“If you don’t feel it, don’t blog it!”

May 27, 2013


As I mentioned last week, this past weekend The Hive European Blog Conference took place here in Berlin, and I was honoured to be one of the speakers. But first we kicked things off with a pre-conference visit on Friday to the Jewish Museum Berlin, which had kindly offered some free tickets to a small group of The Hive delegates.

Jewish Museum Berlin - Jüdisches Museum Berlin

After some coffee and cake in the museum’s beautiful glass courtyard, we spent around 1.5 hours exploring the museum together from top to bottom. The Garden of Exile made quite an impact – it’s built at an angle to symbolise that Jewish refugees felt uprooted and off balance when they were in exile, even if they were safe there. A quote from the architect says that going round it can make you feel sick, and indeed one of our group had to leave and wait for us indoors because she felt dizzy. The installation in the permanent exhibition, where you can write a wish on a paper pomegranate to add to a tree, also resonated with our group. One of us had a really heartfelt wish, and I was touched that she was moved to share it with us when we had only just met. Everyone else immediately offered to write on another pomegranate for her too! The big kids that we all are at heart enjoyed trying out the various interactives that are scattered around the museum, and the gallery on Jewish family life with all the personal family photographs was also a favourite. It was interesting going round with a group of bloggers who are all coming from different countries genres and backgrounds. Some were really interested in the history, others more in the architecture, but everyone agreed it was a must-see museum! I really loved showing the group around one of my favourite museums in Berlin – thank you again to the Jewish Museum Berlin for being so generous and making it possible!

On Saturday morning then, The Hive began to buzz!  Those who had already been last year knew what to expect, everyone else was a bit shocked at the four flights of stairs we had to climb :)

The Hive European Blog Conference 2013 Berlin

Keeping in with the ‘hive’ theme, the venue had been decorated all over with pink and orange honeycombs. I didn’t have any honey, hive or bee related fashion items in my wardrobe, but with all the talk about outfit planning I wanted to make some kind of effort. So I randomly decided to introduce an “owl of the day” to my outfits (three in total, including the Friday night speakers’ dinner). The first day was filled with lots of passionate, inspirational and energising presentations. I’m not going to list them all, but two I found particularly useful were on how to write a good media kit for your blog (by the girls from Haupstadtmutti), and an introduction to teaching online classes . Both are things I’ve been thinking about  looking in to. As I’ve grown to expect from any conference, there were also some duds among the presentations, though these mainly seemed to be from sponsors who hadn’t quite grasped the audience they were speaking to. My own presentation, “Aren’t you bored yet? The challenges of niche blogging“, on the other hand went really well and I received lots of complimentary feedback. I was especially pleased when people came up to me later in the day and said they’d heard from others how inspirational my presentation had been and they were disappointed they’d missed it. For those of you who missed it and are interested, you can download a copy of the full presentation, including tips on growing your readership and creating original content (btw, the title of this blog post is a quote from my presentation).

The Hive European Blog Conference 2013 Berlin

There has been some criticism from several people that this year’s Hive was badly organised and sure, I agree that some things could have been done better. But having been in the position myself of organising conferences, I know how hard it can be and I prefer to send my critical feedback directly to the organisers. I just don’t feel here is the right place for it (that’s just my personal opinion, of course). All in all I think that Peggy and Yvonne really did a great job of pulling The Hive together. They had thought of almost everything, from aspirin and beauty emergency supplies, to a hand crafted map where the attending bloggers could pin their business cards to show where they were from. Germany got pretty crowded, so I pinned mine in Edinburgh ;)  Other fun things to do at the conference included making your own lip balm, with the girls from Etsy, and the uber-poplar photobooth sponsored by boomads, who were also running a competition to win one of three lomography cameras. We were well catered for too, apart from the undercooked burgers at Saturday night’s indoor BBQ, which only the cook can be blamed for though – as well as coffee and lunches, there was a steady supply of various lemonades as well as breakfast each day. The betahaus staff had bought some wheat free bread for me at an organic bakery next door, but when it went missing on day 2 they spontaneously whipped me up a giant portion of yoghurt with fruit, nuts and honey instead for breakfast. And did I mention the gluten free cupcakes? As with last year, it’s the best venue I’ve ever been catered for with my special dietary requirements.

The Hive European Blog Conference 2013 Berlin

Day 2 was a bit shorter, starting later after a long evening of partying before and finishing earlier as people had planes and trains to catch. It was also a bit quieter, something I’ve witnessed at most conferences I’ve been too when people start to get tired from all the excitement and networking and absorbing information. But there were lovely little seating areas with comfy chairs to sit and relax and recharge. A large chunk of the day was taken over by workshops, and I attended the video blogging workshop as a follow up to the online class I’d taken earlier in the year. I was thrilled to meet my ‘teacher’ Kat Conte in person, who turned out to be just as lovely in real life as she had appeared online. Meeting her and making a new friend was one of the highlights of my weekend! And I was of course pleased as Punch that my video about the National Museum of Scotland, which had won the award for most creative in the class, got a mention in the workshop :) Another presentation I found very interesting and useful was about blogger networks by Kirsten Jassies, even though there don’t seem to be any for cultural bloggers yet. I was also very lucky to be one of the recipients of the awesome ‘blogger’ necklaces that Kirsten had brought with her from the Netherlands. Not only that, but I was also one of the lucky winners of those lomography cameras I mentioned above. What a nice way to end a fabulous weekend!

All in all I had a great time. It was lovely to meet old friends and make new ones. The hitches in the programme and other small niggles aside, the networking aspect is always the biggest gain for me at such events. And even though I didn’t have to pay since I was a speaker, I thought the price was a bargain to. Most of the conferences I’ve been to in the past have cost at least triple as much and came without so many lovely goodies. A BIG thanks to Peggy and Yvonne for organising such a fantastic event – and the girls announced that there will be a ‘mini Hive’ in Copenhagen in October. How exciting!

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19 Responses to ““If you don’t feel it, don’t blog it!””

  1. Stefan Says:

    awsome Jenni, i was glad to join your slot and it was very inspiring! thank´s for all! Stefan


  2. Yvonne Says:

    I love that you took another photo of the bathroom baskets! You were the only one last time too.



  3. Jillian In Italy Says:

    Great re-cap of The Hive. It was so nice to meet you this week-end and spend some time together at the Jewish Museum. And lucky you for winning that camera! Warm greetings from Italy. Jillx


    • Jenni Fuchs Says:

      Thanks Jillian, it was really lovely to meet you too and visit the museum together. Warm greetings from Berlin (even the weather is getting warmer) x


  4. Birgitte Says:

    Hi Jenni,

    We didn’t talk at the conference, but I just read your post about the conference and I really loved it. You’ve captured the days perfectly. Unfortunately I attended the other presentation, while yours was one, but I will definitely go and read it online now. Hope to meet you in Copenhagen for the next Hive!



    • Jenni Fuchs Says:

      Thanks Birgitte! We were actually already planning an Autumn holiday in Copenhagen before they made the announcement, so hopefully we can combine it with The Hive :)


  5. Rosa Paula Says:

    It seems it was an amazing event. Thanks for sharing your speech. I just read and I felt really inspired being a niche blogger myself.
    Have a wonderful week!


  6. Zsuzsi Says:

    Thanks Jenni for the nice sum up, and thenk for letting me use your pics on my blog. As a first time conference visitor I have to improve in photo taking!


  7. Elisa Says:

    I was disappointed by some of the talks and the meal times could have been better organized, but I agree that overall it was very nice and there were so many great details! It sucks that i was sick because it made me extra-sensitive to the noise and confusion and I also tired much faster, but I did have a lovely time nevertheless.

    And yes, your talk was among by favorites! Well done Jenni.



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