It’s funny. I’ve been wanting to attend BlogHer for over 2 years, pretty much from the day I heard about the big blogosphere and this conference. I had ideas in my head about what this conference would be like. Things such as an opportunity to connect with brands, I’m not going to lie, lots of swag, and of course, meeting people at every corner, and the fantastic parties.
What is an ACTUAL BlogHer conference like?
Now, keep in mind, I can’t really comment on the conference sessions since I only purchased the Expo/Party pass, but here’s a lowdown and some advice:
1) BlogHer is something every blogger must experience!
There. I said it. There’s one thing to hear thoughts from others attending, but it’s a completely different thing when you’re attending yourself and you’re able to create your own thoughts on the conference. And… in the end, your thoughts may be quite different from others.
2) The SWAG is Overrated
I remember many comments from past BlogHer attendees about the insane amount of swag at BlogHer. But, really? Yes, it’s swag. But, by the second day I was already tired of grabbing stuff and was already limiting what I wanted to bring home with me. That still didn’t stop me from accumulating bags full though. And, don’t get me wrong…. chances to win Apple Ipad Minis will get you every time.. hence my two board games I took home on behalf of Chucke E Cheese. PS: This was great because our official board game collection has now begun.
When it comes to coffee mugs for the next year, trust me, I am set! However, I must admit, the best swag was an item I just randomly ran across when I was looking through the Skype Booth. An extra on the go battery charger was the best gift any sponsor could have given me! Thanks SKYPE. Ohhh, and a really awesome pen from San Jose that could also be used as a stylist for my phone or tablet. I love those geeky tech products!
3) The Downside of a #SelfieBration
This year’s theme at BlogHer was none other than the infamous #SelfieBration meaning there were many photo booths and opportunities to take photos… however, what they don’t talk about, is the time you hit a wall and realize that you’re no longer narcissistic and the torture of taking one more photo. Yes, I hit that wall.
During that moment I decided to take a break from the conference and walked around San Jose taking photos of the beautiful Historic Theaters that San Jose has kept going through the years.
4) Those Down Times
Yes. You will hit a wall. And even more so if you’re an introvert. There were times where I could go and go for a few hours then I’d hit a wall. During those moments I’d sit on a random bench or at a table and people watch around me, but it was also in those rare moments that I may have crossed paths with a person I was looking to connect with, and soon the down time was over with.
But, its in these rare moments, that some of the best experiences can happen at the conference! Start a conversation up with the person sitting next to you and just see what may happen.
5) It’s Good to Get Away!
I soon learned, that it was okay to take time away from the conference. During those times, with roommate in tow, we took to the streets of San Jose, and found some great gems around the city.
A new Wine Spot in Vino Vino, a fantastic donut shop where I became “Psycho of the Month” at Psycho Donuts, and lets not forget about the food. I mean, seriously, just stop into the San Pedro Square Market and you won’t be disappointed. Ohhhh, and San Jose has some great craft beer joints around town.
But, after those breaks, it refreshes you and you’re ready to network and connect with others around you.
6) Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
You’re at a conference with tons of other bloggers. Go up to someone and start a conversation if you usually don’t. Attend a session that you wouldn’t have thought to attend before, or stop by a sponsor booth you don’t know anything about. It is through the conversations that we allow ourselves to grow and learn. And of course, find if somethings a fit or not for us too.
I had many of those moments during the conference, and let me tell you, I don’t regret them at all. Some led to some great conversations and learning opportunities.
7) Be Yourself
It’s funny.. when I look back through my photos of BlogHer, I realize that I looked at the topics I blog about here, and realized I incorporated them into my BlogHer experience. Through the life of food, wine and travel. When we blog, we have to remember to be genuine and authentic. When we are, that’s the moment that others will also begin to connect with you.
But, whats even more important is showcasing that genuineness through our social channels too. And well, it’s really branding too, right?
8) Always Good to Have Someone There to Hang Out With!
Throughout the conference I had many times where I was wondering the halls alone, and going to various events on my own. It was great in that I could meet other people for the first time and connect, but one key factor that really helped my BlogHer experience was having someone to talk to with my lovely roommate.
At the end of the day we could share our wins and our losses, and meet up at random places throughout the conference. It really does help having that friendly face to motivate you more, and to have fun with to.
I also told myself many times that this would be a hard conference to attempt going to on your own… although, really, everyone was incredibly friendly so maybe not 😉
9) All About the Closing Party!
One thing I learned? McDonald’s knows how to throw a great party. Another thing? Rev Run still has it going on, and made an excellent end to the BlogHer conference. Can’t remember the last time I had that much fun.
In the end, I survived my first BlogHer. I learned a lot about myself in the process along with the direction I want to take my blog. And also learned what I liked and did not like about the conference.