Tuesday, 28 June 2011

CyberMummy 2011

The Brewery, EC1
Last Saturday I got up at Stupidly Early O’Clock, caught a train to London, battled against tube line closures and only just made it on time to a swishy EC1 conference venue. A very dapper feller in a top hat ushered me towards the entrance and my name badge with blog name was waiting for me at reception. When I arrived in the main conference space I was overwhelmed by a huge room of circular tables and a subtly lit stage with large boards displaying sponsors’ logos: This was big. There were over 400 delegates (and I estimated that only about four of them were men).
The number of UK mummy blogs has increased to around 2,500 in the last two years and the parent bloggers social network Brit Mums has a rapidly growing membership. The lead speaker was Sarah Brown, mum, campaigner, writer (and wife of the former prime minister), and the choice of seminars to attend throughout the day was mind boggling.

An array of big name brands dispensed free goodie bags within a market place of stalls at ‘CyberMummy Central’ and the spontaneous comments and thoughts of the social networking twitter-bugs were displayed on an ever rolling Twitter wall. In the Recharge Room you could get your hair or make up done, and enjoy a massage.

The conference opened with Lord Richard Allan, Facebook’s director of policy for the EU. I attended workshops on Marketing Your Blog, Working With Brands and Making Money, Blogging Essentials (Stats, SEO, RSS feeds, design) and Blog-Life Balance (time management). I scribbled furiously in a notebook (supplied free in one of the goody bags) and absorbed a phenomenal amount of information. I was inspired by Erica Douglas’s seminar and really enjoyed chatting to Antonia Chitty about the exciting new direction that I’m taking my life into.
I’m doing Erica and Antonia’s Become a Mumpreneur course at the moment and I’m loving it. It’s delivered in bite size chunks to my email inbox in a way that allows me to progress at my own pace without feeling overwhelmed. I already have sixteen ideas on how to create multiple income streams which will allow me to work flexibly from home, and I've only been on the course for a month. Erica now earns a full time income in part time hours whilst also studying full time. Antonia Chitty is a researcher, journalist, mumpreneur, and author and is full of amazing ideas to help me to create my own business as a freelance writer and much more.

I was initially worried that the event was going to be full of career driven super-mums who are way more confident than me. However, everyone I met agreed that although it felt a little odd to approach a complete stranger with “Hi I’m (Blogger) from  (My Mummy Blog) we were all in the same boat and it was actually quite exciting to meet bloggers in real life that I previously only ‘knew’ on line. I also found that even the most influential, charismatic, high profile bloggers were people, just like me, and not intimidating at all!

The day was rounded off by crowd sourced keynote speakers reading inspiring posts from their blogs. We were in tears at a mothers tale of childhood cancer, and then in fits of laughter at the witty words of others.

At the after party (sponsored by Three) I got tipsy quickly, ate crisps, mingled and left the building at the end of it all completely exhausted and laden with bags and bags of free give-away goodies.

The next day The Sunday Independent (26/06/11) reported,
“Forget Mumsnet... A new breed of “cybermums” is using the internet as an office, PR agency and campaign HQ to launch businesses and charities from their front room.”

Some bloggers were sponsored by brands to attend Cybermummy, but I bought my own ticket as a treat to myself. For the experience, the amount that I learned, the lovely people that I met and the bubble of inspiration and motivation that I floated home on, it was worth every penny.




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