Monday, May 27, 2024
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BlogOn 2020: Virtually As Good As Normal

So this year hasn’t gone quite to plan has it? It started so well with a fun trip to Butlin’s, some lovely nights out and lots of plans of holidays and day trips and even a wedding to go to. But then that stupid COVID thing happened and pretty much trashed everything!

There have been some pretty dark days along the way, but over the last couple of weekends, one of my yearly highlights did kind of still take place – albeit virtually!

Yes I’m talking about BlogOn 2020 / BlogOn Virtual of course, as you may have guessed by the title, and this year it ended up taking place in two different stages.

BlogOn 2020 Toy Awards

First up were the Toy Awards, which normally take place during BlogOn itself but this year had their own special day, live from the Coppid Beech in Bracknell – socially distanced of course. A few of us made the epic trip down to Bracknell (15 minutes for me!) and spent hours setting up all the toys and games, a couple of hours demonstrating them and then another hour or two boxing them all back up again, ready for donation to charity!

BlogOn 2020 Toy Awards

It was quite a busy day all round, but it’s nice to have a challenge and setting up some of the interactive toys from scratch to a time deadline and then demonstrate them was certainly a challenge…

Toy Awards Interactive toys

Then it was a quick takeaway, a couple of drinks and then off back to the Travelodge down the road for some well-earned rest and relaxation. It was lovely to see a few familiar faces, albeit generally behind face masks and from a safe distance! I did get a few cuddles though – although they were from some of the teddies on the plush toys and dolls stand rather than actual humans.

Toy Awards Plush

BlogOn Virtual: The Main Event

Toy Awards successfully in the bag, the next phase in the two week extravaganza known as BlogOn 2020 / BlogOn Virtual was the event itself. You know, the bit with all the educational blogging talks and the networking and the socialising and the fun stuff.

Well this year all of that plethora of wonderfulness took place over the medium of Zoom. If you are dense enough to believe that COVID was a result of 5G or Bill Gates or some other twattish notion like that you probably also have an inkling that it was created by the founders of Zoom.

They must have made so much money out of lockdown that they can now go ahead with their devious plan of secretly implanting microchips in people’s brains and controlling us all through an army of evil robots. Is it really just a coincidence that the government are telling all ballerinas to get into cyber? I personally bow down to our new robotic-ballerina Zoom-controlled overlords.

Anyway, I digress. Where was I?

Oh yes, BlogOn 2020 took place over Zoom and on offer was a decent smattering of live talks on a variety of blogging topics, along with a veritable smorgasbord of pre-recorded content. All of this live and pre-recorded magic can be viewed until the end of 2020, so where talks of interest clashed this time around it didn’t really matter too much, because you can catch up on demand. How very modern.

Most importantly I also returned this year with my third, and probably final, comedy keynote speech. Much like my town-mate, Ricky Gervais, at the Golden Globes I keep getting invited back, to the amazement of the watching public and this year was no exception. If you missed it / have managed to put it out of your memory / couldn’t be arsed to get up at 9am to watch it, here is the PowerPoint that attempts to look at the good / amusing side of 2020 so far, along with why BlogOn is so much better in virtual format. Most of it is lies, purely for comedy effect, in case you were wondering.

By the way, much like me, sometimes the presentation below works, sometimes it just sits there and sometimes it disappears completely 😬 Just keep poking it and refreshing and hope for the best, or try on desktop…

The day was really enjoyable, and I kept busy hosting the networking room for a few hours and hosting a very useful post on SEO from DM Punk.

I also popped along to see the lovely Sara-Jayne talk about photography.

The evening was full of fun and high jinx including Bingo, Taskmaster and a life drawing session featuring a young Australian male, who probably didn’t know what hit him! Admittedly I had to miss that bit as I was washing my hair…

So BlogOn Virtual was good. Very good in fact, especially if you go to BlogOn primarily to learn. Of course, that’s the main reason I normally go – definitely not to socialise, take part in the raffle, chat to my friends, meet the brands and go to the party!

Seriously though, it was a great substitute for the real thing and the very best that we could have hoped for given the ongoing global shitshow that is COVID. Yes I missed having the brands there and checking out all the new toys and games and I missed seeing all of my friends in person, but fortunately I was lucky enough to have all that the weekend before! So for me, across the two weekends it was the perfect solution.

Fingers crossed that this time next year everything will be largely back to normal and we can do it all properly…

In case you missed the event, you can still buy a £25 virtual ticket for BlogOn Virtual and catch up on all the live and pre-recorded sessions until the end of 2020. Just click here and get involved!

You can also look back on my previous BlogOn experiences from 2017 and 2018.

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