International Food Blogger Conference, Seattle: Confessions of an Older Blogger

September 17, 2013  •  Food for Thought

ifbc2013_banner_amazonI’m on my way to Seattle tomorrow for the IFBC. I’ve been to a FoodBuzz conference (didn’t love it), I’ve been to BlogHer Food (a lot of good content), and now I’m trying out the much touted IFBC. But I have a confession to make: these events intimidate me. Yes, I know what my friends are thinking as you read this: what could possibly intimidate Michele?! I’m known as an organized, extroverted, get-‘er-done kind of person. I speak publicly a lot. I teach cooking classes, give interviews, and present book talks. I actually used to be an executive with IBM, if you can believe that! So why am I going and why am I intimidated?wood-and-props-for-photo-shootsWell, one thing about attending conferences like this is that we need to ask ourselves why we’re attending in the first place. I’m sure the reasons are many and include things like a chance to visit Seattle (or see friends or family), an opportunity to network with other like minded bloggers, the chance to hone our craft through sessions focused on things like food photography, SEO, or writing style. For me, I’m going because I’m working on a cookbook for Washington state and it is a great chance to connect with some of the chefs locally as well as capture some photos for the book, all while attending what’s been touted as the best food blogging conference. So why the trepidation?thoughts on producing a cookbookThis is the age of social media, so of course, there is a group page on Facebook about the conference. And while I’m signed up as a member of that group, it seems that everyone else is either already friends with someone or much more comfortable just reaching out to complete strangers and arranging dinner, coffee, or an outing. I feel shy, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the overarching concern that all writers and photographers have about whether we are “good enough” to be in the company of these folks. Sure, I’ve been blogging longer than many (for six and a half years already!), I’m a published author of a successfully selling cookbook, and I’m a published food photographer as well. Yet not knowing anyone at the conference I’m attending, I still feel insecure.Tasting Colorado CookbookWhich leads me to my biggest confession – I feel too old to be doing this. I launched my food career in my 40s after completing a successful 25 year career in the tech world. And here I am now, in my (gulp) 50s, going to a conference that I just know will be attended by all sorts of folks in their 20s and 30s. I feel like the grand dame of these events, and I’m not sure I like that feeling. Yet I’m hoping to make some new contacts and new friends – of all ages. So to those younger bloggers in the group, if you want some life perspective from someone who has been around the block a few times, please take the time to introduce yourself to me. And to those other middle-aged bloggers out there who could use a little camaraderie like I need, by all means say hello. Seattle here I come!


12 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Julie says:

    Hi Michele! I’m one of those young ones attending (27!) and I understand the nervousness. I am definitely nervous: I’m a newbie blogger, never have attended one of these conferences and am socially shy. I do connect on the Facebook group but I know it will be much harder in person and if it makes any difference, I don’t know anyone who is going although I have a roommate and I’m carpooling with some bloggers so I’ve briefly chatted about arrangements with them. I think it’s cool that you worked at IBM. I’m in IT in the beginning stages of my career so I’d be interested to get some advice from you! Hope I see you at the conference!

  2. Lisa says:

    Your work is gorgeous! I’m also heading to IFBC solo as someone who started food blogging after a 15+ year in banking. It’s been the most fun I have had thus far in my career for sure! Look forward to meeting you AND as a Washington State neighbour, READING your cookbook! Congrats!!

  3. Madeline Moy says:

    Hi, Michele! I look forward to meeting you at IFBC. I was born and raised in Washington state and am intrigued by your cookbook. I hope it includes at least one Filipino recipe. 🙂

  4. Jean Layton says:

    Hi Michele,
    Reading your post had me saying, yup, yup yup.
    Traveling solo, over 50, long time blogger (7 years in November) and still feel like the cool kids are all over there somewhere.
    We’ll have to grab tea or something. Look for the grey haired lady 🙂

  5. Jill Johnson says:

    Hi, Michele. I look forward to meeting you at IFBC. I am launching my food career in my 40s after leaving a completely different career. It’s scary and fun. And the age of IFBC attendees covers many decades and specialities. Very excited!

  6. Karen Robertson says:

    I too am in my 50s have been blogging for the same time frame but published since 2000, call myself the “grandmother” of GF (Shauna the GF Girl cut her teeth on my book and deemed it her Bible). I have been to one BlogHer conf. and yes it is daunting but I found that little by little I met people and had fun. And honestly we should have kept our age a secret because NOONE would have ever guessed. look forward to meeting you!

  7. Judy Barnes Baker says:

    Michele, I’m nervous for the same reasons. No, you won’t be the oldest by far!

  8. Vicki Winters says:

    Look for the cool kids table…me (50+) and some whippersnappers.

  9. Peggy McGill says:

    You are young compared to me and very accomplished. I hope you fears disappeared when you saw that the crowd was mixed.
    It was great meeting you.

  10. Gina says:

    Hi Michele, I’m so glad Patty introduced you to me. I wanted to go to that conference for her, but had life issues. I’m in the middle age bracket and have only been to a few events, and even though I was nervous, I did find most people so welcoming. Looking forward to coming back here and reading more.

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