It’s no surprise that I went to BlogHer 2010 this past weekend. Unless you lived under a rock (which sounds rather appealing after a long weekend of travel and work), you might have noticed my obsessive tweeting, Facebook updates and networking. But what you might not know, is how different the experience really was from what I initially imagined.
I’ve traveled to New York multiple times for New York Fashion Week (and will be going again next month), but was excited for the difference in crowd that BlogHer seemed to present. I expected a mutual bonding experience between women and moms where we share tips, support and possibly even braid one another’s hair. Now I have to admit, BlogHer had a great many of these things: I enjoyed conversing with “online friends” I’ve never met in real life, laughing with my roommates (Lara from Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom, Jennifer from Savor The Thyme, and Jennifer from Hip As I Wanna Be), and mingling with my favorite brands. But I was shocked to find that the intimidating hierarchy that often exists amongst the fashion and beauty crowd during fashion week, was still present during blogging conferences.
It’s hard to tell if the off hand comments or cold responses were due to fellow bloggers introvert tendencies or personal stressors during the conference, but regardless, if you were a blogger who felt uncomfortable, insecure or frustrated during BlogHer (or are worried about feeling as such next year), here are my tips:
* Don’t Give Up: It’s true that you go to these conferences to meet new people, but sometimes fellow bloggers just don’t seem open to your advances…but don’t let it bother you. Keep being yourself, keep being friendly, and eventually you’ll find someone who is happy to converse.
* Be Yourself: I was surprised at how quickly I found my snarky side coming out. As someone who is usually so friendly I get walked all over in my day to day life, I’ve learned that I have a snotty alter ego who wants to present herself at fashion week or conferences (though I try to fight her off). If you feel yourself lowering your social standards due to stress, make an effort to take a break, go get a sip of water, call your family and talk to your kids, and remind yourself why you’re there in the first place. (Hint: it’s not to be the “coolest” blogger on earth!)
* Be Prepared… Sort Of: I thought I was totally prepared for BlogHer. I read other blogger’s suggestions, I scanned the forums, and I made many a list. But in the end? I was that chick who forgot her conference badge at home, didn’t pack sneakers for a healthy walking event, and even forgot to print certain invitations. Try not to stress. I realized that even though I was not carrying pie charts of events and engagements (and was generally pretty clueless the entire weekend), breaking your plans and enjoying the ride can be just as fun as sticking to schedule.
* Avoid The Competition: Who knew that bloggers could be so competitive? As with any profession, a lot of bloggers get way too caught up in the “top tweeters” lists or “who’s invited to what party.” In the end? It’s all subjective. You don’t have to have a big, showy blog to have readers enjoy your work (and there is no point in worrying about what parties you’re not attending). If all else fails? Make your own party. Make your own fun (And stop worrying about what everyone else is doing).
* Say “Yes” Carefully: My roomie Jennifer admitted that some bloggers barely attended sessions, and only went to parties. Guess what? I was one of those gals (except not intentionally). I bought a full BlogHer Conference pass in the hopes of learning, growing and taking more notes than humanly possible. But in the end, my schedule was so packed with events, private parties and meetings… that I didn’t attend anything that could constitute as educational. Would I do it all again? That’s actually hard to answer, because I loved the smaller, more intimate parties where I could really meet new people, talk with brands and learn about products I enjoy. But do I wish I’d had more time and freedom to attend the conference like my savvier friends? Yes.
Since I am not a swag chaser (though it’s tempting at times), there were certain brands that I really, truly, 100% fell in love with because of who they were and how they expressed themselves (and not because they had the swankiest gigs). Who were they? Read on…
The Top 2 Brands I Met (That You DON’T Want To Miss):
1. Seed Body Care: Yes, I was the co-host of the “Seed In The City” event at BlogHer, but let’s be honest: I listened to brand owners Rebecca and Ben with as much interest as everyone else. Their sincere appreciation of bloggers, their intense interest in our opinions, and their extreme pride behind the continually growing brand is one of a kind. They not only care deeply about creating green, all natural products that nurture our skin and bodies, but they also research and read every single thing that their blogging friends create. Where else are you going to find that?
2. Juno Baby: I don’t know if I’ve ever had this big of a crush on a brand (or the people behind it), but Juno Baby not only cares about their products and our kids… they really care about us as bloggers. I can’t believe I have two girls and wasn’t already a Juno Baby convert, but all it took was a few minutes to hear about their brand, and I’m in. Juno Baby composes original pieces of classical music for their videos (thanks to fellow mother Belinda Takahashi), and develop movies and CD’s that encourage children’s appreciation of music, brain development and conversational skills. My girls have watched their Juno Baby movie on repeat since I returned home (while holding Juno Baby dolls), and my 1 year old has nearly brought me to tears by clapping her hands and starting to dance to the music (as long as her hearing aids are on full blast). I was so impacted by their concept and care in relation to our children’s education, that I have vowed to give Juno Baby products as gifts whenever possible (they are a brand we all should strive to support).
Of course, this is not all of the brands I loved or encountered during the conference, so I’ll be sharing much more info as month goes on! Stay tuned for videos, posts and tons of inside scoop, and let me know…
* What did YOU think of the BlogHer conference? Are you planning on attending next year?