Two years ago, somewhat new to blogging and hoping to meet some cool people in Halifax, I bought a ticket to a conference called BlogJam. Actually, let me rephrase that: I bought the very first ticket to BlogJam 2016. I even won the early bird draw.
I showed up alone to the meet and tweet the night before with my pink business cards and matching purse hoping to meet my next BFF. Sure enough, minutes after I arrived, the wonderful Kayla Short walked through the door; her curls bouncing and voice carrying through the lobby of the hotel. By the end of the night, I had Kayla’s phone number and a friend to meet at the conference so I wouldn’t be alone.
BlogJam Atlantic changed the way I used my online presence. Not only did I meet incredible people, but it also inspired me to continue interacting online and showed me the value in online friendships.
You would think that being on the right side of the country this year would mean that I would be attending BlogJam 2018, but this year the timing just didn’t work out! Here’s why you shouldn’t make the same mistake.
01 | The Connections
Moving back to Halifax was a big decision that was made easier because of the people I was coming home to. I felt like I’d left a huge part of myself behind when I left this city and my decision to come back is validated every time I hop online and chat with my friends or meet them IRL for coffee (or tea in my case). I use the word family to describe these people with absolute sincerity because they make me feel loved, appreciated, valued and understood — and I met a large portion of this friend-family through BlogJam. Let’s remember that I showed up by myself for the conference. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the connections I cultivated at BlogJam 2016 have had a lasting impact on my life.
02 | The Speakers
We practiced live tweeting in journalism school, but I don’t think my fingers have ever typed so fast! I could barely keep my eyes off my phone because I was constantly tweeting out powerful and inspiring quotes from the line up of speakers. BlogJam covers so many topics that it was really hard to choose which talks to go to, and I think it’s so smart that they’ve extended the conference over two days to make room for all the information. The full schedule is online if you want to take a look at all the amazing speakers!
I still remember Erica Ehm‘s talk because she had the best advice on chasing opportunity. This is how she explained it: If we want pizza, we call a pizza place… so why don’t we do this when it comes to our careers? Erica encouraged us to apply this simple idea — of just ASKING for what we want — to find the opportunities we need to succeed. For all of the tweets and quotes, check out my BlogJam 2016 Twitter moment.
“It’s not what you ask, it’s HOW you ask. Be noisy — it’s loud out there”
03 | The Engagement
I don’t remember the exact stats from 2016, but the views on my website went up considerably after BlogJam and my Twitter impressions were through the roof. Engaging with the speakers online, following fellow spectators and retweeting posts on Twitter opened my online world up to a whole new group of people that were excited to follow along with my journey! These new followers weren’t faceless strangers who might tune in every once in a while — they were engaged friends who were excited to be on my team. Not only that, but they had a face and a voice to attach to my handle and a better sense of me as a person.
04 | The Confidence
I left BlogJam feeling like I could take on the world. I’d met with people of all ages, backgrounds and interests and felt completely supported to do my own thing in this crazy online world. To sum it up, Colleen O’Dea (@curtainsareopen) said, “there is no competition, there’s enough work for everyone.” She welcomed everyone in the room — everyone at the conference — to go after their big idea without worrying because there is space for everyone to succeed. I left feeling so proud to call myself a blogger.
Because of BlogJam, I am a huge believer in bringing your online community offline. I’ve even written a blog post about it and I talk extensively about the subject on Instagram and Twitter whenever I get the chance. These people have formed a community that will follow me and support me in anything I do and I will always be grateful for their presence in my life.
So here’s what I’ll leave you with: if you’re a blogger in Atlantic Canada and you don’t feel like you’ve found a community here, give BlogJam a chance. Sitting behind your computer can be a little lonely sometimes and it really doesn’t have to be. This industry can feel a little bit like high school but everyone I’ve met through this conference has been genuinely willing to help me out and share their secrets to success.
BlogJam 2018 is taking place in Moncton on October 27th and 28th. Time is running out but there are still tickets available! If you’re looking for more information send me a message or check out the website to register.
AND just because I love you guys I also have an amazing discount code for you! Use the code WORKSPACE for 25% off your ticket!
I wish I could be there to hang out with everyone. Just know that I’ll be at work, scrolling through my social media on my break experiencing some real FOMO while my
online real-life family gets together for the annual reunion. Can’t attend but want to follow along? Use the hashtag #BlogJam2018 #BlogJamAtlantic to get all the live updates!