Why I Hated Blissdom And Can’t Wait To Go Again

Blissdom Canada 2013 #shop 1

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I knew I’d be a little out of my comfort zone, attending Blissdom Canada -the big conference for women in social media in Canada. I didn’t know anyone. I don’t like new situations where I don’t know anyone. The first night there was the new comers meet up, at 6. Since I was commuting for the first two days, and not sure how long the drive would take I got there early and had to wait for things to really get started. Awkward. I did meet a few people, and tried my best to be friendly, and meet some new people. I headed home around 9, and was home by 10 or so, but I felt really tired. I didn’t sleep well, it was a night of nervous dreams and I kept thinking about my to-do list in the morning. I woke up and spent about an hour working on making more business cards because I wasn’t able to get them printed in time. I also had to finish packing, since I’d booked a room at the conference hotel that night. Oh the pressure of wearing something cute and blogger-ish. I got there late and started attending the sessions. I didn’t really like them too much. I was really looking for some practical learning about how to be a better blogger and grow my blog. I felt like the panels and speakers were just giving pep talks to everyone. It was kind of like hanging out with a bunch of cheerleaders. The big topic of the day was the Social Etiquette panel discussion, sponsored by Tetley Tea and Pure Via Sweetener.

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I did enjoy elements of it, and it’s always an amazing thing when people are willing to share their stories, and be vulnerable. But, I did feel like it wasn’t too relevant to me. The main topic was being nice on-line, not saying mean things, and realizing the damage that can be done with social media.

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I’m not generally a journal type blogger, I don’t generally comment about current events on my blog. I felt like the main point was to be kind, but felt like I was kind already. Thanks, but I’m good. Good message, but preaching to the choir. That night there was another big party, but it seemed like everyone had found their group to hang out with. I’m not a big drinker, and I felt tired. I did connect with one new friend, and chatting with her and hearing her story was the highlight of the day-thanks Natalie. 🙂 I went to bed that night at the hotel with mixed feelings. I felt like I’d paid a lot to be at the conference and really wanted to get out of it all I could, but I was struggling with some negative feelings and not sure if I would ever attend a Blissdom Canada again.

The next day started off with small micro-sessions, where a table of about 10 people had a chance to learn from an expert about something very specific for a half an hour. There were three of these and I felt like a learned a lot. This was the highlight of the conference so far for me. I felt like I was finally learning something I could really apply when I got home. I also had a few great connections that day with some bloggers in my niche -another one of my goals for the weekend -thanks Angie and Jo-Anna. One of those connections was made in the Collective Bias Suite. Tetley and Pure Via Sweetener supplied lovely tea and sweetener, and a relaxing environment for conference attendees to connect with one another. Over tea I talked with a fellow blogger about ideas on how to make my blog better.

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The afternoon was spent in a hands-on workshop. There were three different session tracks throughout the conference: work, create, and change. I’d been attending work all weekend, so I kept going with that track. The workshop began with the all too familiar message of the weekend, that we could indeed do anything we set our minds to. But let’s just say I was taking it all with a grain of salt, like I had for the whole conference. I started working on my workbook about what my goals for Life is a Party are for the next year, or two. Putting pen to paper made me really ponder if I could indeed do it. I’d been to another conference a few weeks ago, and filled with the question in my mind and heart of “is my blog really good enough to turn into a profitable business?” but as I worked through this conference my focus was shifting from am I good enough to what must I do to be successful, to make it good enough? Throughout the workshop I felt like I wanted to say to the facilitators –mombiz.com, you’re telling everyone they can be successful, and they can’t. But, as I pondered it more and more, I started to believe that maybe everyone could be successful if they were willing to work hard enough. Which meant, I could be successful if I worked hard enough. I loved that the workshop forced me to think about what steps I needed to take to get where I want to be. One of the facilitators even challenged me to do one of the first steps when I got home and let her know. She said something else to the whole group that really struck me, it was “you deserve success as much as anyone else.” I felt filled with hope.

The final session of the day was with Drew Dudley . It took on the familiar pep talk feel, but this time, partly because the speaker was so gifted, I starting believing it. He talked about leadership and kindness, and instead of thinking “that’s great, but I’m good”, I felt challenged this time. Maybe I’m not as kind as I think I am. Am I really kind when no one is looking? By the end of the session, the organizers of the conference took the stage with tears in their eyes. They said that they set out to focus on helping to create a kinder community. I got it. Those things that I felt un-interested in, and disappointed in because they weren’t the blogging skills that I was looking for that first day, those things that I thought I understood already, or didn’t need to hear, I finally got, heard, and understood. I understood and respected that they wanted to do more than send us away with a better understanding of SEO, they wanted to send us away believing in ourselves, and committed to being kinder, better people. Thanks Blissdom Canada, I was reluctant and resistant to your message at first, now I’m grateful for it.

This post is linked up at Tatertots and Jello’s Link Party Palooza, and Craftberry Bush’s Inspiration Gallery.

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Comments

  1. Dannyelle, I really appreciated meeting you & chatting with you on Thursday night. I had HUGE expectations about this conference, and I was definitely let down a bit. It’s easy to be everyone’s BFF on twitter when there are no physical groups of ppl standing around, but IRL, most of the ‘seasoned pros’ know each other, like each other, & have their own thing going on. But, I did end up connecting with some super amazing ladies, also their first time. We hit it off, and it felt good. (I came across this article randomly yesterday & have read it about 10x. http://www.incourage.me/2012/06/youre-right-christian-women-and-incourage-writers-arent-immune-from-cliques.html)
    Saturday was definitely THE day for me, too – the sessions were great. I met an established blogger/twitter friend who was genuinely pleased to chat with me in person, and I won’t lie, it was flattering. But the last business session, I felt, was truly what made my wknd worth the conference fee. I’m apparently writing my own post on yours. And I just wanted to say that it was really lovely to meet you at the beginning, you really made an impression on me, & I’m sorry that we didn’t connect again! (I had sooo many moments of wandering the halls, waiting for a face that I recognized to latch onto…)

  2. Thank you for your honesty. Like you, I attended Blissdom and was completely out of my element. i arrived and immediately felt that everyone KNEW everyone there already and I felt like an outsider. The first day’s sessions were a waste of my time (I felt) but I tried to stay positive…. I didn’t really want to attend the party that night. I decided to put out a reuqest to see if anyone was interested in an evening of supper and quiet conversation. To my delight, someone answered 🙂 I ended up at that party – thankfully – and had a good time. I’m still marinating about the whole experience, but I too will be back next year.

  3. There were parts of Blissdom that I didn’t particularly enjoy and other parts that I did like. Last year I completely hated the conference because I found it to be very clickly,this year it wasn’t as bad, but still there are groups of people that are not to welcoming to newcomers. Two out of the three microsessions I found to be fabulous, the third one not so much. That was my fault, I should have not signed up for something I already knew. The final workshop we were asked for that ah-ha moment, I did not have one. I loved the closing remarks, Drew was a very good speaker. Overall I am not sure of I will go next year because of the cost and only finding seventy percent of the conference relevant to me. This years conference was far better organized and ran much smoother, kudos to the organizers.

  4. Thanks Jenn, glad there were some really good highlights for you too. I was reminded as I wrote that things that are good for us aren’t always fun, like getting out of our comfort zone. Thnaks for sharing the article link, I’ll have a look. 😉

  5. Dannyelle, thank you for your candor in this post. I think it’s awesome that you were able to turn around your experience and focus on the positives that you did take away! I’m glad that BlissDom has introduced me to people like yourself who have different blogs and different personalities than I do, so I can continue to learn from you long after BlissDom is finished!

  6. Dannyelle – thank you for your honest post. I attended Blog Podium (where I discovered your blog through the program) and contemplated attending Blissdom but due to the cost of two conferences (both financial and being away from the family on weekend) made it a tough choice. In the end, I chose Blog Podium and felt renewed and that the micro sessions were helpful and informative. Like you describe your experience at Blissdom being a bit overwhelming, I felt the same way at Blog Podium. I felt like everyone already knew each other and I was feeling out of my element. That being said, I did push myself and am happy for the experience. Would you recommend Blissdom over Blog Podium? Do they even compare?

    Thanks again for your honesty.

  7. Hi Beth-Anne
    They were very different. I went with a friend to BlogPodium and I know that made it a lot easier for me. I think the brands represented at BlogPodium were a much better fit for me. BlogPodium is just way more specific in terms of niche. I worried I wasn’t designer-y enough, but I felt right at home. I wish there had been a niche meet-up at Blissdom, there were lots and lots of mommy bloggers there, which made me feel a little out of my element too. Blissdom is much bigger, more people, more brands, more swag, just more. By the end of Blissdom I really appreciated that they wanted their impact to go beyond just skills to real social impact. Hard to choose one over the other -it really depends on what you’re looking for.
    Thanks so much for your comment, Dannyelle

  8. Dannyelle,

    Just so you know…You’re now on a different path than you were before you decided to start asking yourself these questions about whether or not you can be successful. If you had simply kept believing that “some blogs can’t turn into profitable businesses” and that “I can’t turn my blog into a successful business,” then you know what? You’re right! You can’t and won’t. But now, things have changed since you’ve shifted that mindset and begun to ask the question: “What must I do to create a profitable business from my blog?”

    Your mindset is an incredibly powerful business success tool. How will you choose to wield it?

    I said this to you: “You deserve success as much as anyone else.”

    AND I STAND BEHIND IT!

    Thanks for sharing your story. It’s clear you were uncomfortable but that you were willing to deal with that and keep moving forward. That takes a lot of courage that most people don’t have.

    With respect and wishing you the success you deserve,

    Lara (Co-founder of MomBiz.com and BlissDom Canada Business Workshop Facilitator)

  9. Dannyelle – Thank you for the feedback. Even though Blog Podium was very “designer-y” and 4Mothers is not just about that, I felt that I could take the principles and apply them. I do think that I will go to Blissdom next year, if for nothing else the experience. Looking forward to following, BA

  10. The main thing I had in my head when I went to BlissDom, was NOT forming a “group” to hang around with the entire weekend. Thankfully it worked. Which is how I met so many wonderful NEW friends at the conference. I didn’t know a soul other than Shannon Mischuk when I walked into the Delta.

    I enjoyed attending the micro sessions too. I think that was my favorite, over the big sessions.

    I did hang out with you for a bit, and it was really nice meeting you.

  11. Hi Nancy, it was great meeting you too. Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you had a good time at Blissdom too.
    Dannyelle

  12. I just returned from LINK and was sad I couldn’t make it to Bliss. I enjoyed reading your review. i felt sad at link that the establish bloggers were so cliqueish. However I met a few establish bloggers and ended up learning more from them than I did from the whole conference. I guess sometimes it isn’t so bad to sit at the nose bleed table!

  13. Wasn’t Drew Dudley fantastic? He really had a great message, as did the entire Blissdom conference. I feel like a slacker with getting my wrap-up post published. I am still trying to make sense of everything I took away. There is so much I want to say!

  14. What a fantastic wrap up. I am so glad you found what you were looking for on the second day. I find at conferences I know a lot that is being taught but I always feel if I walk away with 2-3 new things and some connections then it was well worth it.

    For me this year Blissdom was perfect. However after 4 years of blogging I was feeling lost and defeated. This year remotivated me and I am back and better than ever.

    I hope you do attend next year and search me out. I am totally suck at the big crowd thing. I prefer intimate gatherings.

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