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Mumsnet BlogFest Programme - Saturday 9 November 2013

There are three strands to our BlogFest programme, each dealing with a different aspect of blogging, and jam-packed with info and advice.

BlogFest programmeBlogging... And Beyond
These sessions help you square up to some of the big issues facing bloggers. What could and should be done to tackle online abuse - and who should be responsible for doing it? Can you be a 'mummy blogger' - and still be a feminist? How can bloggers get the issues they care about on the political agenda? A great line-up of speakers share their knowledge, and debate the big questions.

 

Blogging lowdownThe Blogging Lowdown
Each of our 'need to know' sessions covers a specific skillset. Learn how to construct an unputdownable narrative - and to write with perfect comic timing. Improve your social media chops with our beginners and advanced masterclasses; learn how to gussy up your blog with gorgeous photos - and get the skinny on ways to make money from your blog: in this strand you'll find all the techie tips and marketing know-how you need to give your blog wings.


The blog clinicThe Blog Clinic
Throughout the day, we'll have a crack team of hand-picked experts standing by for bespoke advice on how to make the best of your blog. So whether you want a frank critique of your blog design, or to know how to get the most out of WordPress; whether you need a legal-eagle to point out potential pitfalls, or you're desperate to understand what the heck affiliate marketing actually is - come and grab an expert for one-to-one advice, suggestions and solutions.

Have a look at our programme below - though do note that some details might change due to unforeseen circumstances!


9am - 9.30am

Registration and coffee

9.30am - 9.40am

Welcome and introduction from Mumsnet

9.40am - 10.30am

Keynote panel

Blogging... And Beyond


The new Wild West: what kind of internet do we want? 
 
Recent events have reminded us that, for women, the internet can seem a pretty lawless place. Online abuse aimed at those who raise their heads above the parapet now seems a given, and social networks have been notoriously slow to deal with aggressors - even those whose threats of violence, if uttered offline, would be criminal offences.
 
So what can be done - and who should be responsible for doing it? Should social networks be held to account for the messages they publish, or is it impractical to demand that they police their users? How will we decide what goes beyond the pale? Is free speech always worth fighting for - even when it terrifies and humiliates its targets? And is there a converse danger that women whose views challenge the mainstream could themselves be silenced by online censorship?
 
In this keynote session, panellists and audience will together puzzle out an answer to the question, 'What kind of internet do we want?'
 
This session is kindly sponsored by TalkTalk.

10.30am - 11.05am  

Morning break and Blog Clinic sign-up

11.05am - 11.55am

Breakout session

The Blogging Lowdown

Social Media: beginners Daisy Griffith
Social Media: advanced - Paul Armstrong


Whether you want to drive more traffic to your blog, shout loud about an issue that you're passionate about, or just have a proper laugh with like-minded online buddies - these sessions will show you how to get what you need from social media. Daisy Griffith of School of Social will deliver a beginners' session for those of you who need a nudge to get your social mojo fully operational. And we're thrilled to welcome back Paul Armstrong from Digital Orange Consulting who wowed you at the last BlogFest with his energy and expert knowledge; he'll be leading an advanced session for those who are already swimming unaided, but could use some expert tips on maximising re-tweets and likes, and generally harnessing the power of social media amplification. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest - we are *totally* across all platforms ;-)

11.05am - 11.55am

Breakout session

The Blogging Lowdown


In it for the LOLZ: writing funnier stuff 
Viv Groskop (chair), Andrea Mann, Tim Dowling, Sonya Cisco (Ramblings of a Formerly Rock'n'Roll Mum)
 
Fancy a masterclass in how to turn life’s blinders into bitesize nuggets of yer actual comedy gold? Then this is the session for you. 
 
His wryness Tim Dowling, author and stand-up Viv Groskop, and blogger and HuffPo Comedy Ed Andrea Mann will be joined by other special guests for a masterclass in comic writing.  From crafting a cracking anecdote, to delivering a killer one-liner; from parodic exaggeration to deadpan understatement; from the mysterious 'rule of three' to a fully-extended double entendre - this session will give you practical tips to help you sharpen your comedy chops.

12.00pm - 12.40pm

Keynote session

Blogging... And Beyond

Think bombs 
Dr Sue Black, Prof Tanya Byron and Jon Ronson

Three inspirational speakers - Prof Tanya Byron, Jon Ronson and Professor Sue Black - deliver five-minute idea-blasts, themed around 'Future minds: how will technology shape how we think?' Expect to have your neurons fired, your synapses stimulated and your preconceptions challenged.

12.40pm - 2pm  

Lunch and Blog Clinic

Grab a spot of (delicious) lunch, and have a natter with your fellow bloggers - and don't forget to visit our Blog Clinic for bespoke, one-to-one advice.

2pm - 2.50pm

Breakout session

The Blogging Lowdown

Beyond Words: image-led blogging
Carrie Barclay and Darren Baldwin (DIGITAL Bungalow)

Want to give your blog a visual boost? Our snap-happy experts will help you get the most out of your pics. From brushing up your composition and image editing tips to using photography effectively as a social media tool, and making the most of your smart phone. If you're keen to make your blog a feast for the eye, this session is full of practical tips and inspiration.

2pm - 2.50pm

Breakout session

The Blogging Lowdown

How to make money from your blog 

Maisie McCabe (chair), Rachael Lucas, Emily Leary (A Mummy Too), Gina Schauffer (Zone), Tom Allin (Skimlinks)
 
Fancy earning a crust from your hard blogging labour? Have a feeling you could monetise your blog - if only you fully understood what 'monetise' means? This session is designed to demystify the various ways that bloggers can make money from their blogs - whether that be via affiliate advertising, sponsored posts and reviews - or a book deal. Join Tom Allin from Skimlinks, Gina Schauffer from hotshot digital agency Zone, and Rachael Lucas of Tales From the Village (whose self-published novel reached number one in the Harper Collins Authonomy Charts).

2pm - 2.50pm

Breakout session

Blogging... And Beyond


Shaping the debate: how blogging and social media can change our world
Helen Lewis (chair), Laura Bates (Everyday Sexism), Jack Monroe (A Girl Called Jack), Tanya Barrow (Mummy Barrow), Tania Tirraoro (Special Needs Jungle)
 
Want to shake things up? In this powerhouse session, Laura Bates of Everyday Sexism will share how she managed to turn a 'niche' issue into a national debate, and A Girl Called Jack will give tips on making your voice heard in the corridors of power. Hear from campaigning dynamo Mummy Barrow, on how she dunnit - and more top-notch speakers from the world of politics and activism to be announced. This will be an unmissable how-to session for those who want to change the world we live in.
 
This session is kindly sponsored by Red and Yellow Care.

3pm - 3.50pm

Breakout session

The Blogging Lowdown


Quick fixes: down and dirty blogging how-tos
Jemima Kiss (chair), Jax Blunt, Annie Spratt (Mammasaurus), Maggy Woodley (Red Ted Art) and Lisa Myers
 
We've lined up a roster of blogging behemoths who are ready to answer your queries about any and all aspects of blogging and social media. Got a small worry about layout - or a big "what's it all about" question? Uncertain whether to go self-hosted - or how to connect with a community who share your values? We've corralled blogging powerhouses Mammasaurus, Red Ted Art, Jax Blunt and others tee-bee-ay into a room - with the promise that if they share their blogging know-how, we'll eventually let them leave.

3pm - 3.50pm

Breakout session

The Blogging Lowdown

 
Cracking yarns and tall tales: how to tell a better story 
 
This practical session will drill down on the skills required to craft an un-put-downable narrative -  whether shortform (like a blog post), or longform (your magnum opus). Celebrated authors, columnists and bloggers share tips on how to tell your story with authenticity, passion and personality - be it crafted fiction, an opinion piece, or a deceptively simple snapshot of family life. They’ll offer guidance on everything from finding your natural tone and subject matter, to plotting out your narrative; from identifying the heart of your story, to - crucially - knowing what to leave unsaid. All this and much more, in a session that really will help you squeeze the very best out of your own unique narrative voice.

3pm - 3.50pm

Breakout session

The Blogging Lowdown


Beautify your blog: how to make your site look awesome
Gemma Regalado-Hawkey (Jane&Philbert)
 
If you’re fed up with your blog looking just like everyone else’s, but can’t afford to splash the cash on a web designer to pretty up the look of your site, Gemma from Jane&Philbert is here to help. Find out how to beautify your blog - without the need for coding skills (phew) -  by picking the perfect template, choosing great typography and even designing your own header graphics with completely free resources.

3.50pm - 4.20pm 

Afternoon break

4.20pm - 5pm

Keynote panel

Blogging... And Beyond


Can you be a 'mummy-blogger', and still be a feminist?
 
Is 'mummy blogger' a badge you wear with pride? Or do you take the position held by the famously forthright Bloggess: "don't call me mommy unless you actually came out of my vagina"?
 
In this keynote session we'll hear from feminist icon Charlotte Raven, who'll be joined by powerful new blogging voices Glosswitch and Sarah Ditum, and Alison Perry of Not Another Mummy Blog. Together with our audience, we'll debate the sexual politics of blogging as a parent. Does a focus on domestic life reinforce the cliche that mothers' heads are filled with cupcakes and bunting? Or is it high time that writing about the detail of family life - for too long dismissed as trivial and tedious - was reclaimed as a feminist act?

5pm - 5.30pm

Keynote speech

Closing keynote speech from Jo Brand

We're thrilled that the wonderful Jo Brand - comedian, author, actor and (occasionally scurrilous) national treasure - will be delivering our closing keynote.

5.30pm - 5.40pm

Closing remarks and thank you

5.40pm - 7pm

Drinks reception

Celebrate the end of what is sure to have been a brilliant day by joining us for a glass or two of something cold and delicious, a nibble or two, and - of course - a lovely goody bag.