Friday, May 15, 2015

22 Catholic Bloggers. 7 Babies. One Conference. 7 Quick Takes.


--1--

A couple weeks ago, I loaded up my sister's car with a ridiculous amount of food, baby gear, and diapers and we headed to Maryland for a Catholic Women Blogger conference.


I felt a little bit ridiculous when I brought up the topic to my husband, to make sure it would be okay to leave him with the four older kids for an entire Saturday.

"What kind of conference?"
"Um. For bloggers... But nobody's like, a HUGE blogger... Mostly we just all want to go and drink mimosas and meet each other in real life so we can stop being internet friends and be REAL friends!"
"Um. Okay?"

--2--


Peter was awesome and slept almost the whole way there, and we made our fashionably late entrance in plenty of time to partake of muffins, mimosas, and coffee while chatting with ladies I had only seen on the internet before (except I'd already met Julie, the lovely hostess, Mary, Cristina, Jamie, and Abbey... And my sister... So basically, I really get around in this blogging world!)

Animated baby gif!
--3--

Meg gave a perfect first talk on prayer, although mostly I was right outside the room trying to get Peter to settle down... And trying to take some very poorly-executed one-handed shots!


 Leah Libresco gave our keynote address, all about "Sharing our Faith in Secular Spaces" (Julie's recap here is great!), which is something I've been thinking about a lot lately - I generally steer clear of any hot-button issues on facebook, this blog, twitter, etc. I just can't argue without working myself up FAR too much, and the arguments tend to stick with me and stress me out for way too long, but her tips for keeping things civil and finding ways to love amidst disagreements were awesome.


And of course, the babies needed a break...

--4--

We broke for lunch, and as much as I wanted to help with things, I didn't do much more than stick a spoon in the pasta salad I brought before I had to get Peter settled for a nap on my back (and in case you were wondering, YES, the ergo was the baby carrier of choice for moms at the conference!) and ended up in a lovely discussion with Laura and Cristina. We took a quick group picture (do you see the wind in the hair? It was a BEAUTIFUL day!), and moved to our tables for small group discussions.


--5--


Mary of Passionate Perseverance provided the lovely floral arrangements


And we all sat down with our sangria and lunch plates do have a lovely discussion!

--6--

After lunch, Cristina Trinidad led us through a fascinating presentation on social media, which left many of us scratching our heads afterwards because guys? There's just so much information out there on how to drive traffic to your blog, how to use Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram/Facebook to connect with new readers, how to use hashtags (apparently you aren't just supposed to make them up?), and more!

Is she not adorable?
I have to admit - this kind of left me even more confused... Abbey and Rosemary's reflections on this are SO right on with what I've been feeling. 

- How much do I really want to grow my blog? I like the community that has developed here, and mostly it's just kind of happened on its own. I'm not going to spend exorbitant amounts of time trying to get thousands of followers, and I'm certainly not going to spend any money doing it!

- How much of this social media strategy is really authentically me? I could follow a million people on Twitter and Instagram to inflate my followers numbers, but really? I just want to be following people I like and am actually trying to connect with! 

- How much do I actually care about having a "pinnable image" for every post? Honestly, not much... Unless I'm playing around with picmonkey or Canva for fun, I'm not going to sit around perfecting a graphic for a post that isn't going to get shared anyway!

- Does any of it really even matter? How many people *actually* read this blog, aside from the other bloggers that I'm friends with? I think this a lot, honestly... But I enjoy writing in this little space, even though I'm far from a real writer. So I'm going to keep on because hey, at least my mom's always going to read!

It was fascinating information, but I feel like I might not be ready to process it all yet...

--7--

And so I leave you with less-than-profound thoughts on this blogging conference. It was refreshing and right to be spending the day with these lovely ladies with whom I have many things in common, most importantly the willingness to give up all of my privacy in order to share poop stories on the internet.

Okay, I might be the only one who shares poop stories.

But I'm so looking forward to getting together with them again - and I hope YOU can come get together with us next time, too!


Maybe Emily will even make you some of her delicious fudge :)

Linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes!



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