Real Life Connections Are So Underrated #BBCDal
by Christy Gossett
I had the honor of attending Bloggy Boot Camp Dallas last weekend and it was amazing. I’m sure every blogger there took something different away from the experience. But I actually had an epiphany and it will forever change my life for the better. You see, I enjoyed every aspect of the conference and the SITS Girls put on an amazing show. They hosted awesome speaker after awesome speaker and I learned a little bit from each and every one of them.
But some things really hit home. And by “home”, I mean my own home, and my heart’s home. I’m a people person and although I know that’s cliché, it is what it is. I enjoy connecting with people. I love to talk, and I love to listen. But in one moment of this conference, I teared up and realized that I had lost a part of me over the past year.
I am a workaholic. Most bloggers are, I suppose. We work from dawn to dusk (and later) and we give this little spot on the internet our all. It is, after all, who we are, right? WRONG! It’s our connections that make us who we are. We interact online, we interact at home, but are we really paying attention to those we love?
I live in this little black box of mine way too much! I didn’t realize how much until I listened to Tiffany Romero from SITS make a point that will forever change me. She said “If you hear yourself saying ‘in a minute’ more than once or twice a day to your children and not mean it, you need to step back and re-evaluate”. Boy did that hit home. More than once or twice a day? I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count how many times I say that to my own kids! I felt the tears well up and I nodded with fellow moms. I vowed to change, and I have. I have spent no less than one hour a night sitting with my family away from this little black box every night since. That might not seem like much to you, but to me, and to them, it makes all the difference in the world! I still say “in a minute” often, but now I mean it!
And I made other “real life” connections while I was there. People that I talk to every day in this black box of mine were in front of my face, and we talked. We didn’t type, we didn’t text, we didn’t email. We talked…with our mouths…face to face. And it was genuine.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite connections. I had longed to meet one of them because she has had such a huge impact on my life and had actually invited me to this event. Courtney Velasquez, VP of the Social Fabric Community and author of Discovering Arkansas, was amazing! My online connection to this woman did not lie to me. She was everything I’d hoped for and more…so much more!
The 2nd connection was a man who is incredibly intelligent and passionate about what he does and constantly shares wisdom with the Social Fabric Community. Brad Lawless is the VP of Communications for Collective Bias, but more importantly, to me anyway, he is the author of Finding My Way. His way is very interesting, you should check it out!
This “out of the box” experience is what made it all worthwhile, but I did learn practical knowledge as well.
Laurie Turk from Tip Junkie had a lot of knowledge to share about blogging success. She reminded us to “work smarter, not harder” and to do our most stressful task first thing in the morning. I’ve been doing that, and it helps. If you knock out the thing you are stressing about the most before 10:00 am, you’d be amazed at how accomplished you feel and how ready you are to tackle the rest of the day.
Cynthia Wheeler from the Nap Warden is all about design. Seriously, that’s what she does. She taught us that keeping everything pertinent above the fold is key. I am my own billboard. If you click on my site and I don’t entice you to click further, I lose you as a reader. Shame on me! Oh, and very important, the left hand side of your site is prime real estate. That’s where the eye draws you, so if it’s full of ads and busy stuff, no one sees your content and they click away. Bye bye reader!
The final speaker was my favorite. Elizabeth Hayne Liu of Flourish in Progress CRACKED.ME.UP! She talked about being genuine which I honestly feel I am. Are you? You need to be yourself online. Don’t try to fake it. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, and don’t mimic others. They got “there” because they are who they are. You are not them. You have a right to be heard but people need to believe you.
The whole conference was a string of beautiful moments! I’m so happy this was my first conference EVER because I am so encouraged to go back for more. My life, my career, my blog will never be the same again! Thanks BBC Dallas for schooling me and thank you Collective Bias for believing in me and connecting with me….FACE TO FACE! Real life connections are so underrated.