Last week I attended an event called ‘Influencing in 2020’, it was organised by the awesome Culture Vulture and she had lined up a panel of lush speakers including local blogger Nyomi Winter, MD of Crystallised Laura Rothwell and podcaster/insta-influencer Rosie Ramsey. It was a really thought-provoking event and I could relate to so much of what was discussed. I especially loved these slides from Mandy Barker’s presentation (she’s the founder of Sail Creative) as they highlighted some of the ups and downs of being a blogger that I’ve experienced over the years….
Last night, I spoke at #Influencing2020 about authenticity & social media for good. Thank you for being a lush audience! 🌈 Round up blog: https://t.co/7Z3JZ9HyDU @beccajamesuk @GoCivTheatre @YolkaDigital @DeanFReynolds @rachmotormouth @reettinker @nomipalony @_katiemeehan pic.twitter.com/rHWw86LXSl
— Sail Creative (@Sail_Creative) February 7, 2020
After listening to these inspiring ladies speak and spending 5 hours in a room filled with hard working, down to earth people who radiated positivity, I came away feeling fired up and ready to approach my blog and social media with a new found enthusiasm.
Before I explain the changes I want to make and why, let me take you back a little bit to when I first started blogging…
My first experience of blogging was in 2012 when I was thrown in at the deep end after winning a competition to be Visit England’s ‘Fan in a Van’. I’d impressed the tourist board by making a three minute video about my beloved Newcastle and after being grilled by a panel of judges I was sent on an epic 70 day road trip in a vintage campervan, armed with a digital camera and a Macbook (neither of which I knew how to work)!
The ten week itinerary was action packed as I followed the route of the Olympic Torch around the country. I had to blog, tweet and video my experiences as I went along, often while staying on campsites with very poor wifi. It was a huge challenge but I absolutely loved it!
When the trip came to an end I really missed blogging so I set about creating Life in Geordieland. I have been sharing my top tips for making the most of what the North East has to offer ever since!
When I think back to how I approached life in 2012, I wonder where I got my energy from and am amazed by how fearless I was. In recent years self doubt has crept in and my spontaneity seems to have dwindled.
So, what was so different back then? Well… I’d just recovered from cancer and I think that had a lot to do with it. After battling a life-threatening illness and overcoming the physical side effects of surgery, radiotherapy and chemo I felt like I could do anything! I embraced opportunities with a new found appreciation for life and had a huge desire to make amazing memories with the love of my life, James. It also helped matters that we had good jobs and low monthly outgoings, so our work life balance was pretty awesome!
Fast forward to today and as well as a growing number of grey hairs and wrinkles, self-imposed barriers have appeared that weren’t there before! A voice in my head regularly says things like ‘don’t do that, you’ll embarrass yourself’, ‘stop wasting time having fun, you should be growing your business or cleaning the house’ and ‘nobody wants to see a frumpy 38 year old rabbiting on about her day to day life on social media’.
Even just writing that last paragraph has made me feel sad. I realised at the Influence 2020 conference that my favourite people on social media (and in real life) are folks just like me, doing every day but often really interesting and entertaining stuff. I follow them and read their blogs because I love hearing about their ups and downs, it helps me relate to them and I look forward to their content because of it!
During a panel discussion at the conference Paul from For the Love of the North talked about how he used to hide under the duvet and listen to Terry Wogan when he was younger, he said he felt like he really knew him. I bet lots of my North East followers used to stay up and listen to Nightowls on Metro Radio in a similar fashion, the presenter Alan Robson was a familiar friend to thousands!
This made me think about the similarities with social media today. I often watch Rosie Ramsey’s instastories while enjoying my morning cuppa or will read a few posts by my favourite bloggers before bedtime, it’s how I get my daily fix of random shenanigans and north east banter. Glossy magazines, London based radio presenters and middle-class bloggers with over stylised content simply don’t relate to me or make me smile in the same way.
I really wasn’t sure how this blog post would turn out, I just started to write what I was feeling and it’s definitely turned in to a ramble (well done if you have read this far)! I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve realised my content has been lacking a bit personality recently and that I shouldn’t be afraid to open up more on my blog and social media. Vibrant and engaging content definitely seems to come from not taking myself too seriously!
As a result, you can expect to see more of the uncurated me, the perfectly imperfect me and a little bit of the fearless 27 year old me coming through in my future content! After all, it’s just a bit of fun isn’t it?