It’s been a busy week for me as I’ve been to three events this week; all of them digital and each of them unique.
First was the Cannt (the antihero of Cannes), the second was the NMA Awards at The Grovesnor (where my fabulous colleague Laura JB won The Greatest Contribution to New Media Award) and the third, my home from home; Cybermummy.
Cybermummy was so much fun and incredibly social in the true meaning of the word. It embraces the chaos and joy of life and kids are part of the package. Not an eyebrow was raised, just warm smiles, as I arrived with my daughter in tow (who snaffled every chocolate and cupcake on offer before sloping off with a goodie bag). The event celebrates the Mummy blogging phenomenon and is leading the overwhelmingly positive movement among women bloggers, as referenced here in The Independent. And most of all, it’s a bit of a laugh.
So what’s it really like?
As we arrived at the we were greeted by a very jolly doorman, who wouldn’t have been out of place at The Savoy, at The Brewery on Chiswell Street.
‘Welcome to Cybermummy!’ he announced.
Blimey, I thought, it’s all gone a bit posh this year. The venue was a cool space in the City and very impressively laid out over three floors.
My favourite place was The Recharge Zone – it was very serene with massage therapists, two hair stylists, a make up artist, a medicine ball advice area and a smoothie bar. As planned, I took full advantage of this and my hair done, a massage and a smoothie.
Inside Cybermummy Central was a vast array of branded stands from the likes of Disney, Savlon, The Portland Hospital, Crocs, Boots, Savlon and more. There was a plethora of branded cupcakes and mints on hand to refresh the hordes of bloggers and some lovely wine courtesy of Naked. Many sponsors, such as Butlins, were keen to sign up brand ambassadors to spread the word about their companies, while others such as Hyundai were there to listen and interact with bloggers. Bloggers were given a Cybermummy passport which was filled with the logos of all the sponsors. The passport had to be signed by all the sponsors in order to enter a competition. I made it round to all of them and was encouraged to sign up for other competitions on the stands. I didn’t win anything. I did give away my details. I didn’t mind. The people were really well informed about their products and enjoying being part of the event so it didn’t feel like a big sell. I also knew quite a lot of the sponsor already so it was nice to catch up with them face to face. The event feels like meeting up with an extended and enormous family.
There were quite a few speakers, including keynote Sarah Brown who I was very keen to see. She told the story of how she and Martha Lane Fox worked through the various social media channels available and how she chose twitter. I liked her approach to social media; she spoke with a voice of experience so was a great choice. Sadly I was far too fidgety to sit around for the other speakers and checked out a couple of workshops.
There were four schedules of three workshops running concurrently. I went to Inspiring Content which was great because it was about sharing learnings; Tara Cain, Karamina and Red Ted Art were honest, informative and fun. The WordPress workshop was a bit too 101 but a few people I spoke to were keen to move from blogger so this would have been a great starter for them.
There were a couple of classic clangers; Sophie King upset a few bloggers in her workshop (which I’m glad I missed) by telling them to rebrand, and Boris Johnson’s sister claimed she didn’t know anything about social media (according to some tweets) – well, you can’t please all the people can you?
And the rest?
I have to confess I spent much of my time mooching around and speaking to people I haven’t seen for ages and making new friends. We all spend so much time on our laptops and gadgets that it’s a joy to put them aside for a day. I was armed with all my usual blogging paraphernalia but instead of live blogging, I checked it into the cloakroom.
At the end of the conference, screens drew back to reveal a bar for the networking drinks. It was a great way to end the event. I reckon it should be a full weekend next year – Jen, Sian, Susanna – are you listening?
To conclude; social media is such a personable business and an event like this shows brands how it should be done – I hope a lot of social media practitioners are taking note of this. And to everyone I had the pleasure of catching up with, I hope to see you all again soon.
So what’s next? I shall spend the next few days weeding through the sample packs.
And if you’re coming to the IAB Social Media Conference on Tuesday – come and say hello.