Saturday saw the first ever conference for parent (mummy) bloggers in the UK: CyberMummy. Set up by the indomitable Sian To, Jennifer Howze and Susanna Scott (aka @mummytips,@alphamummy/@jhowze and @amodernmother), this is a conference that looks set to grow exponentially over the coming year.
Sian, Jennifer and Susanna met at BlogHer last year in Chicago and decided that a celebration of mummy blogs is exactly what the UK’s bloggers needed. They make a winning combination: with expertise in PR, journalism and grassroots community building, these three mummy bloggers have Sian, Jennifer and Susanna met at BlogHer last year in Chicago and decided that a celebration of mummy blogs is exactly what the UK’s bloggers needed. They make a winning combination: with expertise in PR, journalism and grassroots community building, these three mummy bloggers have succeeded in bringing the mummy blogging community together in real life. Susanna also set up British Mummy Bloggers which acts as an online meeting place and support space when Twitter isn’t quite enough.succeeded in bringing the mummy blogging community together in real life. Susanna also set up British Mummy Bloggers which acts as an online meeting place and support space when Twitter isn’t quite enough.
So, along with 200 other mummies, I left my daughter with her daddy for the day and headed over to the Ibis Hotel, Earl’s Court for the conference. My husband wasn’t the only man to wail into the Interabyss about my abandonment. You can read the post of another CyberMummy widower here.
Sara and I were as nervous as the delegates, because one thing we’ve learned from our adventures in the blogosphere is that mummy bloggers are an honest, emotional crowd. We knew we were in for a big day, but beyond that we didn’t know what to expect.
It was incredible to see people hugging and crying when they met for the first time in meatspace. Many of the bloggers connect regularly with each other online via late night tweets or blog comments, but it was clearly quite overwhelming for some to meet their cyber-friends face to face. And whilst some approached the conference with trepidation – blogging being by its very nature quite a solitary activity – this fear was soon put aside when the realisation came that the connections made online can translate into very human warmth.
Themes for the day were ‘Creating Good Content‘, ‘Audience & Stats‘, ‘Libel and Legal Advice‘, ‘Site Design for your Blog‘, ‘Working with Brands and the tricky business of making money’, ‘SEO Basics and Twitter tips’, ‘Blog to Book Advice’ and then an incredible 1.5 hour session during which a number of bloggers stood up and read posts which had been picked out as the most memorable of the year.
The programme was a great primer on how to move your blog on to the next stage – many of the delegates have been blogging for less than a year, but their attendance at CyberMummy shows the level of their commitment. What may have started as a bid to reclaim some grey matter or to reach out and share or solve problems has turned into a major part of these women’s lives.
We thorougly enjoyed meeting some of the Ready for Ten writers for the first time: Rosie Scribble, Deb Carrots, Liz Jarvis, Jo Middleton, and the only daddy blogger in the whole place, Tim Atkinson. After the conference, our editor, Linda Jones, delivered the Ready for Ten quiz at the CyberMummy party which was enjoyed by all.
It was a long day with many emotional high points: arrival and registration (excitement), speed networking (increased excitement), lunch (themed discussion tables plus a healthy dose of gossip), the crowd-sourced keynote session (tears, laughter, sorrow) and the Ready for Ten pub quiz (hysteria).
There’s no doubt in my mind that CyberMummy 2011 will be a huge event and that 200 delegates could easily multiply to 500-800 by next year.
And judging by the amount of free booty the organisers were able to rustle up for attendees, I’d say that brands are only going to increase their interest in this influential group in that time.