Sitting here looking at my notes from yesterdays Food Bloggers Indaba (#FBI2012 on twitter) I am filled with awe and inspiration after everything we heard and learned on the 24th of June 2012. There was so much knowledge and experience shared by every one of the speakers, enough to fill a book, and I am looking forward to taking what I learned and applying it to the blog and allowing it to change how I look after it.

The Speakers
Paul Raphaeley from NOMU (@nomuchirps) was the MC for the day and he likened his job for the day to being a “sheep dog” that would be constantly at the ready, tail wagging furiously and yapping at the heels of the speakers to keep the day running according to a tight time schedule.

He then introduced Paul from YuppieChef (@yuppiechef) who started his talk with, “Customer Service will change the world” and the quote, “The future is already here. It’s just not very well-distributed yet” and how bloggers fit into the picture of distributing the future. This was such a great talk because bloggers are constantly getting flack for taking the job (“money out of the pockets”) away from “more qualified people” and stepping on toes because journalists and publishers believe we shouldn’t have a voice.

Jeanne from Cooksister (@cooksisterblog) followed with a talk on Ethics, Etiquette and Why we Blog were she said that wearing a badge/posting it on your blog that says “I have ethics” doesn’t make it so and we have a responsibility to our readers to blog with integrity.

There are 4 basic rules to blogging:
• Don’t be an asshole – the free stuff will eventually dry up, don’t get cocky
• Don’t make stuff up – don’t post recipes you’ve never actually made yourself, or make up restaurant reviews
• Ask permission before using someone else’s stuff – and give credit/link wherever necessary
• Karma dude, karma – what goes around comes around

Alida from Simply Delicious (@simplydeliciousSA) was the next person to present and despite having a bad fall earlier in the morning and having her laptop and hard drive crash the night before she did a sterling job. She mentioned a number of useful tools that could be used to monitor the number of hits and uniques to get an accurate idea of how well your blog is doing. She also said it was important to treat your blog like a business and invest time into making it look as appealing as possible, be selective about which banners show up on the blog and make business cards.

Linda from Squashed Tomato (@squashed_tom) did a great talk about Social Media and she mentioned it was important to see your blog as your brand. It therefore makes sense that everything fall in line with what the brand represents so that there is no confusion when the brand is seen on social media like Twitter (http://twitter.com/rumtumtiggs) , Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/tami.magnin) and Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/rumtumtiggs) . It gave me a lot to think about and see how I can apply the guidelines she mentioned to make my online presence more consistent.

We also heard from Carine Visagie and John Gardener from John Brown Media on how to write for the web and how to effectively use Pinterest to work in conjuction with the blog and spread the word.

We then had a lovely buffet lunch with wine pairings from Tangled Tree Wines (@tangledtree) in the @picknpay conference venue in Kenilworth and I had a wonderful time connecting with all the bloggers I read on a daily basis and admire so much. To say I was star-struck would be an understatement. I was amazed at how approachable and welcoming everyone was and got a real sense of the food blogging community as an actual community. I met Ilse, (@foodfox) I had no idea she was so tall, Sam Lindsell from (@drizzleanddip), Tandy from Lavendar and Lime (@tandysinclair) who was the lucky winner of the @pestoprincess Banquet in a Box, Janice Tripepi (@janicetripepi) my Italian mamma, Candice (@gorgeousblog), Fritz (@_realmencancook), Olivier (@greedytweets), Anel from Life is a Zoo biscuit (@anelp), Caylee (@cayleegrey) from Love Bites, @jesska_F and @polkadotcupcake. Of course its always lovely to see @nicolageorge, @fionaby and @julyate who I haven’t seen since the @cutnbake tweetup.

After lunch we all went our separate ways to various workshops. Since I desperately want to improve my food photography I chose my sessions with that in mind. Sam and Tasha (@tashaseccombe) did a wonderful job with their workshop on Food photography and Styling and Jeanne and Alida spoke on Post processing with Photoshop and Lightroom.

Then there was an auction with all the proceeds going to The Lavender Foundation where nearly R15 000 was raised and prizes galore where one very lucky person won an Empire Red Kitchen Aid from YuppieChef worth nearly R7000. The day ended with not one goody bag but THREE! They were filled to the brim with wines, olive oils and Verlaque dressing and we all staggered to our cars under the weight.
Colleen Grove (@collywolly) did an amazing job at organizing such an event and she deserves all of the applause and more for all her hard work. Pick n Pay and YuppieChef really came to the party as co-headline sponsors and wow’ed us with their passion and dedication to the blogging community. I am now officially no longer an Indaba virgin and I can’t wait for what she has in store for us next year ;).

Disclaimer: This post may have quotes that are not credited to the correct people due to information overload yesterday. If you recognize a quote of yours, please feel free to contact me and I will edit to give credit accordingly. Much attention has been given to linking to the correct profiles on twitter so that my readers can get in contact with you or follow you on twitter however, due to the number of profiles I may have made a few errors. Again, please feel free to contact me and I’ll correct accordingly. Hope you enjoyed this post and you will leave a comment 😉