If you search for them, there are lots of posts out there about getting ready for BlogHer 13 with lots of great perspectives. But I finally got my plane ticket today (apparently, flying out of Wilmington, Delaware is super cheap!) and I’m getting very excited, and thought I’d share my thoughts.
I’ve been attending since 2008. I’m not going to lie – I love the BlogHer conference. It’s one of my favorite events each year. But last year I walked away from BlogHer feeling pretty disconnected from blogging, and not sure that I’d be returning to the conference this year. Blessedly, that feeling lasted about a week. I’ve known I was going to attend this year since last August.
But there are definite differences this year. Much of the conference events are happening at a convention center instead of the hotel (I think all of us that were in NYC last year will breathe a sigh of relief about the extra room), but unlike BlogHer 11 in San Diego the hotel and convention center aren’t connected. So this brings us to something I hear many people worrying about; getting to the convention center. Well, there’s good news there: there will be buses running all day long (not just in the morning and evening, although there will more during the heavy travel days), and they will be on a dedicated route that is ONLY for buses – so you don’t need to worry about traffic either.
Back in 2010 I wrote another prepping for BlogHer post on my blog, and much of that advice still stands. Particularly that part about the shoes. Heh. And yes it’s great to make sure you have business cards (preferably with your picture on them), plan your sessions in advance, pick out the perfect outfit, and get ready to dance the night away at the parties.
But I think the real prep work is less obvious and more internal. For instance, even if you’re the biggest extrovert in the world, you should have a plan for what you’ll do when you get overwhelmed – and with well over 4,000 people attending, it’s likely you WILL get overwhelmed. If you aren’t staying at the conference hotel or you’ll be at the convention center all day, scope out a quiet corner where you can sit, pop in your headphones, and get some down time.
Also, try to keep your expectations of other people reasonable. That blogger you’ve been dying to meet? Well, the moment you run into her and introduce yourself might be the moment she is overwhelmed, and she cuts you short. Or maybe she just hung up the phone with her husband/partner and is quietly freaking out about what’s going on at home (not like that’s ever happened to me or anything, ahem). Be patient with everyone. Remember that everyone, including that OMG famous blogger or media personality you adore, is just another person with their own insecurities and worries and fears.
Otherwise? Just pace yourself. Keep an eye for the magic moments. Look up from your laptop or phone and catch someone’s eye that is also smirking at that joke and smile. Because BlogHer is full of moments like that. Savor them. And remember to enjoy yourself. I know I will.
Hope I see you there!