Sunday, 23 June 2013

I'm in a room of 500 oversharers and it's all ok :o)

I spent the best part of two days this weekend at an event for bloggers hosted by Britmums. I missed my boys terribly and am now out of my mind tired, but it was fabulous. The venue was really fancy, being in trendy East London as it was, and once lots of parenting bloggers arrived it was also packed, busy and very informative. It was my first time at Britmums live so I was a bit terrified and also quite excited to see what it was all about.

Social media chocs I went to sessions about feminism, social media and working with charities. It was all very interesting. I met bloggers whose words I've read that have made me laugh, cry and go 'huh ?' at various times. At the start of the event I was taking part in a discussion group where I met some bloggers I ended up practically stalking the rest of the time there. Apologies to Formerly Rock and Roll Mum  and the award-winning Vintage Folly  who probably got fed up of the sight of me grinning inanely at them as I was so delighted to have 'made friends' with real bloggers. Then the sheer delight at spotting Jen whose blog I follow and who is kind enough to read mine too. I feel like I already know her so to meet and talk to her in person was really lovely. I also managed to catch up with the only woman I know who has built an igloo with her kids. Strong coffee is also responsible for my purchase of a new handbag, but as the handle on the bag I was carrying had broken it was meant to be anyway. 

me standing with Scooby Doo
Then there were the freebies; cupcakes, books, soft toys, nappies and more cupcakes (well maybe that was just me). I came away from it all with my head buzzing with ideas, sore shoulders from carrying all the swag and a very big question niggling me. Why were there barely any bloggers there who weren't white ? Now this isn't a criticism of the organisation, after all they don't pre-select who can join. Neither is it a judgement of those bloggers who were there. While we choose to blog we don't choose our ethnicity and we are who we are and we're all doing something we love (hopefully). 

So maybe the pertinent question is do non-white bloggers just choose not to come to these events or are there just not that many of us ? After all there are writers from all different communities and people with an opinion or an interest to share. We are parents, we have families and issues and we talk about them, but maybe not on blogs. Katy Hill eloquently called us a room full of 'oversharers' and while I agree with that there is a lot I choose not to tell and I am very selective about what I share on here and on social media generally. 

It was very obvious to me in all the sessions that I attended that I was the only non-white person in the audience and in every case an all-white panel sitting at the front. When milling around during breaks and at the evening drinks I did spot a couple of women who were also of an 'ethnic' persuasion (how on earth can I say it without sounding either poncey and right on or just daft ?), but otherwise it was a bit of a step back in time. I mean the serving staff and cloakroom attendants were a diverse bunch, but the conference attendees didn't appear to be. Mind you there were 500 of us and while that is a lot it's hardly every blogger in the UK is it ?

Anyway, I had a fab time at Britmums live and would recommend it for the fun, the socialising, the learning and most of all the cupcakes !!

name badge from Britmums live

19 comments:

  1. I noticed that too! I wonder why it is? And what could be done to address this next year?

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    1. well if it's not too presumptuous I will offer myself as a speaker / panellist next year :o)

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  2. I did spot that too. I don't think it's anything to do with how the event is advertised etc I'm not quiet sure what it is. I also noticed (after talking to everyone who made the mistake of standing near me) that there weren't many people like me who had been teenage mums. It's a weird one.
    Loved meeting you Swazi, I insist you be my friend lol!! x

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    1. OMG that Rachel from Vintage Folly wants to be my friend
      :o)

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  3. It was absolutely lovely to meet you too, I hope that we can meet again soon! You raise a really important point about the ethnic make up of the conference. I would love to see you as a panellist next year, perhaps with a debate on that subject.

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    1. I think I'm going to look into the issue a bit more as my research was pretty unscientific.
      Yes I'd love to meet up again :o)

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  4. Was lovely to meet you, look forward to chatting online!

    I wonder if the mix of ethnicity at BritMums reflects a low percentage in blogging,or a low percentage in attendence/membership of BritMums. If it is the former I wonder how more people could be encouraged to start using blogging as a writing platform, if it is the latter, is there anything that could be done to make BritMums more welcoming?

    And absolutely you should speak to BritMums about it, and am sure they would be able to use your skills!

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    1. Me too !

      I do wonder if blogging is seen as a 'white thing' or if it's a class thing. I would be fascinated to find out more about the reasons. If there are bloggers out there who just aren't engaging with Britmums then it would be good to ask them what that's about.

      Yes I'd love to !!

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  5. Glad you had a great time! It will be interesting to see what you find out about the ethnicity of bloggers & attendees! I think it is a fascinating question as to whether the attendees were reflective of the blogging community or not, and why that might be...

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    1. Thanks for commenting - I'm not sure how to find out the answer to this to be honest. I'm hoping that it's just that I haven't spotted them rather than that diversity doesn't exist.

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  6. It was lovely to meet you and what an interesting point. As you were the first person I met I didn't think it first of all, but I found that I did start thinking about it as the conference progressed. I would be curious to know whether it's the blogging community as a whole, or those who go to Britmums.

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    1. It was lovely to meet you and the gorgeous C as well. I'm so glad I did the group first as it was a nice introduction to some bloggers who I kept seeing around. It's something that struck me when I was at the Mumsnet conference last year too, maybe 'mummy blogging' just isn't appealing to certain sectors of the community ?

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  7. I live in St Albans - the blogging capital of the UK with LOADS of bloggers. However I'm near a place called Radlett, which has a huge jewish community - I did a search the other day and couldn't find any blogs from there. No idea why.

    What I like about the blogging community is that I've met mums from situations/places/social 'classes' that I wouldn't have had the chance to do otherwise. I hope that what you noticed is purely the fact that maybe the blogging concept hasn't reached every corner of mummydom yet, and that it will change over the next couple of years.

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    1. Hi MW - thanks for taking the time to comment.
      I am sure there are bloggers of every hue out there, but I was surprised that the event was so very monocultural.
      The panels had men on them but still no one who wasn't white (unless other panels did and I just missed them ?). It seems odd to me.

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  8. Based simply on the title of your blog and the title of this post I am going to follow your blog! Sad I didn't get to meet you. I also noticed lots of white faces and wondered about wether there was a lack of non white bloggers or if they just didn't come.

    I think it would be great if you spoke next year, regardless of your skin colour - the whole radio experience would give you lots of things to share I would imagine.

    Hope to meet you next year!

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    1. Hi Blissful,

      Bless you for being so kind and thank you for your comments. It wasn't as though I was thinking about it the whole time I was there. I was far too busy stashing cupcakes in my bag for that, but I did think it was unrepresentative of mums in general.

      I hope I do the opportunity to talk about it in some forum as it is a topic that interests me.

      That and chocolate of course ! Yes let's make a date to meet by the cakes next year :o)

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  9. Lovely to meet you - I did't even go into the TK Maxx one - which may have saved me a fortune :-) x

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    1. Great to meet you too Louise.

      You probably did the right thing - I did think the styling session was worth it though.

      Same time and place next year ?
      xx

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