It’s crazy how much can happen in a year. At this time in 2011, I was raising money to attend the Blogging While Brown conference and Black Weblog Awards in LA. I was a much less known Slim. And when the conference came around, I was just happy to be there…hellacious travel and all.
If you were rocking with me then, you know about the great people I met, how women form Voltron and love natural things, and how horribly inefficient I was when it came to time management. You know that I had a great time at the conference and made it a point to be at the next one…even if it was in Atlantis despite the fact I can’t swim. #SlimDontSwim
Fortunately, the 2012 Blogging While Brown Conference wasn’t in Atlantis. It was in Philly. BWB 2012 was like a bowl of rotini covered in a delectable awesome sauce. This year’s conference was exquisite not because I was a speaker (though it was dope to go from attendee to speaker), or because it was only two hours away from NYC (though I loved being able to drive). It was exquisite because of the people I met. There were so many new faces this year that I couldn’t help but shed an invisible unicorn tear that turned into a tattoo. Everybody was so happy to be there. Add on to that the list of speakers that BWB managed to pull together and it was just…just…beautiful. I’m not gonna recap everybody I met this time because well…I’d undoubtedly forget to mention some folks. However, I do wanna cover a few lessons learned.
I Need A Quality Camera
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Droid — nonfunctioning buttons and all — but the camera can be quite janky. I need a real joint that snaps quality photos and makes me yell “I am…SOMEBODY!” This post isn’t void of pictures because I’m lazy. It’s because I didn’t take any! Oh wait. Hold up. I took one! **Essence of Emeril Voice: BAM**
To Not Go To Conferences Means To Not Want To Win
You may disagree if you’re already a self-proclaimed winner. But for me, some of the connects I made and the side conversations that followed were pretty damn bawse — particularly the ones I had with Jennifer Polk of Edelman Digital and Lamar Tyler from Black and Married With Kids. Add on to that the wealth of information shared during panels and it’s like “Sh*t, why wouldn’t I be here? I wanna win! I wanna be great!” And I shall.
Every Post Is A First Impression
I’ve known this for a while, but it was reaffirmed during the Blogs & Brands panel…which literally had me clicking my heels under the table and tweeting with reckless yet productive abandon. This session alone was worth the drive. As for the heading of this list item, I was reminded that you never know who’s reading your work. It could be a brand manager, a media buying company representative, or an executive at a potential client that just happened across your site or article one day. If you don’t stay on point, you will lose points. And losing points could cost you money.
This isn’t to say every post needs to be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, but…
If you’re not passionate about it, then you shouldn’t write about it.
Forced posts will do you no good.
Afrobellla Is Awesome
Since I wouldn’t post a picture of me with people I don’t like, you probably figured that out from the image above. But I gotta say, she reps hard for the niceness of women from or residing in the midwest (Why are yall so damn nice?!). I also think in another universe — perhaps just in my head — she wears a tiara and carries a wand that makes that “sprinkle” sound, turns things natural, obliterates blemishes, and causes smiley faces and optimistic outlooks. #PiscesTeam
Your Personal Brand Is How People Feel About You
I saw Scott, Luvvie, and Adria’s presentation on personal brand the night before and I knew it would be a hit. By the time I saw it on Saturday morning, it had tripled its win quotient. Edutainment at its finest.
Humor aside, it gave me a lot of answers and tactics to solve some problems I’ve been thinking about over the last year. As LuvBug said during her portion of the presentation, “Your brand is how people feel about you.” I hadn’t really thought about it in those words before, but it put things in perspective. For me, consistency in brand has been a challenge. Not that I’m an internet chameleon or brown Hulk, but I’m the face of two (soon to be three) sites that are about completely different things. I think I’ve figured out how to marry it all together. I’ll tell you more about that later.
And my last thought…
There Is A Ton Of Opportunity Out There
There are so many people out there willing to help you if you ask. There are companies waiting to give you money if you want it. We really have to stop looking at everything as a competition or intractable obstacle because of current circumstances. When I was sitting on my panel, I just kept thinking about the platform I have, my interests, and the number of people that cared what I had to say and genuinely expressed their hope for my success. It was humbling and inspirational. But more importantly, it reaffirmed that I can accomplish whatever I want in this space if I work and ask questions. You can do the same. Not just online, but anywhere. Just make sure you surround yourself with the right people.
That’s all I got for this go around. I’ll see yall later this week. A lot going on as usual!