I’ve just come home from this year’s Brit Mums Live. It was a fantastic couple of days of meeting bloggers, chatting to brands and attending informative, interesting and inspiring talks and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’ve come home thoroughly knackered, but inspired and happy.
I went last year too, but that was an entirely different affair. Aside from the fact I got a horrendous migraine and had to leave well before the end, it didn’t seem to have quite such a good atmosphere. I felt like I was surrounded by cliques of which I was not a part, and as if people were not inclined to chat to me or even be particularly nice to me. I enjoyed the talks I attended, and spent some lovely time with a friend, but didn’t really speak to anyone else while I was there and felt a little isolated and alone – as if I wasn’t one of the cool kids.
This year, I hadn’t arranged to meet anyone there and I did feel a little nervous on the way – but I resolved not to worry about the social aspect of the event, and just to make the most of the sessions I attended. I arrived late thanks to a Google Maps failing, and was surprised when the first person I saw upon entering the building recognised me, and seemed pleased to see me! I chatted with PRs and brands, and bumped into so many lovely people who seemed pleased to see me, many of them recognising me before I recognised them (to be fair I did have my name embroidered on my top in rather large, pink letters). There were hugs and selfies and chats and a lovely meal for a group of us after the BIBs. This morning I went back to the venue with no worries about making sure I met someone I knew; I wandered around with my coffee chatting to people, before heading to the keynote and then various sessions. At lunch time I bumped into some of the people I’d eaten dinner with last night and we had a lovely meal together before going our separate ways to various sessions.
What was so different, this year? By definition, the attendees were by and large the same people as last year’s event, so it’s not like the pointy elbows I experienced last year just weren’t there this year. What if they weren’t really there last year either, though?
Last year I was really intimidated by the whole thing. I could hear the crowd forming as I got ready in my hotel room, getting louder and louder. I queued up in the entrance in a massive crowd of bloggers who all seemed to know each other and were whooping and squealing as they set eyes on each other for the first time in a year. I didn’t know anyone, and when I met my friend we clung to each other for the entire event. I felt like we were ignored by groups of other bloggers who didn’t want to speak to us. Looking back, what’s probably more likely is that they were so busy being excited to see the people they knew, they didn’t even register the people they didn’t know – especially on the first day.
This year, I’ve been much more sociable on social media, and interacted with a lot of different people. It was wonderful to meet so many of these people face to face, having spent months chatting to them and reading their blogs. I put faces to names, and had some wonderful discussions between sessions, as well as meeting people I hadn’t really known before. It was lovely and I left on a real high.
It’s so funny how attending the same event, run by the same people, in the same venue, with many of the same speakers as last year could be such a different experience for me, one year on. I think perhaps that’s more to do with my having changed than anything else, and perhaps being a little more confident.
It makes me wonder how much more awesome next year’s Brit Mums Live will be!