Blogher ’12, Social Anxiety, and Being Pregnant

I am sure the title of this post has you clenching and grinding your teeth already. I need to follow up with a post “Butterflies, cupcakes, and winning the lottery” and equalize the less than positive feelings. See, I have “added-ticket-to-cart” for BlogHer about 4 times in my life, and then chickened out. I have actually done this with a bunch of conferences. Maybe it stems from the not-planned trip to the Nate Berkus show a few years back which resulted me in a room with 90 bloggers asking for “blog cards” and stepping on one another for their 3 minutes of air time before the show was canceled. I was just going to meet someone for lunch, then became intrigued, and then disgusted with the freak show happening in front of me. I swiftly printed my “blog cards” after that interaction, however I completely removed myself from the blogging community. Then I had a few great experiences because brands like Delta hosted fun and small events and I became comfortable.  This year, I hit pay. I did no research. I didn’t look at keynotes, I didn’t know parties were involved, and I don’t even know anyone going.

blogher, blogher12, bloger'12, blogher 2012,So, post-purchase, I started doing some research. Twitter has scared the crap out of me. People begging fo party invites, people begging for hotel rooms – that same feeling from the Nate Berkus Show – Pick Me! I am not a social climber, and maybe this blog will never become the biggest blog in the world because of it, but I am scared again. First off, I am a natural “I just want to be around people I know” person. And now with being pregnant, I am a “Opps, sorry I just vomited on you” person. Seems silly I picked now to go to Blogher, but I don’t know how my schedule will be post kiddo(s). It just seems like pure chaos and I want to hear some positive stories about people getting something out of it. So far I have heard it’s clique, it’s a fashion show, it’s about who you know and what invites you get.  In all honesty, I am well seasoned at conferences for the past dozen years that don’t have to do specifically with blogging. Funny thing is, I use to present quite often! I had fun, made connections, and always looked forward to the next one. Something about thousands of women under one roof with the same goal is beginning to scare me. If anyone out there has been, maybe you can slap the scare out of me and let me know what to expect.

  1. How is the actual conference/keynotes?
  2. Did you walk away with any valuable information?
  3. How important are the parties?
  4. What’s the best way to connect with companies you want to work with (without having to stand in line and fight for attention)
  5. Did you have fun?!
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  1. Hey – saw your link on Twitter and recognized your blog. We have a friend in common and for the life of me, I can’t remember who it is! Maybe my sister in law… Anyway, someone (think they don’t have a blog) directed me here at some point, saying “I know someone who has a blog.”

    As for BlogHer – I’ve been to the past two and will be there again this year too. I always went with friends, so there was no serious networking pressure. I already knew people and had plans to meet for meals/coffee. So I do suggest having plans to see people if any of your friends are attending. I’d love to meet you and figure out who this person we both know is! So visit me in the Serenity Suite (I’ll be working there 10-12 on Friday) if you have time.

    I’ve never been that interested in the keynote presentations, but they have a couple of big name speakers this year, so may check those out. The community keynote (voices of the year) is great if you like enjoy reading blogs for personal stories. I’d go to that no matter what – everyone gets different things out of it (relating to the stories, getting a new perspective on an issue, laughing at the humor readings). Smaller sessions are all in the same area, so if you don’t like the one you picked, you can always leave and try another. I find that the fewer people on the panel, the better the presentation – too complicated to explain here, but just thought I’d mention it.

    Don’t worry about the parties. Just go to the conference ones – they always get a good crowd. Plenty of “big bloggers” I know aren’t invited to the small private ones anyway – those invites have more to do with brand affiliation and marketing potential than some popularity contest. If you do get invited to a smaller party – only go if you think it sounds fun. I’ve been to both and have never really had a bad experience. Just don’t overbook yourself trying to do EVERYTHING. You’ll have a better time spending 2 hours a one party than a half hour at four.

    Check out the exhibiting companies in advance and decide which ones are of interest to you. For example, I loved the various paper products, home improvement, etc. booths – but bypassed the ones that involved food. Okay – except for the Lindt booth. Chocolate and lunch meat are NOT the same thing. Either way, the people in the booth WANT to talk to you so it’s the best place to make connections. It’s rare that you’d have to stand in line, but if it looks too crowded, just go back later (when the exhibit hall opens in the a.m. it’s pretty empty – a good time to have the reps’ undivided attention).

    I ALWAYS have fun at BlogHer. You’ll see the same advice everywhere – and it’s worth taking: be friendly, talk to people, assume people want to meet you and if for any reason someone is less than friendly in return, assume that you caught them at a bad time, and move on.

    Okay – super long comment! But hopefully I helped answer some questions. Feel free to e-mail me if you want. And I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

  2. JUST came to me! Alana (Anter?) Hood. She’s married to my husband’s cousin and they were here for Thanksgiving. I’m positive that’s who showed me your site. She’s a doll.

    • Joey & Lana says:

      Kate –

      Thank you so much for this comment! You seriously eased a lot of my “mystery” troubles! I would love to meet you! I am going with someone, but assume I will take some breaks and go off on my own here and there. I LOVE ALANA! We grew up going to the same school on the same street! I actually stopped by her new house on a road trip back from St. Paul to NY :)

      Let’s swap info! joeyandlana at gmail

      thanks for stopping by :)

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