The goal of this conference was to empower online health advocates. There was an impressive roster of passionate health bloggers writing about many different types of ailments: breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cardiovascular diseases, leukemia (CLL, MM, WM), lupus, hepatitis C, HIV, inflammatory bowel disorders (Crohn's, colitis, etc.), mental health, multiple sclerosis, prostate cancer, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. Many of the bloggers have thousands of followers and I felt out of place and amateurish compared to them. I know that I generally fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to the blogging world and that there is a lot for me to learn.
The conference had four breakout sessions that addressed the needs of someone like me ... somewhat "just starting out." I learned more about how to analyze social media results and how to maximize my presence on social media. The challenge will now be to put that advice into practice!
Another breakout session talked about the "write side of the law." I thought I was pretty savvy on how to honor others' work, but alas, I learned I have done some things wrong and need to correct them. For example, if I use a photo from the internet, just giving credit to the photographer and the site the photo was taken from is not enough. Main point ... make sure I use either my own photos or those from public commons!
Monetizing your advocacy work was another workshop that primarily focused on getting paid for various parts of advocay. While this isn't at the top of my list of priorities, it was helpful to learn some ways to start up a one-woman-shop in my home.
Dealing with compassion fatigue was the topic of the fourth breakout session. The pointers given were much of what I had heard before, but the refresher course was welcome. The biggest takeaway I got from that was to have a plan on how to respond to repetitive requests.
Blogging can take a lot of time. I still have to decide how much time I will continue to devote to this. Minutes matter. People matter. Correct information matters. Life matters. And that's why I do what I do.