Danny DeVito I love Your Work!
I’m still on a high from the first #YouCanSitWithUsLDN! After my initial tweet and save the date, the panic started to set in about organising an event in the depths of Winter. Would anyone even come? Would Tfl somehow thwart my plans? Why did I decide to plan an event when I can’t even plan my own life?
Fortunately I tapped into my last-minute reserves (often seen when rushing for buses) and whipped up some signs, cookies and a structure to the event. After attending a few networking events, workshops and icebreakers, I wanted it to combine those elements, allowing people to catch up and interact with different groups. I often came away from these things feeling all kinds of inspired after connecting with interesting people.
We also wanted it to have a few Instagram-worthy opportunities, since us bloggers love a pastel background and thankfully Camden Collective had plenty. It was a real collaborative effort on the day, with Lucy bringing pom poms, Carrie baking branded cookies and Liv providing a Spotify playlist (she also helped with the Mean Girls inspired name). Also major love to Rosh, Natasha and Ghenet for helping to set everything up, the space was perfect for Sunday afternoon chats.
So what was on the agenda? I mentioned a few reasons why I thought blogging was still relevant in my speech and I really wanted people to remember why they started in the first place. It’s so important to keep representing ourselves, especially in an age where Vogue will cast Karlie Kloss in a geisha shoot and ‘alternative facts’ are part of the lexicon. There’s no layers of management when it comes to us deciding whether to write a post and we have the collective power to make change. By sharing our stories and struggles, we’ve made people feel less alone.
I could also see a lot of frustrations in Twitter chats and my own conversations. There’s so much focus on numbers, others becoming ‘successful’ via underhand means and it ruining certain platforms as a result. Just look at Hayley’s post on PRs not being bothered about fake followers, Amber’s about the blasted bots and Sara’s amazing podcast ‘Hashtag Authentic’. I wanted to bring the conversations offline and try to find solutions to all of the madness.
I’ve said my piece but I also thought I’d let some of the attendees mention what they thought of the day. There’s some amazing posts already and I’m so glad everyone found it useful!
Thabi: ‘The event was a breath of fresh air. A group of positive, fun, entrepreneurial self-starters who are hard working and on top of that who are women! I came alone, was not feeling too well, but was welcomed with open arms and didn’t spend longer than a minute or two alone. In the end, I was posing on table and shaking off my illness.’
Lauren: ‘The whole get-together itself was blogging heaven – brightly coloured tables perfect for flatlays, the ever classic succulents and plates upon plates of cute and delicious treats. We all had a chance to say our piece, to hear about views on representation, and to give people reassurance in what they were doing.’
Rachel: ‘From the moment I stepped foot into the Camden Collective space where the event was held I felt warm and fuzzy. Throughout the Mean Girls-themed afternoon we discussed all things blogging and internet-ing, both good and bad, sharing advice and (v. importantly) snacks throughout.’
Shana Kay: ‘This morning I woke up, knowing I had to thank all the ladies yesterday who gave me good words of wisdom, tips and advice, without an ounce of judgement or disbelief.’
Winnie: ‘I left the event feeling super proud of Kristabel, inspired and thankful to be part of such a diverse and supportive community. The bottom line? Stop comparing yourself to other bloggers and it’s definitely ok to do your own thing.’
Rosh: ‘The main thing I learnt was that speaking about the small problems you’re facing with other people who face the same issues, is so refreshing! You really can’t put a price on real life, human interaction. Plus what I really loved was that the people who’s instagrams I adore and thought ‘Hey I really think I’d be friends with this person IRL’, actually came true.’
Michelle: ‘I felt so relieved and reassured that I wasn’t the only one that simultaneously felt disenchanted yet empowered to make change by blogging. It’s easy to feel lost in a sea of bloggers seemingly doing the same thing but #YouCanSitWithUsLDN left me feeling inspired about my own blog and the wider community.’
Thanks to everyone who came along and tweeted up a storm, we were trending at one point! You can see the event in action over on my YouTube channel.
If you’d like to know about the next event, I have a dedicated newsletter and will be announcing it all over my social channels. The idea is to hold them quarterly and I’m already trying to think of ways to build upon last Sunday, just look at the hashtag!