OK, so there’s actually no reel. Unless, of course, you count this:
And then there’s that one video that Christella Morris filmed late Friday night during an impromptu karaoke session in BlissDom‘s after-hours lounge at the Delta Meadowvale. But I don’t think she’s posting that one publicly (thank God).
This was my fourth social media conference in two years and my second BlissDom. This time around, I was a “community leader,” which basically meant that I had to teach some folks about one of my areas of expertise (public relations) and drink the proverbial BlissDom Kool-Aid, which isn’t hard to do.
Actually, it’s pretty easy to drink, because the minute you step foot around the likes of Jenn Powell and Shannon “Shash” Mischuk, you can just leave your self-importance at the door and shed any bit of shyness because they create this incredible atmosphere of goodness and kindness and warmth. Oh, and fun. So. Much. Fun.
Of course there’s learning thrown in for good measure — like the Google Analytics microsession with Jenn Perry; the panel on writing with big names like Sandra Martin, Brandie Weikle, Jen Reynolds, Marci O’Connor and Ann Douglas; or the opportunity to deliver an in-person pitch to a brand you’ve always wanted to work with, like Chevrolet in my case — and many opportunities to feel inspired during sessions that want to make you change the world, like when we heard about the Global Soap Project from the smoothly charming Derreck Kayongo.
Yet out of three days of sessions, my favourite part of conferences like these continues to be making online connections offline. Putting real faces to Twitter avatars. Running amok in a sort of speed-dating-style frenzy that always ends in me asking someone’s Twitter handle after they introduce themselves by name only. Meeting new people whose work I’ve never read, and then making a mad dash to a computer to stalk them and find out what I’ve been missing all this time — especially when they end up being so on the verge of amazingly nutbars that you can only assume their blogs will be interesting and engaging. And probably so funny that you’ll pee your pants a little, which I know is easy to do after jumping like a 12-year-old on an inflated Twister mat during the BlissDom welcome reception. (Here’s looking at you, Kyla Cornish and Kristine Laco!)
There are a lot of laughs during the conference, but there are amazing moments rife with raw emotion, too. Like a group of near-strangers who gathered around a piano to sing Lean On Me, with Marya managing to do the chords justice while the rest of us actually found harmony. Literally. Or the tears that erupted as influencers passionately pitched brands, telling stories that maybe they’d never shared before in a public forum. And being able to connect with acquaintances who were real friends by the end of the three-day whirlwind.
Other highlights: I rocked my Dress Mavens dress and didn’t seem to offend anyone with its daringly plunging neckline; fan-girled all over Matt Clarke of Convos With My 2 Year Old fame; discovered the magical undereye makeup of Daniel Thompson with Alex; got kicked out of my own hotel room (admittedly, with good reason — there were at least 15 crooners on two mics busting out hits from the ’90s at the time…and it was easily midnight); found a lentil in my bra; had a beautifully intimate dinner with Crystal and Erin; danced in PJs; and functioned on very little sleep, considering I’m an old lady.
I’m grateful for this community, and thankful for having a conference like BlissDom that brings us all together. It’s only because of sponsors that any of us can even afford the ticket, so huge thanks needs to go out to Chevrolet Canada, KAHLÚA Canada (who happens to be my client as well), Manulife, Canadian Lentils, Tim Hortons, Rent frock Repeat, PercyVites, Church & Dwight, Delta, Trend Trunk, Harley Pasternak, Wine Country Ontario, Kleenex Viva Advantage, Luigi Bormioli, Unicef, Dress Mavens, Ontario Pioneer Camp, Roots, Leon’s, Pure Barre, Bellies Inc, philosophy, Spectro, Hasbro, Starlight Children’s Foundation, Camp Tech, flipp, and all of the other supporters and media partners listed here.