Over the first weekend of March, I attended (and helped out at) the ninth Think Visibility conference in Leeds, run by Dom Hodgson and sponsored by Paid On Results. It was held at the Alea Casino in Leeds (which apparently ceased to exist as of the following Monday, a bit close for comfort) and was all about SEO, Analytics, Affiliate Links and lots of other things I didn’t understand.
For all that most of the content went entirely over my head, I had a fantastic time.
The pre-party was good for getting me over my ‘I don’t know anything’ nerves – even I am capable of losing a Mario Kart Wii competition in public & driving a remote control Audi badly round a mini go-kart track. It was also good for breaking the ice and meeting people – I got over the initial fear of holding my hand up and confessing that I only looked up what SEO even meant about three months ago and that my current career involved far more nappies than it does pay packets or afilliate links.
Then at the conference itself I started the day as part of the welcoming comittee – handing out the lanyards and pointing people in the direction of the bacon sarnies and cups of coffee (essential for recovery from the night before!)
Once my duties there were complete I went upstairs, hid at the back of a room and listened to at least two talks I didn’t understand a word of. Admittedly, I dozed in the middle of one because I was very tired, slightly hungover, the room was epically warm and, at the end of the day, they were dicussing something I was clueless about. During these I also ate half my bodyweight in sweets – both from the Click’n’Mix selection available and also the random Casino-provided bowl of Fox’s sweets that I happened to be sharing a table with.
After my catnap and a bottle of water to try and wash away some of the sugar high there came a few more talks which, even with my not-so-geeky status, made actual sense (mostly).
First was Paul Madden‘s How To Spot A Shitty Link presentation, which was about 75% understandable to non-geeks and very entertaining. I came away from that with a bit more knowledge about the stuff we bloggers get asked to do by companies and had a clearer idea of what is what regarding the things Google will shout at you for.
Then Kristal Ireland hit the stage with a genuinely hilarious and utterly brilliant talk on Social Media and how best to use it (or not use it) for advertising and promoting things. I came away with a few ideas of my own and a bizarre urge to own lycra based Star Wars themed items of clothing.
I even got to (very briefly) play with the sound board when Caius had to run off and do something else. I felt so important for all of ten seconds!
Finally it was Pete Handley‘s turn to make me giggle whilst making sense. His talk on Rich Snippets to improve your search listings was relevent to me as a blogger and hopefully I paid enough attention to put it to use over time. Hopefully.
Then it was time to pull everything down, go out and grab some dinner, get changed and head back to the Casino to prepare for the After Party – ‘Walking In A Linky Wonderland’ sponsored by Manual Link Building. Yes, we had Christmas in March. It came complete with Santa (and presents!), an inflatable snowboard, a Christmas tree, crackers, MORE Click’n’Mix, a chocolate fountain and copious amounts of alcohol.
I came away from the event with some new friends, new knowledge, a hangover and a bit more knowledge of the city that my family calls home.
Many thanks to Dom for letting me be a part of this event and also to everyone who made me feel welcome as a non-geek and to the speakers who did manage to teach me things between all the initialisms and acronyms that I still have no clue what they mean…