|MOD Police Search Dog by UK Ministry of Defence, (CC BY-NC 2.0)|
A few weeks ago, I discovered an unexpected message in my inbox. I read it a few times before saying, “Hey girls, I’ve been invited to the Catholic Digital Media Conference. And I’ve been asked to speak about blogging!”
My daughters looked up from their computers and grinned. I grinned too.
I wasn’t altogether sure the message hadn’t been sent to the wrong person. Why me? Did I actually have anything worth saying? And how did the conference organiser find my blog?
A few exchanged emails later, I began to believe I was actually going to speak at a conference. No, a mistake hadn’t been made. I was off to the CDMC.
“Do you want to come with me?” I asked my daughter Imogen. “You’re a blogger too. You might enjoy it. We could have a couple of days away together.”
Imogen thought this was a great idea, and soon we were searching online for suitable accommodation.
“North Sydney… I‘m sure that’s where Mary MacKillop Place is,” I said, as I opened my computer. “Perhaps we could stay there.” A few minutes later, I discovered there were exactly two available rooms left for the required night. “Shall I book them?” Imogen nodded.
So I clicked the booking button and entered all our details. Then I said, “Perhaps I should have checked exactly where the conference is before reserving our rooms. Oh well, I don’t suppose it can be too far away. They are both in North Sydney.”
Maybe you know what I’m about to say next. I did discover the CDMC wasn’t very far from Mary MacKillop Place. In fact it was absolutely no distance away at all. It was at Mary MacKillop Place! Some discoveries are unexpectedly perfect.
So Imogen and I went to the conference and I met the organiser who’d invited me to come along.
“How did you find me and my blog?” I asked.
“I did some googling,” he replied, “and I found a Catholic blog roll. I scrolled through it looking for Aussie blogs and discovered yours.”
I suppose he visited my blog and checked it out before issuing the invitation. Actually I know he read some of my posts. He mentioned one from three years ago.
I joined that Catholic blog roll a few years ago when I was a brand new blogger. I’d created my blog and written a few posts (after realising that’s what bloggers are supposed to do!) Then I sat back and shouted, “Here I am world! Come and read my posts!” But of course, no one came. Why would they? No one knew my blog existed.
What I needed was Bob Blogosphere. He could have interviewed me and then written a wonderful article about my blog for the Blogosphere News. People would have flocked to Sue Elvis Writes, I’m sure. But as that was never going to happen, I had to find another way to announce to the world that my blog had arrived. So I joined a few blog rolls instead.
What is a blog roll? It’s a list of blogs, together with their web addresses. Some blog rolls invite bloggers to add their links to it. As long you fulfil a basic requirement, you can belong. Of course, you have to have a Catholic blog if you want to be added to a Catholic blog roll. And there’s not much point putting your blog on a homeschooling roll if you don’t homeschool.
Do you have a new blog? Would you like to be discovered? Then connect with other bloggers by joining a blog roll. You never know where it might lead. It could take you all the way to a Catholic Digital Media Conference. You too could be thinking, “Has he made a mistake? Does he really want ME to speak? How does he even know my blog exists?”
But as exciting as being asked to speak sounds, I discovered that wasn’t the most important thing about being invited to the conference. I soon found out that I didn’t have nearly as much to offer other people, as they had to offer me. I came back from a very inspiring conference with my head buzzing with ideas.
On the first day of the CDMC we heard the word collaboration. I discovered we can do good things by ourselves, but we can do great things when we collaborate with others, sharing our talents and learning from each other.
What do you think? Do you collaborate? Have you been given the opportunity to be involved with amazing things all because of other people? I'd love to hear your stories!
You can also find me on my Sue Elvis Writes Facebook Page. I'd love to see you there!
Image: I wonder what this police dog has just discovered.