Saturday, September 21, 2013

Problogger and how to dilute the Awkward

Awkward - the elephant in the lobby of QT.
Image © Victor Zastol`skiy |

Last week I attended the 2013 Problogger Training Event, where 450 bloggers got together to learn more about their craft. Many bloggers more accomplished than I have written fabulous posts about their experiences. 

So, in keeping with the tradition I started last year, I won't be talking in-depth about the conference here. In case you're curious, here are the messages that resonated with me this year:
  • It's OK to be multi-passionate
  • We should be wary of the trap that is accidental competency
  • Instead of working on improving your weaknesses, work on making your strengths world-beating.
With that out of the way, I want to talk about the elephant in the conference room. In fact I don't want to just talk about her, I want to pop a purple tutu on her, sprinkle some glitter on her tusks and parade her around the room to some particularly jarring circus music to make sure she catches your attention.

This elephant's name is Awkward.

The blogging world considers itself a community; a happy, loving band of like-minded people who share a passion for getting their message across via words and pictures. We like to be seen as a cohesive group of good-natured, professionally-behaved, amiable folk.

I think this is bullshit. Bloggers are no more an amorphous homogenous mass than any other group of diverse and competitive human beings.

Sure, most bloggers share a camaraderie which is truly delightful and this is one of the reasons I go to these events. I've developed some solid, lasting friendships with my blogging friends. However, when you get 450 bloggers in one place it swiftly becomes apparent how different we all are.

These differences can lead to discomfort. I love Problogger because I get to catch up with some fellow bloggers who I truly adore. You know who you are.

What happens, though, when bloggy relationships go south? How do you deal with having to see someone after your friendship has crashed in such a massive flaming wreck that it was visible for several miles and reported on the evening news?

Awk... ward.

Here are some handy tips on how to avoid Awkward at a blogging conference:
  1. When you see the person you want to avoid, rush up to them, give them a huge hug and plant a kiss on their cheek. Babble on brightly as if the plane crash that was your friendship's demise never happened. This neatly transfers the Awkward from you to them. Use this technique with care - they may call your bluff and return the Awkward by pashing you. This leaves you with nowhere to go unless you're prepared to sexually harass them. This could get ugly for everyone and lead to you both having to burn down your blogs and leave social media forever. 
  2. Challenge your nemesis to a drinking contest at the cocktail event. The loser must burn down their blog and leave social media forever. 
  3. Move around the conference in a small gaggle of people to always dilute the Awkward (450 people should do it).
  4. Don't sit next to your ex-friend accidentally. I can't stress this one enough. DO NOT ACCIDENTALLY SIT NEXT TO YOUR BLOGGING NEMESIS. Be alert at all times; particularly when sitting. Or standing. Or walking. 
  5. Slip something into your bloggy ex-friend's tea so that they spend the conference comatose in a corner. Alternatively, do the same to yourself. Don't do both; that would be expensive and wasteful over-achieving.
  6. Don't go. This is a 100% fool-proof way to avoid Awkward. And everything else, for that matter.
The truth is out; bloggers don't all like each other. I hope these simple tips will mean you don't ever need to burn down your blog and leave social media forever, just because you forgot to dilute the Awkward.   

Have you ever experienced Awkward?
How did you deal with her?



  1. Thankfully, I didn't experience awkward at the conference, but have at other times. I wish I had had your tips then. And now I want all the gory, juicy details. I'm glad you survived the awkward, but the sitting next to your nemesis? Not cool.

    1. Ah, well, I never said I did... but, you know *wink*


  2. Gold. You are so right. It's unrealistic for everyone to like everyone else. I don't really think I have a nemesis, although there are certainly people I'm not particularly fond of. I'm only sorry I didn't get to pash you, because I'm really good at that shit. Kx

    1. Well there's always next time Kim ;-) xxxx

  3. Would passing the baby count instead of hugging them? Cause you've just totally solved any awkward I'll feel in the future!

    1. Oh I think so, baby-passing is an excellent strategy!!! x

  4. That is GOLD!!! I wish I was there!!

    The elephant in the purple tutu and glitter tusks! I love it!!! XxDani

  5. And here I was thinking that the big take out message from the conference was that and I paraphrase here "if you are frightened something big is about to happen".
    The advice you have given transcends the blogging scene into every day life ;-)

  6. Hmmm.... now I'm intrigued!

    Fortunately I don't actually have any blogging nemeses. (Well, from my side! I think I'm too insignificant and remote - physically!). There are some bloggers who cause me to eye roll when I read their stuff or see their updates on SM, but the time I have to spend with them is so minimal I can be nice to anyone once a year for a minute or two here or there....