Friday 20 June 2014

Why I'm not going to Britmums live

I went last year, I'd planned a trip to the UK and as I was flying in and out of Heathrow I decided to tag a few extra days to my trip and go to Britmums. I'm not going this year, although I did consider it when I planned my UK trip in April, but the dates don't coincide with the school holidays and the purpose of my trip was to spend time with my children, especially the 15 year old in Boarding.

Don't get me wrong I actually enjoyed Britmums and learnt an awful lot about working with brands, making the most out of your blog by adding pictures and so many other things that I use today, but it was hard work and I see familiar tweeters heading off there again this year, with the same issues and worries, namely:

What if no one speaks to me?

Put any group of people together and you'll discover they have little in common apart from the fact they are bloggers, tweeters, Mums (and Dads) stay at home/work part time/work full time.

I met people last year at Britmums that I admired, people whose blogs I read and enjoyed, people I wanted to meet and surprisingly people who wanted to meet me and actually sought me out.

However I met a few people who I never wish to meet again, in fact I unfollowed quite a few while I was there, especially the woman who walked up to me, took one look at my name tag and said 'oh you're Chickenruby' and turned her back on me to talk to the person I was with. A couple of other people did not come across as the person I knew online, looked different, sounded different from how I thought and in a lot cases acted very differently to the way they do online.

There were a lot of cliquey groups, seated together, attending the same seminars, closing others out, but hey that's their problem, not yours. A lot of you seem to raise this issue generally whether it's about Britmums, the school playground or an after school activity.

If I can give you any tips on how to make the most out of Britmums, how to relax and enjoy yourself, it would be:

Wear what you would normally wear for coffee with a friend, be comfortable and feel comfortable.
Don't automatically follow someone on twitter just because you've just met them.
Don't be afraid to unfollow someone when you have met them.
Don't worry about sitting on your own or joining another person who is also sitting on their own.
Don't be afraid to get up and walk away from a group or an individual if it's not 'your thing' say you need the loo, just be polite.

Remember most people in the room are probably feeling the same way as you are, nervous and apprehensive. The online world isn't the real world, you sit at home, go out with your friends for coffee, play dates with the kids, work and when the weekend comes you socialise with 'real' people and tweet and blog about your experiences and share with an online world, that you don't actually live in. 

I'll leave you with my most awkward Britmums moment.......On the Friday night, I sat down for dinner with a group of people I'd never met before and the woman on my right said 'Why did you block me on twitter?'


  1. I've been doing "online" meeting since before twitter and facebook and all the other stuff that is now ubiquitous. Its always suffered from these problems and you have to just treat people the same as if you would normally. If someone blocks you on twitter and you are having a conversation with them you are quite entitled to ask why that was.. perhaps you upset them.. perhaps they upset you.. but when someone comes up to you with the express intention of just asking that then its a bit rude.

    People need to realise there is a person behind the persona, may people no matter how online mature are not yet practised in taking that online persona and mapping it to a real person who may be quite different to that persona. Someone very outspoken online can turn out to be a very shy individual in a group... As for my experience there are plenty examples of situations where cliques exist you just have to ignore them as 90 percent of the time they are valueless.

    1. When my kids were little my social network was much smaller (i didn't get a mobile phone until 2000) this sort of behaviour occurred mainly on the school play ground at drop off times

  2. Ouch! That's a great conversation starter. Good advice and very insightful post.

    1. yeah when i realised who it was i was very uncomfortable, i think i unblocked, her after we discussed the issue but we don't tweet each other

  3. I don't think I'll be going again, not because anyone was unfriendly (though I was ignored a few times when I tried to talk to strangers) but because it was so crowded! Too many people to find those you wanted to speak to, too noisy to talk when you did find someone you liked. Just too busy and loud for me. I sound old, and like a country bumpkin, but I prefer a smaller group, in a situation where we can all be heard.

    1. i arranged to meet someone there and we could touch base with one another during the weekend, it worked very well

  4. Totally agree - I went this year for the first time and met with a blogger who I regularly message on fb (the only one) and we were very compatible. It was very well organised and the seminars were interesting but the constant # and taking pictures every 2 seconds was exhausting to watch and the social skills (you can't be that shy if you're turning up to a conference) of some were non-existent. I did unfollow as thought wow you are incredibly rude eg my friend was chatting to someone another marched over started chatting to the other person ignored us - it was quite stunning to see! Basics people basics. I also got the feeling if you didn't make the effort to say hi how are you they wouldn't look up from their ipads. Now, there are lots of lovely people there but with anywhere there are some that are just really rude! I left at 10 am on the Saturday!

    1. some of my best friends are from the internet, that I've met many times, holidayed with etc, but we've got on because we have other areas in common other than those mentioned above, having built up a relationship on several social media sites, sorry to hear you left early, but i think if i hadn't been travelling so far i'd have probably gone early too