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CyberMummy 2011 review

I went to CyberMummy and had a good day, these are my thoughts …

I do not think CyberMummy knows what it is or who it’s audience is. Ironic when the a key message from the conference was “know your niche”. A tough one though, I admit, when “cybermummys” blog about such a wide range of topics and are all women. The conference was without doubt exceptionally produced, it looked fantastic and it ran very smoothly. It did, however, mid-afternoon leave me feeling a bit hollow and I wondered if I had fallen out of love with blogging – dare I say it, as a Mum. Is CyberMummy about parenting, about writing, about working with brands, about making money from your blog? But … if (as was the conference consensus) you cannot make money from a blog alone but only from a wider business of which a blog is just part of your product mix, then why are we all here and should we really be at a conference about launching an online business? How do you speak to an audience as wide as the stay at home Mum, the entrepreneur (not Mom-preneur), to the C-level executive? Perhaps we are all the same but I am sure we want to hear different things. The challenge to lead all bloggers, all women is a tough one but is one CyberMummy set itself.

Maybe my expectations were too high but if you start a conference with key-notes from a Facebook Director and Sarah Brown you do set a certain bar. To follow such a strong opening with workshop sessions from Mummy bloggers themselves just did not seem to cut it. (Hang on, stay with me) This is no critism of the Mummy (and Daddy) blogger speakers at all. In fact when I realised the conference was not going to be quite what I thought it was I focused on listening to Mummy bloggers tell their stories and I loved it.

What did I expect? I expected experts, serious hard hitting experts. I also expect that when you add an event – CyberMummy – to your online business – www.britmums.com, that it offers something that cannot be found online, for me the day of workshop sessions did not do this.

Maybe the conference was the natural sequel to last year’s event (I did not go I was 41 weeks pregnant) but it did not feel like it delivered as required when the room has grown to 450 delegates. Now, I questioned whether I was being far too harsh – expecting too much – and I went off to check the conference’s strap-line on the signs about the venue. The CyberMummy strap-line was “Leading the UK’s blogging revolution.” Leading? This is the crux of that hollow feeling. This year’s CyberMummy conference did not lead, it represented the state of Mummy blogging today, the workshops were/are us now. I wanted to be intellectually challenged, to learn, to be inspired and to debate what Mummy blogging can be.

I wanted and expected to listen to seriously impressive experts, leading bloggers (and actually not Mummy-bloggers), industry experts putting blogging and social media into context (e-consultancy maybe?), about writing and getting published (maybe a famous published author), about parenting (Ellie Lee from the Centre of Parenting Culture Studies was fascinating but wasted and scheduled wrong), and from high profile career Mums about how they make it work. When the one thing that joins all Mums is the need to retain the “self” how about a master coach talking about ways you can approach that?

And please, let us not use the Mom-preneur word. You are an entrepreneur! The Mom-preneur is not a real word and nor should it be, it is anti-everything women and self-limiting. You are an entrepreneur, say it, be proud and dare to play – side by side – with the men. And CyberMummy please, when you give us female entrepreneurs please cast your net wider than businesses about crafting, baking and buying baby products. These are all valid and great businesses but if you “lead” you need to break the stereotype.

Some events at CyberMummy led me to question whether I am the CyberMummy target-market. I have concluded I am, I blog, I went and I paid my £100 to do so. The diversity of the audience is a great great thing and should be embraced. Future conferences need to consider how sessions are streamed to the differing wants of the beautiful mix of people in the room.

The potential of the CyberMummy conference is clear, and I truly to hope it becomes an influential, powerful, “leading” force. Next year, maybe?

I will see you at the front.

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