My Experience as a BlogHer Newbie
In between sessions, and when I could find the time, I continued to rush through the Expo to try and build brand connections. I also made my way upstairs to the suites where several companies had set up shop.
These were my favorite way of meeting people because it was typically a lot less crowded, and there was more time to visit and discuss any questions you had about products.
Each suite did an amazing job decorating to fit their theme and brand! Hershey/Walmart turned their entire room into a camping ground complete with campfire and s'mores. Which (by the way) I've been craving ever since!
Lunch time on Friday and Saturday was a unique experience! The Hilton did an amazing job ushering almost 5,000 bloggers through almost 8 buffet lines.
It all seemed very unorganized and chaotic, but surprisingly we made it through really quickly, and even found a seat in time to hear. . . Martha Stewart!
Martha was the keynote speaker on Friday, and did an amazing job of making the audience feel empowered by their use of the internet. She discussed her personal experience with using blogs, e-magazines, Facebook, and Twitter. She even revealed that Twitter is probably her favorite platform.
Saturday was more of the same. Sessions and a keynote speech from Katie Couric.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the Voices of the Year ceremony after the session had ended. My pregnant body had given up on me by this point, and I had to force myself to head back to the hotel.
For Newbies: Each day of the conference, I highly recommend not overwhelming yourself with feeling like you have to do everything! The most valuable part of the conference is the sessions. Plan those out first, then fill your time with the sponsors, Expo, and other off-campus activities. The more involved you get, the more overwhelmed you get!
At one point on Saturday, I just accepted the fact that I wasn't going to get every free object to be had. I wasn't going to be able to attended every session. I also didn't need to feel bad if I had to stop and rest instead of heading to a party.
Although standing in 90 degree NYC heat for thirty minutes wasn't ideal, it was in line, that I met some great bloggers like Rachel Marie Martin of Finding Joy and Jenn Perry of Daze of Adventure who offered to let me hang with them since I was clearly alone. :)
Being pregnant, I knew I couldn't keep with them, so I ended up grabbing my glass of water, and finding a table where I had a great view of the party.
Overall, I had a great experience at BlogHer, and I don't even feel like I fully participated. As you may already know, I cheated slightly by bringing my husband along just in case it wasn't what I expected. But it was way more! I learned so much, and I can't WAIT to attend BlogHer '13!
My last few pieces of advice:
- Apparently the internet never works correctly at BlogHer. If you bring your laptop to the sessions, and can't log in within the first hour, don't bother bringing your computer to a session again. It's not worth the weight on your shoulder, and most of the sessions were posted online afterwards anyway. I just took notes!
- No joke. Pack a suitcase inside a suitecase. You'll need it for all the extra items you bring home or you have the option of shipping.
- Speak up! When you sit down at a session, turn to the person to your left and then your right and introduce yourself. It's the best way to meet new people, and discover weird coincidences!
- For example, at the Newbie breakfast a random stranger sat down next to me. She just happened to be rooming with Jenny (a fellow DMB writer!).
- Also, standing in line at the Hasbro party, I never would have known I was standing in front of the original author of "Dear Mom Letter"s who we just quoted on DMB.
- Or walking up to the Soda Stream station, I'd meet fellow Dallas blogger, A Frugal Friend.