Saturday, September 22, 2012

OMG I'm doing it all wrong!

"If a poet sees a daffodil he stares at it and writes a long poem about it, but Twoflower wanders off to find a book on botany. And treads on it."
- Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic

OK, but - I hear you asking, O Faithful Reader, - what do we owe this quote to? 
To which I will reply: Shut your mouth, O Faithful Reader, and mind your own business. Since when do I need a logical reason to throw in a Discworld reference? 
Geez. Faithful Readers nowadays!

Anyway, if you have to know: I think my brain must be wired much like Twoflower's, because I generally have an urge to do the same - sticking my nose into a thing, picking it apart until I feel I got a good grasp of how it works. 
Then I either lose interest in it, or fall head-over-heels for it, at which point I will obsess over it until I am satisfied I'm doing it just right.

Take, for instance, this whole blogging business.

I am an avid blog reader; blogs are what I resort to during those interminable night shifts at work, or whenever I feel like stalking other people's pantry (and frankly, it happens quite often.)
I know sometimes I take an immediate liking to a blog I just stumbled into while googling for some recipe or other, and other times I find one that is choke filled with food I absolutely love, but something ineffable about its layout repels me so strongly that I have to give it up unless I can get the bare text through my feeds reader.

You'd suppose I should be able to put a finger on what works for me, and mimic it in my own blog. But NO.

So when one of those social buying websites offered a strongly discounted ticket for a blogging seminar to be held in my town, I decided to attend.

According to the confirmation mail I got, the seminar was going to start this morning at 9.00, in a hotel quite far from where I live. I had to wake up a 6.00 this morning... which is nothing unusual to me, but what the heck! I took a day off for this, I was hoping to get some more sleep!
I was a bit grumpy already by the time I reached the hotel (I wish I had taken some pics, but I felt kinda self-conscious standing there in the hall...)

We were about 40 people in there, and after a while it become clear to us that something was wrong - the receptionist wasn't telling us anything, but she was looking a little frantic.
One of the would-be attendees, on her own initiative, contacted the speaker through Facebook and discovered that he wasn't even in town... so in the end, the organisation admitted to the boo-boo. They could send in a replacement speaker, in a couple hours.

I won't describe what happened next, because it wasn't pretty. Some of the people there had come by train from other parts of the country; others were counting on the seminar to be over in the early afternoon, and had things to do later on.
We might, as a whole, have been a bit hard on the hotel staff, who had no fault since they were only providing a location. It is also true that they'd have kept there indefinitely without an explaination, even though no one was arriving so there could be no doubt that something fishy was going on. And even afterwards... they could have, I don't know, offered us coffee. Or told us where the toilets were, should we need them. But no, they just hoarded us all in a corner so that we wouldn't bother their paying guests.

In the end, those among us who stayed got to hear some very good tips about blogging in general (although the seminar was nominally geared towards foodies).
The speaker was very nice and knew his subject matter quite well - a bit too well maybe, as I felt the strategies he outlined were meant for people aiming at making a living out of their online presence, as opposed to those who blog for fun in their spare time (but still wish to make a decent job of it.)
And while I don't agree with everything he said, he most definitely made some good points. Namely:

1.  My blog should reflect my own personality. I must accept that not everyone will like it.

2.  I should update it more regularly (although I don't feel I need to go so far as posting on fixed days, like he suggested.)

3.  I should put some effort into my online presence - while I HATE Facebook with a passion, there are other social networks such as Pinterest and Google+, which I could use to keep in touch with other foodies.

4.  And finally, while I'm not interested in running a "food porn" blog, my pics should not, at the very least, be painful to look at.
(Guess what? My inner Twoflower is telling me a photography class might be in order...)

I've just got back home (after being out for more than 12 hours) so I'm positively exhausted. I can't say I am happy with the organisation, even when I take into account the cheap price of the ticket. But I got to chat with other foodies and hopefully our online paths will cross in the future, so all in all, it has been a positive and interesting experience.

...Oh, and right now my sweetie's texting me about how much his son liked my Mario cake.

Yep I did it! Yay me!

I have lotsa pics to show you, of course, but I just don't have enough steam left in me to download them right now. 

Stay tuned!

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