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.