August 3, 2010

This one time, at BlogHer.........

So, one of my roomies (not mentioning names, but we do share some initials. Ahem.) has referred to this Conference-That-Must-Not-Be-Named as a "three-day bender".  At this point, my liver is cowering in fear and threatening to boycott the whole thing.  While I have promised no repeats from the BlogHer 06 "incident" and have sworn that I am now a kinder, gentler drunk, my liver is wary.  As well it should be, I suppose.  No, I do intend to be responsible - I learned the hard way during BlogHer 06 that blearily staggering through half of the first day seems to miss the entire spirit of the conference.

Also, cotton-mouth is not pretty on anybody, folks.

So, I have been scribbling notes for myself about what I would like to get out of this year's BlogHer.  For me, this conference has always served as a State of the Union for myself with the key question to be answered "Why do I bother?"  Because seriously, the primary purpose of this wee site is Sheer Enjoyment since the Monetization stage coach trundled out of the depot years ago.

A few thoughts I would share with this year's vestal virgins attending BlogHer10?
  1. Comfortable Shoes, Natch - everyone includes it on their list for a reason.
  2. Popular Bloggers Are People, Too - every Popular Blogger will declare emphatically they want you to talk to them and they are not just paying lip service.  Personally, I have had great interactions with popular bloggers (Overall.  Ahem.)  I do recommend having something to say to a Popular Blogger.  There is nothing wrong with a "Love you, love your blog", but you may find the conversation will lead nowhere after that, trailing off into awkward silence.  Keep in mind, you may know many, many details about your favorite bloggers, whereas, they may be aware of your own existence for the very first time (a tangible benefit to being a frequent commenter is that your favorite blogger may actually recognize you.)  So, yes! Introduce yourself to your favorite bloggers, but tell them something specific - maybe, specifically what you appreciate about their blog, a post that particularly struck you and why.  Give them a talking point to which they can respond with something other than "Thank you."   I can think of two bloggers in particular that I am hoping to see and I do have specific topics I want to mention to them.
  3. Introverts, Be Kind to Yourself - If you are an introvert like me, give yourself permission to exit the action, escape to a quiet spot and re-charge.Also, you may find yourself alone.  A lot.  In a room buzzing with 2400 people, that can be overwhelming.  See your aloneness as an opportunity. At BlogHer08, I found myself alone at lunch.  I sat at one table and quickly realized I was being frozen out.  I actually cut my Social Losses and moved to another table whereupon, I met Velma -this will be our 3rd BlogHer hanging out together.  In line with my usual Moth Strategy for socializing (like a moth to a flame, I find someone I know even just remotely, then stick to them cat hair), meeting as many folks as possible is how someone like me survives.  Try it!
  4. Make Your Own Agenda - What do you want to get out of this conference? Anyone who has never attend BlogHer probably just thinks it's about parties and freebies, but there is an actual conference going on.  Really! Pinkie swear! I have already considered the BlogHer schedule and decided upon the sessions I want to attend.  Overall, my strategy for this conference is that I just want to reflect on where I am going with this blog.  Past BlogHer Game Plans have been to Not Go Into Labor (the last trip of my pregnancy with Arun was to BlogHer 05, I was a little nervous at 7 months pregnant), to Hobnob and Mingle (that failed spectacularly, I am so not a networker), to See My Friends (BlogHer 08) and to Just Have Fun (that was last year and by far, the best BlogHer I've attended yet)
  5. Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Bomb - every BlogHer seems to manufacture some sort of drama that gets blown up and exaggerated as post after post highlights THAT particular event.  Usually, something that was, in reality, a very tiny part of the overall weekend.  Folks, stop fretting and just relax.  Currently, my biggest stress is that the skirt I had planned for Saturday night appears to have put an Engorgement Charm on my ass. But hey, plump rumps are small potatoes in the realm of Worries, no?
  6. Swag - I love free stuff like anyone else, but consider what you take home very, very carefully. Folks, this is not Mt. Everest, have a reason for everything you take home. Well, unless your intent is to fully stock your next garage sale, then fine, knock yourself out..  This year, my suitcase is going to be crammed with clothes, shoes and accessories since I have decided to have fun Dressing Like A Grown-Up.  I will not even have room for swag and I was not expecting to get much anyway.  Besides, sometimes the very best swag does not react kindly to being stuffed into one's suitcase.

I know quite a few of you have attended past BlogHers.
What are your best bits of advice?  
What did you love most about the experience?  
What did you love the least?


stephanie said...

I am going to NYC to visit friends this weekend and I am so tempted to find some excuse to go hang out in the hotel lobby and try to actually meet some of the bloggers I read (like you!) in person. I would not crash any sessions or parties... I just want to say hi.

Of course, my friends do not get this blogging thing at all, so I don't think I would be able to excuse myself from a girls weekend to go meet some "random people from the internet."

jodifur said...

My favorite part of blogher last year, besides sparklecorn, was just talking to people.

I can't wait to see you.

Brit said...

awww. Still one of my favorite years (08) and the man always talks about the meals!

I think we have all gotten wiser as we attend Blogher after Blogher, but i can relate to your 'why do I bother' feeling. I definitely go through that each year. Why? Not for the money or the fame. But really because I love to look back and read my own words....interactive journal ling.

Added benefit, finding and attaching yourself to others of like ilk.

I'll miss you this year, but every year i'm closer to leaving the rugrats and doing this again for reals!

bklynstacy said...

Thanks for your FB comment! I really hope we see each other! It *is* going to be an exquisitely strange time for me, first public outing and all after having been a very public person for a long time, but I love your advice. I have sessions I want to attend, and a few friendly faces I really want to see INCLUDING YOURS.

bklynstacy said...

(Oops, accidentally cut out the "after having essentially disappeared" that was supposed to go before "after having been a v public person." DUH!) : )

KBO said...

I have revised my bender proclamation because I looked at what I have scheduled and there is no time for a hangover nap. So I must try this thing I heard about called "moderation". Should be interesting.

Can't wait to hang!

Christine said...

I have nothing to add to the stuff about the conference since I've never been. But I will admit that in all the years I've known you as 'cagey' this is the first time I finally figured out what it meant. I'm superquick.

Count Mockula said...

I would say, go to the sessions, enjoy the sessions, pick what you like... but if you feel like skipping one, don't feel guilty or like you're wasting your money. One of my favorite "sessions" last year was skipping a session to go eat mint chocolate pie with some friends.

Also, don't get hung up on the stupid cliques and worry whether you're worthwhile because you're a life blogger or whether people hate you because you get free stuff because you're a mommy blogger or whatever. Haters gonna hate. Be who you are.

(And I can say this because I accidentally ended up in a couple sessions where people were really, really ticked that mommy bloggers get free stuff. It did momentarily make me feel on edge and like an outsider. Although, for the record, I've never gotten free anything.)

Goofy Girl said...

hahahahaha...still laughing at you calling yourself an introvert. Whatever. You'd walk up to a mugger and ask him what type of knife he had.