Yesterday I attended the Newcastle Writers Festival, a session entitled “How women are changing social media”. Carol Duncan of ABC Radio Newcastle shepherded Jane Caro, Kerri Sackville, Rebecca Olive and Marina Go through a discussion of how these strong women each utilise and influence social media in their work, their careers and their lives. And strong women they are – in thought, in the pursuit of their chosen field, in their passion and in solidarity; even when panelists expressed an apparent difference of opinion, the general discussion moved towards encouraging one speaker not to undervalue her voice, rather than pursue a right/wrong scenario.
I loved this session. And whilst I don’t think these women stayed directly on-topic, I didn’t care. They were successful women talking about a brave new social media world which is all-inclusive, easily accessible and tremendously exciting. They outlined concepts I understood and mentioned platforms I use. They shared anecdotes, made us laugh, nod our heads in understanding and shake them in sympathy. I walked out inspired and more determined than ever to keep exploring and contributing to this new electronic realm. It was bloody great.
I’m not going to revisit the detail of the discussion here, but I will share what I took away:
1. A reaffirmation that social media is here to stay.
This one’s important because I’ve had a minor crisis of late, mainly due to my circle of friends and family not being as enamoured with, or excited by social media as I am. I’ve felt like a bit of an island, so at the very least – the Writers Festival session has propelled me back into the archipelago.
2. An enduring admiration for the panelists.
Already a fan of Jane Caro, and with some memories of Marina Go as a teenage-magazine editor, I was unprepared for the ‘smartness’ of all 5 women at the front of the room. The quickly articulate Kerri; the powerful pocket-rocket Jane; the quietly confident and elegant Marina; the earnest and humble Rebecca; the eloquent and dulcet-toned Carol… what a powerhouse of female intelligence. If I didn’t follow or subscribe to them on twitter, WordPress, BlogSpot or the web before – I certainly do now.
3. A sunny-side-up feeling about life in general.
I’m not saying I’m the smartest person I know, not even close. Nor am I the most philanthropic or even very sympathetic person. I’ve definitely got my faults. But I think I generally recognise them; I am a work in progress. In the meantime I do try to live an ethical, empathetic and mindful life. So with this in mind – lately I’ve been reading, hearing and seeing a God-awful lot of stories about horrible, stupid, rotten and/or just mightily dumb people and things. Selfish acts by thoughtless humans. Harmful, hurtful and generally clueless things. My opinion of current, broader societal values and behaviours has been at an all-time low. My thoughts about the world my daughter will grow into have been particularly bleak. So it was truly wonderful to spend an hour or so being simply inspired, sitting with like-minded peeps and exploring…..possibilities. Thinking about and feeling empowered, acknowledging the ‘good stuff’ that can be and is being achieved by women in social media. Talking about taking people to task, accountability, exposing bullies. Listening to stories of success and shared wisdom. It. Was. Awesome. I left Newcastle City Hall with a spring in my step and a headful of smiley thoughts.
4. A compelling feeling.
I like writing, but haven’t committed to it in a long time. I did write a diary for my daughter during her first 2 years of life about her achievements, cute moments and baby-milestones, for her to read when she’s older (perhaps as a teenager when she’s not liking me so much) – but that’s it. So earlier this year I started this blog: my sanity-saver, my challenge and my biggest leap into the unknown in a long time. I’ve set myself a goal of writing once a week. It doesn’t sound like a huge commitment but as someone who works, has a partner, a 3-year-old, a household and two 15-year-old dogs, well, it is. So to walk away from an experience and actually want to write and write and write…whoa! Be still my fingers! Hold the phone on the thesaurus! Charge that lap-top! Perhaps this point should be entitled ‘Inspired’ or ‘Excited’ or ‘Caffeinated’? It doesn’t matter. The ‘gift of the urge’ is precious.
My final thoughts?
If you’re reading this blog it means you’re somewhat web savvy, so go mull over the social media stylings of the women mentioned above. You won’t regret it.
Thank you ladies.
I might not tweet, but I do use it to find info, and that’s how I found you here!
Thanks for you thoughtful comments. I always find festivals like this one inspiring too. I came away from the panels I participated in, and the others that I watched feeling excited, and brimming with ideas and motivation. I’m proud to have been a part of something that made someone else feel like that too.
Blogging is great fun and I honestly believe that it is how I focused and sharpened my own writing, so I can’t recommend it enough!
I enjoyed your thoughts on the panel, particularly on how you target and reach your intended audience. I don’t think I’ve really identified my audience or ‘tribe’ as yet – I’m simply trying to get back in the swing of putting thoughts on paper in a sensical fashion!
I appreciate the words of encouragement and will keep an eye out for your old/new twitter account. 🙂
Oh Louise, I was reading this and nodding my head in agreement, which is kind of pointless since nobody can see me (one flaw in social media – it’s pretty hard to give someone a hug when they’re not in the same room, sometimes not even the same continent). I went to a couple of events at the writers festival and I’m crazy inspired too. Maybe we could get a coffee some time and share our enthusiasm? Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the comment. I wish I’d gotten to more of the festival events. We had Martin’s 45th birthday party on the Saturday night, so I couldn’t really get to any sessions until Sunday (party prep kept me busy!). Coffee sounds good. I’m working 4 days/week and have Belle on the other, but some days I work from home so I’ll keep you posted?
By the way – I LOVED your blogpost about Neil Finn. Must have been so special.