THE TAKEAWAY

Every time I've gone to a BlogHer conference, I've come home fired up and ready to make major changes to the blog and write write write and take more pictures, better pictures and to speak out more against injustice in this world and raise more money for charities. I come back ready to change the world with my blog or I have at least gained some new techie knowledge to help me make my blog better for changing the world. This time? Not so much. Or I've just gotten way more mellow with age. This is not to say that I gained nothing from attending the conference or that I wouldn't recommend attending the conference. If you are new to blogging, this conference has invaluable tools and information for all things social media. Not to mention it is a great way to meet other women who have shared interests and build a following. I've gone from kind of wanting a following to not really caring if I have a following. It's not the reason I blog. I was talking to a woman at the conference and she asked me how long I've been blogging and I was shocked to realize that I have been blogging at Elephant Soap for almost fifteen years. I might have five more readers now then I did in those early years.

I attended a workshop on mobile photo editing thinking that I would learn about some new camera apps. I did not discover any new app that I didn't already have on my phone, but I was inspired to go back to a couple of those apps and give them another try. Snapseed and VSCOcam are two photo apps that I have on my phone that I never use. I think I tried using them once or twice, but then got lazy and didn't want to really spend time learning how to use them. I discovered an editing tool in Snapseed that I had been looking for but not finding in my other camera apps. I had shoved this app over into an unused section of photo apps on my phone. It's now been moved up. VSCOcam has inspired me to rethink my 365 day project. My Instagram feed is messy and random and I love it, but I'd like my 365 things that make me happy pictures to stand out. I want a cohesive artistic flow to them and I want them all in one place. VSCOcam is turning out to be that place. And because I'm working on having a cohesive artistic flow of images, it is making me more mindful of how and what I photograph for a happiness project. This is something I needed because my 365 Days of Happiness project had grown a little stale. There were too many days when I reached the end of the day and said "Oh crap! I haven't taken a 365 day picture yet!" and so I would scramble and just shoot something. I needed a reminder to be a more mindful photographer.

The other thing I sat in on at the conference was on storytelling behind the hashtags. I'm not good at hashtags. I often forget them or type them out wrong. I know they can be powerful tools for spreading the word. I thought I was sitting in on a discussion of how to use hashtags but instead ended up listening to stories that have developed from #YouOKSis, #KnowMe, and #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen. These were stories that I needed to hear. They made me realize that I need to be paying better attention to my surroundings and speaking up when I see something that doesn't seem quite right. I need to not be afraid to say something, which inspired my own hashtag #SaySomething. I've also been pondering a way to do cool science workshops in the inner city schools here. I want to show kids the career possibilities that are available in the science industry. ALL Kids. Not just the white ones. 

So, I didn't come home on fire with ideas, but I came home with some good ideas. I came home with tangible ideas. These are things that are not beyond the realm of possibility or me just thinking up super grand ways to make the world a better place. Maybe I've finally fully grasped that I cannot change the world by trying to actually change the world. Making a difference starts small and right in my own backyard or my own neighborhood. I'm going to focus more on the smaller side of change. These are the things I took from BlogHer '15.