Are Blog Conferences Over?

OK, so that’s a bit overdramatic. Perhaps I should say “Why I don’t plan to hold a conference or go to one this year”

Blogging is a huge business, there’s no denying that. While some go down the route of blog advice books, some for blog advice sites (for those who don’t know, my blog advice site, Bonjour, Blogger! came out of the book I put together of things I have learnt in the years I have been blogging.), the growing trend to appeal to bloggers both new and established is to hold a conference.

I have been to a few blog conferences – hell, I even spoke at one last year! I was honoured to be asked to speak at Blognix by Elizabeth and not only  would I recommend it to anyone, I’d pay to go myself.

So, if you’ve never been to a blogging conference, here’s the typical plan. Before the event, you’ll try to find others who are going so you’re not left standing in a corner of the room alone. You’ll need to travel to the venue (usually in London, of course), and when you get there, there’s lots of interesting talks, a little (awkward – “hi, I follow you on the internet and know everything about you, but have never met you”) socialising, and (well, for me!) pressure to make sure you get all the information that’s being put out, tweet about how great the event is and Instagram everything all at the same time. And that’s not bringing the monetary cost of it all into it. Conference ticket, travel, any loss of earnings (if you would normally work on that day), it all adds up.

That’s not to say that it’s pointless. Just that the learning part of things can be done more effectively online (although I’m biased – that’s the way I work best) but the most valuable part of any event – the socialisation – is best done face to face. Sophie and I created #blogclub so people could get together with no pressure to learn something specific (although recent events have been more specific teaching one topic – not a bad thing though!). One of the things that makes me really happy about #blogclub is that it’s built up a lovely community in Bristol of amazing bloggers who are more likely to be able to make plans with each other now!

So are blog conferences over? I don’t think so – there’s definitely a place for them, but I think that they need to be more specialised – I believe that bloggers will want to go to an event to specifically learn about photography for your blog, or how to write more bettererer. I was asked to speak at an event this year about my blogging history, and I turned it down because I felt like I would be annoyed if I went to an event and had someone tell me about how they started on Livejournal, blah blah blah. With so many events in the blog calendar, your event needs to be different and valuable to the attendee.

Oh, such a ramble! In the age old tradition of blogging – I’ll finish with a question. What do you think? Are blog conferences still useful? Do you prefer the socialising part, or the learning part of an event?

Review: Samsung Galaxy S6

I bought my first iPhone about 7 years ago. The iPhone 3G was only available on O2, you couldn’t switch between apps and you couldn’t copy and paste text. It’s strange the things we thought were pretty normal because it was so exciting that you could use this phone for more than just calling people.

I’ve never really used an Android phone other than trying to take photos for other people, so I was really excited when Three got in contact to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S6 for them. They sent it to me with a PAYG SIM card so I could get the full benefits of using it on Three – I’m with Vodafone with my iPhone and it is painful to use, especially at lunch time.

samsung-galaxy-s6-three-sapphire-sm-g920f-1

The phone is slightly bigger than my iPhone 6, but smaller than an iPhone 6 Plus. I’m so used to the silver, whites and golds of the iPhone family that it was a really nice change to have a blue (“black sapphire”) phone.

You can customise the Galaxy S6 so much to suit your style – I didn’t realise this for a few days, but once I found the themes shop, I was trying out all of the available items!

samsung-galaxy-s6-themes

The strangest thing to get used to (besides menus, etc) was the responsive feedback from the screen. Whenever you tap something, or type on the keyboard, the phone sort of vibrates back at you.

samsung-galaxy-s6-three-sapphire-sm-g920f-2

My favourite feature of this phone was the camera. It’s just so good. My outfit post on Friday was taken with this camera – in fact, I didn’t bother taking any camera to the Laura Ashley event, I just took everything with the phone! There is a bit of snobbery in the blogging world that if you don’t have a big dSLR camera for your blog photos, then your pictures aren’t going to be very good, but I found the camera on this phone was so good, even for super close up photos.

Apps wise, I didn’t miss too many of my most used apps from the iPhone. I thought that I would be unable to use my iCloud calendars, but since I use Sunrise, I was able to get all of my calendars. I used Snapchat more than I have previously (have you noticed more bloggers using Snapchat lately?), and I especially liked the two apps that came with the phone, Flipboard Briefing (a nice way to get lots of different news stories to you – I’ve used Flipboard previously, but this wasn’t customised to my feeds – still useful though!) and Google Now which was surprisingly very useful. It brings together lots of items like stories that it thinks you would enjoy based on your previously reads and Google searches – a little creepy when you think about it like that, but the stories were generally pretty interesting. It also brought out things like shipping notifications from Gmail, told me how long it would take to get to work, and the weather at home and work. Nothing in Google Now was set up specifically for this app, they were just things I already had set.

Would I make the switch? It’s difficult to say. I really enjoyed the phone, and I liked some of the features that were better than my iPhone, but I’ve been an Apple girl for over 10 years now, so it’s just so much easier to stick with Apple. Perhaps if I were to have a second phone for work, etc, then I’d probably choose this one – features like the camera, the detailed reports on how you use your phone and Google Now are things that I found surprisingly useful.

The phone was provided for a short period to review. This review has not been viewed by Three, Samsung or any representatives before it was posted. No wording on links in the review were requested.

A Rare Sighting

I know! An outfit post! But one with a difference – the photos were taken and edited on a phone, and I’m writing the post on the phone as well.

I’ve been sent the Samsung Galaxy S6 by Three to test out as a long term Apple girl and without spoiling the posts I have planned about it (I’m going to post here and on Bonjour, Blogger! about the phone, because I have a lot to say!) I’m surprised to find that I’m really enjoying using the phone. (It doesn’t hurt that Three is SO much better than Vodafone (my current supplier) in BS1, so I can use my phone at lunch!)

Last Sunday, I headed over to At Bristol with some of my favourite bloggers for some crafting fun with Laura Ashley (which I also want to post about – you wait forever for a post to appear and then you’ve got two more promised for the next week or so!) and thought that I should wear a pretty outfit instead of my current love of jeggings and t-shirts. (mmmm, lazy)

image

Blouse: ASOS* | Skirt: Boden* | Shoes: Primark (because no matter how much I spend on shoes, they always fall apart, sigh)

Now it’s time for work, where I’ll be impatiently waiting for my Apple Watch to appear. You know this mini movie from Despicable Me where the minion keeps typing and reaching for the banana? That’s gonna be me.

 

Affiliate links used for the clothing items, link to phone not requested by Three as part of the review