On Saturday I attend my first ever Blogfest. This super event was put on by the amazing Mumsnet team and was choc full of bloggers. Now this was my first event as a blogger and to say I was nervous is an understatement, but I have to say that everyone worked hard to make sure that us 'newbies' were made to feel as welcome and as entitled to be there as the many super successful bloggers attending.
I was impressed right from the outset, as instead of the usual label with our names on, we were given a brilliant gizmo to wear round our necks which we bumped with each other to share our blog, email and twitter addresses.
I was not too sure what to expect from the day and quite frankly if the only good thing was the lanyard then I would have been happy, but boy did the day pack a punch.
The opening session was a panel debate entitled The new Wild West: what kind of internet do we want? and after much group lusting after @richardpbacon in the Chair, we all joined in a super interesting debate on freedom of speech, twitter trolls and the right to feel safe online. I think that everyone agreed that @stellacreasy was the star of this particular panel and the tweet wall certainly reflected this.
There were a number of optional sessions over the course of the day and I attended Social Networking for Beginners with the hysterical @daisygriffith . I learned in this session that I need to write a schedule and to get on twitter pretty damn quick. So this is my plea to you to follow me @englisheating.
I also attended sessions on "How to Monetise Your Blog" and "Blogging Do's and Dont's" with the super successful @mammasaurusblog, @liveotherwise, @jemimakiss, and @amummytoo amongst others.
There was a brilliant session on Think bombs with @ProfTanya, @jonronson and @Dr_Black
These were the most inspirational slots of the day for me and Tanya Byron delivering the most sensible, inspirational and thought provoking stream-of-consciousness outburst I have ever had the privilege to hear and she really made me think about the state of the British education system under Gove (need we say more). Jon Ronson delivered an hysterical and then terrifying speech about how his own twitter account was hacked by spambots. Check out his youtube video here, I was shocked to say the least!
The final session of the day was a panel debate on Can you be a 'mummy-blogger', and still be a feminist?. Sarah Ditum has, I think, summed up the debate beautifully here and I would urge you to read.
The last presentation of the day came from Jo Brand who did a great job of calming us all down after the heated feminism debate. A video of her presentation can be downloaded from Mumsnet .
The day was rounded off with a scrummy G&T and champers reception and then we were presented with the most generous goodie bag I have ever received. I will be blogging more about this soon, but needless to say we received a barrel load of freebies :)
I want to say a HUGE thank you to Mumsnet and to all the other bloggers who made the day so interesting and made me, a virgin blogger, feel so welcome and valid amongst all those blogging giants. It certainly encouraged me to engage with this blog more - so watch out guys!