hear rumblings of discontent about the conference - people being 'cliquey' , so called 'A' listers (what???) being snobby, the content being too 'mummy' blog focused (really??) and so it goes on.

Now there are going to be 2 conference next year to try and address the situation - what?? This is Australia - a vast land with not always cheap airfares. Sure I hope to attend both, I am lucky that my kids are grown and I have become more financially secure now, so probably not a big problem to me, but will all bloggers be in the same boat?

So I have 2 issues, why are we as bloggers not standing together to rejoice in the fact we have had the first conference - rather than now tearing the one we had apart at the seams. And secondly and this is the one that really sticks in my craw - Why are we as women (don't forget most attendees were women) not supporting each other and especially the women that put all the effort in. If you want to see change for next year, then put your hand up for the committee don't tear down the people who helped make it happen.

The fact is, the conference was born from the Aussie Mummy Bloggers team, so the people on the original committee were members of that group - after all would you not as the organiser choose people you already knew? Makes sense to me.

So how about we stop making the after conference cyberspace about the negative and instead make it about the positive. Shame to see that the 'tall poppy syndrome' is so alive and well and that most of the people trying to take them down are women ... a real shame and not a good look for the blogging community at all.


  1. How frustrating....and good for you to stand up and let them have it with both barrels blazing. It is always the way though...people work their butts off, everyone stands back and lets them, and then they spend the next little while ripping the whole thing apart. Get off your butt and participate if you don't like the way things are being done. Be a part of the solution not part of the problem.

  2. I see what you are saying, and I wasn't there so don't know what went down.

    The people I am hearing this from are not nasty nor spiteful. The words they are saying are THEIR experiences and disappointment. It is not ner, ner, sour grapes.
    And the A list cliquey thing I was told about (which to me does not sound like cliquiness, meerely some people who could use some social skills), were NOT the committee people.

    There also were a lot of people disappointed that Veronica did not get the chance to speak. At all. and she WAS one of the organisers.

    I'm not on twitter, this is from TALKING to people irl.

    And to be honest a lot of bloggers I know do not fit the mummy blogger mold, so there is room for two conferences.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly, Karen. There is no chance at all that I will be able to afford to go to two conferences (I'll barely be able to manage one). I'm really kind of sad about the rift that seems to have occurred (again, like you - I'm looking from the outside, not privvy to the details).

    I said to Kirrily - I'm going wherever you two are.

  4. Hi Madmother, I don't believe I said anyone was spiteful or nasty, and I am certainly not adverse to people having their own opinions or blogging or saying what they need to say.

    But I am surprised with comments like 'A' listers and the like as I do not believe anyone at the Conference acted like they were better than anyone else. As soon as words like that are used I see Tall Poppy Syndrome - sorry but that is just me.

    The conference itself was full on. it was hard to get time to talk to anyone - apart from lunch and morning and afternoon tea. Even at dinner the music was loud and there was lots of noise and yes it is hard to break into other people's conversations. I experienced that myself, but I certainly didn't feel that was because I was a lesser blogger - maybe that means my self esteem is good.

    I too was sorry that Veronica did not get to speak, and I don't know why except reading somewhere that they were running out of time, which we were, and I suppose if you are on the committee you get dropped rather than someone else. I hope that was the only reason. It was nice that Kim posted a link to Veronica's post (the one she was going to read).

    I believe, and this is only my opinion, that Brenda has narrowed the 2012 ABC to 'mummy' bloggers now because of the feedback received from other who felt that was the focus of this years conference. I am still bewildered by those type of statements.

    Sorry, long reply and my only concern about 2 conferences next year is whether both can be viable and I would hate to see either or both of them fail because Australia does not have enough bloggers to attend both.

    And you need to let me know which one you are going to so we can finally meet IRL - I was so disappointed that it didn't happen in 2011 - although the year is young, maybe somehow I will get up to the Sunshine State. And I am so jealous you get to talk to other bloggers IRL - being from WA I only know 2 other bloggers and that is my daughter and my mother. I can't remember meeting anyone else from WA at the conference. Although I know there were others there, I just didn't happen to bump into any of them.

  5. You didn't say nasty ot spiteful - but to me, anyone who tore down or commented about the festival purely due to envy or tall poppy abolition would have to be so in my opinion. That is why I commented that the people I have spoken to (as I said, am not on Twitter, so have no idea about any comments there) are not. Disappointed about some bits, yes. Snarky, no.

    I will be trying to attend the festival - again, it depends on timing. Am hoping Melissa from Suger Coat It will too. And a few others.

    I certainly think there is room for two, especially as AMB are aiming smaller, more focused.

  6. Hi Madmother, I hope you are right and that there is room for 2, and we better make sure the timing is right for you to attend. And Melissa at Suger Coat It too - she is another lady I want to meet - there are so many of them and meeting the few I did only whet my appetite more about meeting so many others.

  7. Hmmmm. I wholeheartedly agree with you, K. As the only other commenter here who attended the conference, I can see where you are coming from. And I too am bitterly disappointed with the post-fracturing that has gone on.

    I'm not going to comment further, either way, suffice to say I really hear what you are saying and very much appreciate the way you have said it.

  8. Thanks Being Me, it is nice to know I was not on my own with my feelings. xxx



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