Are you attending your first (or fifth) blog conference soon? In 2010 I packed my bags and headed off to my first blog conference. I had never met any other bloggers. I didn’t really even know a lot of bloggers. I showed up in New York City and just about left in tears after the first hour. Yes, really I did…you can reread my post, What BlogHer Meant to Me, to hear the full story.
That was nearly three years ago and I still get intimidated at blogging conferences. I’ve been to 2 BlogHer’s and 2 Blissdom conferences and I still get butterflies in my tummy at the thought of this trip. Why?
There will be over 4500 women (and a few men) in attendance at this year’s BlogHer. That’s a LOT of women. Women have been known for our catty attitudes. We’ve been know to be clique-ish. We’ve been known to be rude and well…just plain mean! So how do avoid all the nasty stuff and not go home crying on the first day?
Blog Conference Survival Tips
- Follow the #blogher12, #blogher, #bloghernewbie hashtags. Make friends with people and make plans to meet up to say “Hi” or have a drink.
- Join a forum or group for BlogHer attendees. I’m a member of a few groups where people are very active and are already making plans to meet up. Some groups I would recommend joining: I’m Going to BlogHer 12 (Facebook), Green Bloggers – BlogHer 12 (Facebook), Mom Spark Media (Ning Group), Mom Spark (open Forum) and, BlogHer 12 Forum (official BlogHer group). I cannot even begin to tell you how awesome these groups are for making friends.
- Share a ride! There are 4500 women in town for BlogHer, chances are really good that you’ll be coming into the airport the same time as someone else. Make plans (by tweeting or in one of these groups) to share a ride with someone from the airport. I made some good friends this way at my first conference and we ran into one another a few times during the conference. Plus, you’ll save a lot of money by sharing a ride.
- Wear your name, blog name, or Twitter handle on your shirt (bag, button, or necklace). There may be a blog friend who may not recognize you at first until they see your blog name! Make it easy for them to identify you.
- Update your Twitter, blog, and Facebook profile photos. If you changed your hair, lost weight (or gained weight), or your picture is 5 years old people may not recognize you. Make it easy for them!
- Make the first move! This one may be a little scary but DO IT! Be the one who smiles, say’s hello, or initiates a conversation. If you see someone who looks lost (and they probably are) say hello! Introduce yourself and ask them about their blog. Compliment them on their cute shoes or outfit.
- Attend the Newbie Breakfast, Key Notes, and other blogging sessions. I made a great friendship in the back of the room, on the floor, with Jenny from Conscientious Confusion in 2010 because she shared a piece of the floor with me. The room was packed and I didn’t know anyone! You don’t need to go to everything but make an effort to go to a few blog sessions. You may be surprised what you learn (or who you meet).
- Party! Whether you’ve been invited to private parties or if you plan on attending the official parties – GO and PARTY! It’s a great way to let your hair down and relax. Don’t be afraid to mingle and introduce yourself to new people.
The most important tip I can give you is to be yourself and treat others how you would like to be treated. We’re all adults now, this isn’t high school, and we can determine how we want to be treated. Extend a smile to someone and really make an effort to make a few new friends. You may be surprised at the friendships that are formed from the conference.
How do you plan on surviving BlogHer this year? Will this be your first conference (or your tenth)? I’d love to meet you!This year I’m self sponsored and won’t have an official conference sponsor. This means I’ve paid my own way (thanks to some regular monthly sponsors on my blog and some private consulting) and will be able to enjoy the conference on my own terms this year. While having an official sponsor is great I’m actually really excited to be going solo this year. Solo? Well, almost! I’m also dragging my husband along with me this year. He’s been such a great supporter of my blog and he really loves to party. He even has his own ticket so he can follow me around wherever he likes.