This time last week I was knee deep in New York City taking part in the largest blogging conference known to man. There were 5,000 people in attendance, private party lines of 200 + women, keynote speakers who are big deals OUTSIDE the blogging world (see above), satellite addresses from President Obama, and fuzzy uteri in the expo hall, I should still be on a high…right? Yet here I sit, outside the swag (that I’ll be getting to in a moment) littering my table and a handful of e-mails last week could have been any other week of the year for me and I’m feeling sad about that. So, because you know I love a list and pointing out all the things I’ve learned the hard way, I’m going to share with you what I WILL be doing in Chicago at BlogHer 2013, should I brave this event another year.
- I will not choose to wear anything other than my $1 Old Navy flip-flops from the get-go! I don’t know about you but I spend the majority of my day at home and barefoot. The slightest bit of a heel makes my shins ache and by Saturday I was saying a prayer with every step. I only compounded the problem when I chose to slip on a pair of new (but they’re loose it’ll be okay, I told myself) flats without socks, booties, or panyhose. I’m still dealing with the blisters.
- I will bring a portable fan and/or towel with me everywhere I go! Sure, the session rooms got a little chilly but the expo hall was too much for this sweaty girl. Take a bunch of hot air and add shopping bags to lug around and I was in crazy sweat mode. If you see the pictures please take pity. (Yes that’s me looking sickly with This Full House’s Liz, the poor thing was kind enough to take a picture with this wreck of a woman!)
- I will only room with one other person. I absolutely LOVED my roommates and being able to discuss stuff with them every night was great. However, I’m a talker so that meant when I should’ve been going over my plans for the next day and scheduling out my time I was um, talking. I think had there been only one roomie I might have been able to shut my mouth more often!
- I will have a smartphone. Now, don’t go crazy! It’s just not in my nature to pay monthly for a smartphone plan that I’ll never otherwise use, but I am thinking of spending the money for a pay-as-you-go phone that I can add/delete a data plan without much drama. Seriously I have NO IDEA about this but I saw someone else mention it in a facebook group and it would work perfectly for me! WHY? Because the wi-fi provided by the hotel was willy-nilly, most of the sponsors had giveaways going on that needed to be tweeted on the spot (otherwise you’d probably forget), and during the sessions it’s nice to spread a little love to the speakers when they really touch a nerve! -and I mean that in a good way!
- I will attend private events, some of which may be outboarding, so sue me! Trust me I know how much outboarders suck. Unfortunately, as a consumer, it’s still advantageous for me to attend when invited. That said, there were only two private parties I attended that I wish I hadn’t, they shall remain nameless but I will tell you about the ones that rocked and I hope their sponsors will find a way to work within the system next year! Social Soiree – teeming with sponsors/brands who were looking to connect with bloggers not just hand out free stuff. Hasbro – Um fun! Yes, there was a horribly long line and yes, only the first 300 were expected to get swag bags but who cares, it was fun! I had drinks inspired by My Little Pony, played Where’s My Water, dressed up as the Hulk, AND shot a few different Nerf guns…awesome! SweatPink – Bryant Park opens at 7 a.m. not 6 a.m. as the event hosts had planned. So we worked out on a sidewalk…for real, it wasn’t that bad and it was nice to get up and see the city without having to fight a crowd. StumbleUponNYC Tour – This event ran long, BUT is was literally the most sight-seeing I managed on the entire trip. I really hope they can find a way to incorporate something like this into the main event. Sure they asked you to stumble and tweet during the tour, but they also wanted you to learn a little about the host city and I appreciated that.
- I will jump at every official opportunity that comes my way! I only attended a few official ‘private’ events and I’m so grateful for all of them. The first was the McDonald’s Breakfast. It was an eye-opening experience for this previous McDonald’s hater…did you know 80% of their menu is under 400 calories? Think about it, you never see a Big Mac or Angus burger on one of those “10 deadliest burger” lists and there’s a reason for that. Did you also know that McDonald’s is like the largest consumer of American apples? (Okay, I kinda made that up ‘cause I can’t remember the exact fact, but seriously, they use a LOT of apples!) I was contacted by Lysol to interview Dr. Laura Jana and I’m actually going to be discussing that experience and product Monday on MVEM Reviews. The final official event was literally the last event of the entire weekend, the Blogalicious Brunch on Sunday…holy crapballs! What a way to end an event, every negative experience I had was shadowed by the optimism and inspiration gained by the speakers and organizers of this breakfast. I implore you to check them out here and the keynote speaker A Belle In Brooklyn.
- I will attend more sessions. I admit it, I attended no sessions other than those I worked as a mic wrangler, and I regret it. I met a number of contacts at the expo hall and parties BUT another big part of blogging conferences is making connections and learning from fellow bloggers during the sessions. There's an renewal of purpose that happens, at least for me, and I didn’t get that. Instead, I left still questioning the direction my blog, and newly launched review blog, have been taking. Thankfully there’s always next year!
- I will not bring home so much swag…yeah, no, I will! Swag is just fun and here’s where I mention the GIVEAWAY! It’s not a monster amount of stuff, but it is a pretty good collection and I’m giving it away over here on my review site! Please go check it out now and enter to win!
I’m still trying to decide whether or not I’ll attend BlogHer ‘13…it is here in the Midwest…hmmm. Will you be there?