I had a great time this year at the Northern Voice conference. The conference was full of incredible people, including Cathy Browne, Kimli, and Rob Cottingham, but there was one other presenter that really stood out for me.
Steffani Cameron’s (@smuttysteff on Twitter) talk about How To Screw Up Your Personal Blog was inspiring, and not just because the content was so personal. Her shoot-from-the hip style of presentation was refreshing and real. She had no overhead slides, and we were able to solely focus on her voice, her story, and her cautionary tale. I felt a familiarity so many times during that talk that it made me rack my brain for where I must have met her before, but of course I hadn’t. Her story is just one that many of us can relate to.
Steffani is a great example of what this conference is all about. Occasional Accountant by day, and sex blogger by night, she is a creator of great content, and her content is created mostly for the sheer joy of creating it. How different from all the techy and marketing conferences that I’ve been to lately: somebody who actually lets the content drive the blog. That is what Northern Voice is all about, and the importance of Story in blogging was once again brought home to me in a way that was moving and meaningful. Steffani is a normal person who happens to also be a great writer, and that great writer happens to blog about sex. She identifies as a blogger first, and by her topic second, which I loved about her.
When I asked her about all of my writing under a pseudonym, she responded, “Peggy, look at your hair. Who do you think you’re kidding?” Her honesty about her topic has gotten her into hot water with conservative religious bosses and snarky co-workers, but as she so rightly said, “Bloggers have to stop worrying about who they’re going to offend…” and “It’s our job to create great content, and other people’s job to just get over it.” She brushed off the applause to these comments, but really, she was the only one that talked about her failures in such an unprogrammed, clear and unapologetic way.
Steffani, please come back next year. Organizers of Northern Voice, if she doesn’t volunteer, please make her come back.