This past weekend, I attended the 7th annual Blogging While Brown conference at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. It was the second year in a row that this important conference came to New York City. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend last year as well as this time around.
Being that this was my second time attending, I felt different motivations for me going this time. Last time, I was more focused on the how’s and why’s of blogging, and how to step up my profile as a proficient blogger. I took notes furiously, and still found time to tweet like a mad man. This year, for me it was more about getting insight into the business side of blogging. This resulted in a modified approach. I spent more time listening intently, and selectively mentioning key happenings with my social media presences. Networking was a bigger priority this time, especially considering that cupcakes were involved. *Smiling* But, in all seriousness, I met and had great conversations with bloggers from different parts of the country, and different niches.
The spirit of collaboration was especially strong this year. In a marked difference from last year, the conferences opening panel started with an impromptu session gathering bloggers into groups to come up with names, mottos, and mission statements. Girls Compete Women Collaborate made things interesting, and compelled many an attendant to think on their feet about the commonalities of their blogs regardless of subject matter.
This would set the tone for Saturday, where it would be a day of learning. There were sessions on numerous topics, from coding to learning a new tool called Triberr. This indeed was a long day of picking up new concepts, and figuring out better ways to do what many of us bloggers are already doing. I could bore you with the intricate details of the information that was discussed over the weekend, but I would much prefer to talk about the experience itself for the purposes of this post. Because I was familiar with the event, I felt the need to change up my approach. I was more sparing in my updates via phone, and more participatory in conversations in the hallways, the small breaks between sessions, the courtyard during lunch, etc. The small changes like this added up to an experience that was different from the first time for me.
Also, one of the coolest things about the whole weekend, was that there wasn’t a situation where I felt apprehensive. There is always the possibility that the digital rapport you have with other bloggers may not translate to real life, but this was not the case here.
In processing all that I heard and experienced over the Friday and Saturday, I came away with two strong points. One, I will have to recalibrate some of my goals, and figure out what is next for this blog, and my writing in general. Secondly, I will be thinking about ways that I can realistically move on some of the ideas that hit me in order to do so. I suppose the timing of the conference, and the fact that 2014 is half over intersect to make a person consider what the next move can or should be. All in all, I have to say that I enjoyed myself, and learned a number of things that will take some time to implement. Peace to everyone I met, thanks for sharing all of your stories, and lets all continue to blog hard about our respective topics.