Home Walt Disney World Finding Clarity at Walt Disney World – Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land & Sea 2018

Finding Clarity at Walt Disney World – Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land & Sea 2018

written by familyadhd

This post was made possible through a partnership with Disney for Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2018

Back in the country and mostly coherent, so buckle up for some updates on where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to!

By now you’ve probably seen the details of our time at Disney Social Media Moms 2018 through our coverage on Instagram—the amazing VIP experiences, the general Disney excitement, swag galore, etc.

While I usually start by sharing an overview of our time at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I wanted to share our experience from a different angle this year.

We went into Disney Social Media Moms with a lot of questions swirling around us—not about the conference or Disney World (we’re well-versed in many things Disney)—but about our online presence, the story we wanted to tell and the direction we want to take moving forward.

Since first making our family blog public years ago it’s gone through multiple evolutions as our family has evolved. What started as a blog to detail everything we were going through as a high-functioning special needs family of two very little ones evolved into a combination of daily ADHD family life and the travels we found so valuable to our growth individually and as a family unit.

Yet, over the last two years especially, I’ve found myself wondering what story we wished to tell as things continued to change. I found myself feeling pressured to create a certain type of content; to compete in a sense with other family bloggers posting beautifully curated, magazine-worthy photos of “daily life”; and to allow ourselves to be at the beck and call of some of the travel-related brands we worked with at times that made some of our frequent travels possible.

It started to feel as though I had to struggle to capture more organic, authentic moments within the rigid demands of brands and social media platform analytics. It felt like our blog was becoming less about us and more about everyone else—their wants, demands and pressures.

We’ve never been all about brand deals, but even in working with the short list we chose to we still felt the pressure.

 

Clarity, At Last!

Going to Disney Social Media Moms I was questioning a lot and I’m happy to say I found a moment of clarity and walked away with an answer to the biggest question on my mind—what kind of content do we want to create moving forward?

Ironically, the answer didn’t come while riding a Banshee through Pandora (though that was certainly a highlight for us) or gliding through the ocean at sunset aboard the Disney Dream (though that didn’t hurt either). It came while sitting in a session directed by David Roarke—Disney photographer since the early 80s. While his presentation may not have been as flashy as some of the others we sat in, it was the one that captured my attention the most and lit a fire in me. Roarke showed us some of his work, discussing some of the challenges and successes he experienced capturing shots of such a magical place that at times required a little more than a little finessing to truly translate the whimsy and wonder of Disney in one frame.

While I was enthralled by his entire presentation—photography truly is one of my passions—he really caught me when he said something about capturing emotions and “real moments”. That’s what I had set out to do in the beginning. That’s what I did for no one but our family back when our oldest was a baby and I photographed him (finally) napping, running gleefully down the beach at sunset (typically away from us hoping we’d chase him) and building a car out of nothing but boxes wearing little less than a diaper and hat.

I love capturing emotions. I love photography that transports you to a moment in time. I love real-life moments like this.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Disney Cruise

There was my problem.

For a number of reasons, I’d taken a left turn somewhere that had led me down a path of taking more pictures of marble bathrooms and white bedding than of my kiddos enjoying their surroundings. Yes, I still captured a beautiful moment here and there, but so much of my time and attention was being pulled in another direction.

You simply can’t be as present when you’re busy analyzing and planning out your moments for others’ consumption.

I walked away from that session feeling a strong sense of affirmation that, that was the direction we needed to move towards. We needed to tell part of our story as it was unfolding without total pre-planning. We needed to capture authentic bits of it through photography and written word.

Moving Forward

When you’ve created content for long enough, especially in today’s social media and blogging climate, you can become a slave to numbers, brands and the pressure to achieve a certain type of success.

The thing is, success often comes at a price. You often lose a moderate amount of control of your story in order to achieve it. You find yourself analyzing numbers more than asking yourself how you feel about your content.

With the realization that these were the changes we needed to make came the acceptance that we may never reach what other bloggers or the industry or even friends or family might call “success”; but it’s the right choice for us. It’s a direction I won’t regret moving towards down the road.

I want to be present. I don’t want to be pressured by myself or anyone else to post a certain type of content or to create moments instead of capturing the real ones.

Patrick and I discussed this in depth several times during and after Disney Social Media Moms and he felt the same way. This was what was right for our family and for our online presence. This was where we wanted to put our energy.

We know full well that this may translate to less followers, less views and less people wanting to work with us. That stinks! But on the plus side, the people and brands left that still have an interest in us will be there because they want to share a real part of our story and that means something to us.

So there you go! That was my big revelation and moment of clarity in the middle of the tornado of pixie dust that is Disney Social Media Moms.

 

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38 comments

robin rue April 3, 2018 at 7:11 am

That sounds like an amazing conference. I have always wanted to do a Disney cruise, so hopefully I will be able to book one in soon.

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familyadhd April 3, 2018 at 7:52 am

Disney Cruises are definitely some of the best according to many of the cruise rating systems! We’ve always had a great experience on ours (even with my sea sickness lol).

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Candy April 3, 2018 at 7:30 am

Sorry nds like attending that conference was totally what you were looking for. Now to continue you and your families journey.

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familyadhd April 3, 2018 at 7:52 am

Yes, definitely! Sometimes you just need a push in the right direction. 😉

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Amber Myers April 3, 2018 at 8:26 am

I know what you mean. It is so important to be present but sometimes I find myself too involved with photos and trying to figure out the angle of a blog post. I have stopped doing that so much. I’m glad the conference opened your eyes!

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familyadhd April 3, 2018 at 11:06 am

Yeah, I think the longer you’re in the blogging game the more pressure you feel to really allow your content to shape and mold to the expectations of brands in order to continue to work with more brands. I’ve gotten to a point I’d rather not work with brands if they aren’t open to our more candid approach to experiencing things. 😉

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Jeanette April 3, 2018 at 9:52 am

It is definitely important to remember why you were even started blogging. Yes planters are good because they give you a lot of money but if you stay true to yourself that’s really all that matters.

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familyadhd April 3, 2018 at 11:07 am

Definitely! Our blog has changed as our family has changed and we’ve never been all about those brand deals, but even with travel brands and destinations we work with there can be a LOT of pressure to produce a certain type of content 😉

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valmg @ Mom Knows It All April 3, 2018 at 11:03 am

I will tell anyone that asks that you have to like your own blog in order for blogging to be worth it. Do what you need to do for whatever reason you need to do it.

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familyadhd April 3, 2018 at 11:07 am

Amen to that!

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Pamela April 3, 2018 at 12:47 pm

As bloggers, we can become slaves to numbers and forget the real reason we started blogging. Kudos to you for gain clarity and deciding to write about what you love.

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familyadhd April 3, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Thanks! We’ve always written about what we love (and have turned down many opportunities to be sponsored to write about other things), but sometimes things as simple as brands having talking points or lists of things they want us to cover versus us just organically experiencing things changes the process quite a bit for us!

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Tomi c April 3, 2018 at 12:57 pm

1st of all congrats on being selected to attend DSMM. I’ve wanted to attend DSMM ever since I found out about it. I feel a long response coming but please bear with me. I do long for the little sprinkle of pixie dust and I hear it loud and clear that blogs large and small are invited to attend but still I wait. Funny thing though, this blogging mama has been blessed to work with some awesome brands and have a wonderful stream of additional income. Numbers, schumbers. Stay true to you and the rest will work out.

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familyadhd April 3, 2018 at 5:07 pm

That’s how I feel about it! 😉

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Heather April 3, 2018 at 4:40 pm

I love that you had a breakthrough as a result of the conference. We’ve attending a few of these conferences and they’re always incredible!

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familyadhd April 3, 2018 at 5:08 pm

It’s ironic since we actually rarely attend conferences, but DSMMC is one we always go to when invited! This was definitely right time, right place, that’s for sure. 😉

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Emily April 3, 2018 at 4:59 pm

I think it is great that you found the right balance for your blog. It is difficult to feel the demands of a blog, family and any sponsored campaigns. I am so happy you were able to figure out how to move forward in an authentic way. This event sounds like it was amazing for you and your family!

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familyadhd April 3, 2018 at 5:08 pm

Definitely! It was a great overall experience, but this added clarity really helped me out, personally. 🙂

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Halo Zouaghi April 3, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Thanks for sharing. This is insightful. It actually is helping me to deal with some similar questions about my own photography and blog. I am happy for you guys. Thanks again.

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familyadhd April 4, 2018 at 12:19 pm

I’m glad to hear it! And thank you <3

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Kim Croisant April 3, 2018 at 6:21 pm

You’re lucky to have been chosen for DSMMC. I like to attend conferences, but I have to limit them.

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familyadhd April 4, 2018 at 12:20 pm

We actually don’t do that many conferences at all! Most of our focus is on the travel itself 😉

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Alison Rost April 3, 2018 at 8:48 pm

There’s nothing like going back to your roots and blogging more for the sake of sharing your trips and memories with your readers. I think this is a good path to take!

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familyadhd April 4, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Right? I agree!

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Lisa Favre April 3, 2018 at 8:54 pm

Love that you want to be more present and authentic for your audience! Yes! This is what content creating is all about… love that you gained such great insight from the Disney conference.

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familyadhd April 4, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Thank you! It’s funny, the smallest things creep in over the years. Even though we’ve stayed true to our main focus (travel) it’s such a competitive niche and it has its affect after a while. 😉

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Kelly Reci April 3, 2018 at 8:55 pm

I hate that feeling… where you have to adjust your story and feel like you have lost control over something you started with your own two hands! Here’s to genuine storytelling through our blogs… you are such a girl boss and this post really inspired me.

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familyadhd April 4, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Thank you so much! And yes, that’s exactly it! You start off with a clear vision and suddenly all these requirements and pressures start to consume that vision. <3

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Danik April 4, 2018 at 3:10 am

Such a great insight you recieved whilst attending the Disney conference. Good inspirational read

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familyadhd April 4, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Thanks!

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Anosa Malanga April 4, 2018 at 8:02 am

Ohhh, good to know you learn and realize something out of the conference. I must confess, I am a little guilty of finding the nicest and beautiful spot and angle for photos.

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familyadhd April 4, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Oh, I think finding the right places and angles is just part of your style as a photographer! My concern is more about being pressured to spend our entire time at a resort versus going out and exploring like we normally would, for example. 😉

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Terri Beavers April 4, 2018 at 4:07 pm

I agree with you a hundred percent on everything. I quit being a slave to the numbers and just enjoy what it is I’m doing these days. I’ve actually maintained my favorite brands and have met some new brands that are a pure joy to work with. I think you made the right decision.

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familyadhd April 5, 2018 at 8:05 am

That’s so fabulous to hear! I think everyone has to do what’s right for them, but this is definitely the right choice for us at the end of the day 😉

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Sara Welch April 4, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Going back to why it all started really gives you a strange feeling. Seeing what you have accomplished because of hard work is very rewarding.

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familyadhd April 5, 2018 at 8:05 am

Very true!

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Nikka Shae April 4, 2018 at 10:51 pm

This sounds amazing! I’ve been on several cruises, but this one sounds like a blast!

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familyadhd April 5, 2018 at 8:05 am

It was definitely fun 🙂

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