I Went, I Saw, I Felt Awkward 49

Yesterday I went to #Cybher. A conference for women bloggers. I stayed over night at my Mum’s near Heathrow and got the train and tube in to central London. This was a big thing for me, I don’t go out alone often.

On the way I was really excited, and a bit nervous, thinking I’d get lost and would the other bloggers like me? As it goes I got there nearly on time, and there were still some free handbags left! All the purple patterned ones had gone, there was fluorescent yellow or orange left. So I decided I would choose the yellow as it’s like cycling high visibility clothing. More me than neon orange!

Leather satchel

I felt lost then, I couldn’t see anyone I knew. I was getting very stressed and considered walking out, was not sure where to go or what I was meant to do. Just stood there. Then I noticed some of the ladies were walking towards a big door…

I followed and the first face I see is Jax, then Joy. Thank goodness, familiar folks! I sat and listened to Sian do the welcome speech bit and listened to a few other sessions. I’ll be honest, I got bored, very bored! I wandered off and found the home barn section downstairs, and I now know how to crochet! I was in the home barn area for over an hour, and met Lizzie at last. See Claire‘s blog for some fab photos of @homebarn. I didn’t really do photos, the camera on my phone is pretty awful with indoor lighting conditions. After a mooch about I met Claire, the other Claire and Lili! Oh my how beautiful is Lili?

I’m not sure I learnt much, except I learned who I should talk with and who I’m not really feeling the community spirit from. I also learnt that I’m really a whole lot taller than I thought! I felt some of us were blanked almost as groups of buddies became clear, and chatted so much it really was a bit like I had gate-crashed someone else’s party at the “cocktail bar”. I felt an outsider, isolated, lonely. And I hate people photoing my face, I am so self conscious. So the few people I did meet I do not have photos of them with me.

I wish I could talk to people more easily, but wherever I go I find myself in the corner. I’ve heard that tots100 blogger summits are likely to suit my shy personality more as it’s not as busy.

Just wanted to add, this is not a dig at the organisers or anyone, just wanted to get it off my chest how I felt. For most folks there it was probably fun and relevant, but to me it was a bit scary and alien. If you aren’t shy, it’s worth considering going next year!

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49 thoughts on “I Went, I Saw, I Felt Awkward

  • Laura Huggins

    This is exactly what has put me off going to these sort of things. I am too nervous and shy and would need a buddy with me, just so I could be myself. Perhaps next time go there with someone, so you def will not be alone.

    Big hugs hun x x x

  • Gemma Alwaysamummy

    Ah hun sorry you felt that way.. I wanted to go to cybher but at the moment I’ve got so much going on it be a lot to add that to my schedule. Perhaps if you were to go next time we could buddy up so we are not feeling lonely or isolated. I hate that feeling xx hugs xx

  • SarahMummy

    So sorry you felt like this. Glad you at least met some people you know and like. Cybher wasn’t on my radar at all. I suspected it might not be as welcoming as it’s not just parent bloggers. Are you going to Britmums? I’ve got high hopes for that one. BlogSummit was great too. We live and learn! X

  • Joanne Mallon

    I’m so sorry to hear that you felt like that. I think the really key thing is to arrive early (so much easier to find somebody to chat to when there are less there) and also make contact with people beforehand. Before Cybher I spent a lot of time reading people’s intro posts and leaving comments, which helped to make a connection. Did you do anything like that? In general I found people to be very friendly but funnily enough the only time I was blanked was at the crochet table so maybe there were some strange vibes around that place.

  • Julie Roo

    I didn’t research it, or look up peoples profiles first. I just did it on impulse. A lot of it was aimed at entrepreneur ladies so I did feel it didn’t suit me.

    I’ll make sure I do a parent blogger based meeting next time. :-) Thanks all of you 😀

  • Michelle Twin Mum

    It is definitely worth meeting someone before hand so you have a buddy. I have not been to Cybher before so can’t comment but I totally understand about how you might of felt as if you were gate crashing, I think we have all had that feeling at one conference or another. I promise you it gets better, I was so overwhelmed at my first conference 3 years ago and no I love them. Are you coming to BritMums Live, we have butterflies to chat to anyone like you feeling a little out of the thick of it.

    Mich x

    • Julie Roo

      It’s nice to know I am not alone in the “lost” or “gate-crashing” feeling. So many people have tweeted me nice things in response, and I’m glad it wasn’t just read as a ranty dig at the organisers.

    • Sally

      Julie, any event organiser worth their salt actually likes these posts MORE than posts saying how great everything was, because it’s giving them an opportunity to do something better next time around. I’m sure nobody has taken offence! I certainly make a point of reading posts about conferences and picking up tips and ideas along the way based on what people say they liked AND what they weren’t so keen on.

  • Becca Masters

    oh no! so sorry you felt that way, such a shame. I was also very worried about that and thankfully met a buddy on the way there via twitter. i think having a 9 week old baby with me helped too! I am painfully shy in person until i get to know people, but online i am very outgoing. its a bizarre combination! I am going to britmums, so i will do my best to seek you out and say hi! i already see that there are plans for coffee and wine there!! count me in. i’ll bring the gin!

  • keep-up-with-the-jones-family.com

    Tots100 summit was lovely, I had a great time there. Yesterday (I’m shy) I bravely made pre-friends with two lovely bloggers over Twitter and met just before we went in. I felt the same; there are obvious cliques; and some people obviously think they are of a higher calibre than the rest of us…and that’s fine. I reduce it to thinking that we all came into the world the same way, if someone doesn’t want to talk to me then it’s pointless me talking to them. It’s not high school anymore. I am a painfully shy person and I smile and laugh and over-animate great deal to compromise. I wish we’d met; I hope I never gave you reason not to want to talk to me; if you’re at Britmums, I’ll come and find you!

  • Actually Mummy...

    Don’t let it put you off. I was terrified at my first BritMums but people couldn’t have been lovelier, and it was so professional. And Blog Summit is smaller, very casual and laid back, and I’ve always got loads from it. Come!

  • Emma Day

    I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Cybher until a few weeks ago, so I don’t know much about it.

    I’m both excited and nervous about Britmums though.

    Bristol blog summit was nice.

    I think I’d have felt much more daunted if I had gone alone, but I met two bloggers on the way to blog summit. Perhaps that’s the key – plan to buddy up before you get there? X

    • Julie Roo

      Lucky for me PinkOddy was there, we knew each other before we were bloggers. She was there when I had my son, and other times I’ve needed her. It was only because she said she was going that I even considered it, I decided just a week before the event. Planning is not my thing. 😉 Disorganised chaos is more me.

  • Sonya Cisco

    I haven’t been to one yet, tho I have britmums in under 3 weeks, and feel a bit nervous. I am lucky tho as have friends to meet up and go with, which will really help! Hope to meet you at an event one of these days, we an be shy together!

    • Julie Roo

      I was nervous, and excited, and nervous. :-p Got there ok, felt stressed, but oddly it wasn’t until I was back in my own area, and 10 mins from home I thought I was going to throw up – a bit like so nervous I bottled it until I felt I was home again. #Wimp

    • Mammasaurus

      Meeting up to walk in together makes a huge difference at any of these events – I always try and meet bloggers at the train station before any event as it’s a real icebreaker and then everyone walks in more relaxed x

  • Elaine Croft

    Awww sorry u felt like this :( Im totally shy and suffer anxiety in these situations. I went to Britmums last year without knowing any one, despite the butterflies. I felt so uncomfortable :( I made sure i looked up people before I went to cybher to avoid this feeling. xxx

  • Erica Price

    I think the advice about getting there early is good. It’s much easier to talk to people when there are less people there. I think walking into a full room can be more intimidating too. Sorry you didn’t felt that way. The blog summits are good because only about 100 people so much smaller than the big conferences.

  • dorkymum

    Good for you having the courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, even if it didn’t work out as you’d hoped this time. You should give yourself a big pat on the back for that :) I’ve only been to a couple of blogging conferences before – one organised by a charity, and last year’s BritMums Live. I found BritMums pretty overwhelming just because of the scale. I walked in and saw all these well known bloggers whose faces I knew – Im sure a lot of them would have been lovely if I’d walked up and said hello but like you I was too nervous to do it. but I agree with all the commenters above who say that arranging to meet even one person who you know via Twitter/blogging before makes a huge difference. Walking into a room full of people and knowing you already have someone to sit beside feels so much better than walking in on your own. Hope you have a better experience next time you go to one xx

  • Julie Roo

    You say that Sally but it seems to have caused a fuss that I said how I feel. I’ve not been rude, infact I’ve linked to some bloggers in the post as that was suggested by someone at Cybher that we create natural links as much as possible. Can’t remember who, not everyone kept there badges on. :-)
    I’ve not sworn, not insulted, the strongest word I used was bored, and thats just saying how I felt *personally*. Wasn’t saying anything nasty?

  • Jenography.net

    Julie, I agree with Dorkymum — you should congratulate yourself on going and getting over your initial nervousness. I think everyone feels that when they walk into an event or party and there’s the first-moment panic that you won’t know anyone. There are lots of ways to “do” conferences. Some people work the room like mad, some meet up with a couple of friends and really bond. They’re all “right”.

    Susanna and I think a lot about how to make BritMums friendlier each year. The lovely ladies who are Butterflies, acting as a first point of contact go a long way toward that vibe.

    Plus, there’s always the tried-and-true method I use at every conference. I walk in, grab the first person I see standing alone and say, “Hi, I’m Jen. I don’t know anyone here, do you?” If they don’t they’re glad for a comrade in arms and if they do, they introduce you!

  • Coombe Mill

    Well done for going, one step more than me! I have only done MADS and BritMums will be my first blog conference, you have just declared all my worries, well done for being honest but reading the comments you are perhaps not the first to feel this way. Hope it doesn’t put you off blog things and glad you found some friendly faces.

  • Julie Roo

    Fiona, thanks for your reply my dear. You’re one of the the people on my *list* of people I’d love to meet! I’ve no idea how you manage to blog and tweet and run linkys and run a farm and a holiday site and being a mum and wife. And and and! Question, you must be knackered, don’t you just sleep all day when you get to escape work/home for a day? Respect to you. I hope our paths cross in real life somewhere, think I owe you a hug. :)

  • Claire Walsh

    Ive been blogging for years, I know loads of people. I hardly ever go to these conferences. I always think that walking into a room with lots of women is hard and i’d never voluntarily do that so I salute you for going. I’m strangely anonymous unless you know me, thats how shy I am. Go along to Britmums etc i’m sure you’ll have fun :)