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My Going to #BlogHer12 Advice Post

People. BlogHer 12.

Me + Emma + Alena + Holden + NYC = Too much awesome for that city to handle, yo. And it happens in less than FIVE DAYS.

Brace yourselves.

There’s a lot of advice floating around the internet so I feel like it’s only proper that now, when we’re a week away from The Main Event, I write a post about all the things one needs to know about attending BlogHer. According to me at least. Mostly because I can’t stop thinking about it and also because I have a (probably bad) habit of giving unsolicited advice.

Last year, as a newbie, I was terrified. I word vommed all over this place about my nerves and fears and anxiety over going. I was scared I wouldn’t fit in. I was terrified Joshua and Dan would starve. I was afraid my Spanx would roll down to my ankles mid-walk through the conference center and flash my Assets to the world.

I was freaking out about so many things before going that I nearly jeopardized any fun I might’ve had. But here’s what I learned when I think back through the madness of last year.

1. Wear Comfortable Shoes

Every advice post I’ve read has this same advice. You know why? BECAUSE IT’S GOOD ADVICE. You will walk more than you think just going from your hotel room to the conference center. You will stand. A lot. Wear comfortable shoes.

Now, comfortable shoes. Well, what’s that mean, exactly?

Basically, it means don’t be an idiot. Don’t try to make a statement with your shoes. I promise you, people aren’t really looking at your feet. And if they are, that’s maybe weird.

If you don’t wear heels–EVER–don’t start wearing them at BlogHer. If you don’t wear flats–ever–don’t start wearing them at BlogHer.

I have a friend who wears heels almost every day. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen her in a flat shoe. If she were an attendee, she could rock heels at BlogHer like it’s nobody’s business.

I, on the other hand, love wedges and flats. The Shoenicorn and the Shoenicorn’s Cousin both came with me last year and I wore them without problem because they’re my normal kind of shoe. I also wore my Toms because they’re maybe the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned in my entire life.

Toms love Moms shoes

Comfort is key, people.

2. Clothing: See Rule #1

Sub in the word “clothes” wherever you read shoes. Be comfortable. Be you. No matter what that is. And dress for your purpose. What ever that happens to be.

3. Make A Schedule. Then Consider Throwing it Away.

A calendar is great to keep yourself organized. Last year, mine was color-coded. See:

color coded calendar

Crazy cakes. Also, pretty.

But the trouble with the calendar is that it’s a schedule that can tie you down. Clearly, I had super high expectations of what I was going to do and learn and about the connections I’d make with brands and bloggers and this was going to be the thing that changed my blogging life.

The truth? I’m really not sure where the calendar went after my plane landed in San Diego. I made it to one session and wandered the Expo hall talking to people and getting to know them better nearly the whole time. Only one of those people was associated with a brand and I had that connection before I went to BlogHer. I went to some of the parties on that calendar and didn’t go to others.

Don’t get so wrapped up in your calendar that you miss out on what might be quite serendipitous and better for your soul than a piece of swag. Let things happen that don’t fit into your color-coded idea of what the conference should be.

What I learned is that my expectations of what I can and can’t do have to be lower than I think they need to be. I’m quite Type A by nature, but not when it comes to this. I don’t want my Type A nature to cause me to miss out on something spontaneous. The fun of BlogHer is being in the moment.

4. Aim Low

There’s a whole party dedicated to this idea on Saturday night. When I say “aim low” what I mean is know that you can’t do it all. You cannot be at every party and every session and in the Expo hall and meeting new people and hanging with old friends ALL AT ONCE. It’s just not possible.

If you have figured out the secret to cloning and you CAN do that? Sign me up. Because I need another Me to nurse my baby while First Me gets my hair done today. And another Me to sleep. And another Me to drink wine.

Lower your expectations of yourself and your ability to do it all.

5. Introduce Yourself

Don’t be afraid of this. Strike up a conversation. Smile. You never know who you’re meeting.

6. Find Your People. Make One (or more) of Them Your Wingblogger.

Maybe you call this your tribe. Or your homies. Or just your people.

I call mine friends.

Make plans ahead of time to do things with the people you already feel you know best. Sure, there’s a whole lot of new people to meet and hang out with and get to know, but there’s something comforting to me to know that someone I’m with knows me personally ahead of time. They “get” me.

One of my big fears was going it alone at BlogHer. I’m a social creature. I crave being with people. I was so incredibly thankful for Katie, and Nichole, and Diana, Suz, and Alena. Because of them, and because of the conversations we had before the conference, I was never lonely. Everything felt natural. I had a buddy. Just like on field trips in elementary school.

My people.

We here in Social Media World spend a lot of time developing relationships and friendships with the people who live in our computers. This is the opportunity to meet them for real. To hug their faces off. This is the moment when they become tangible, walking, talking, breathing people and not just ones and zeroes blipping about in cyberspace. Spend time nurturing those relationships when you have the chance to do it in real life. You (probably) won’t regret it.

7. Don’t Take It Personally

It’s impossible to meet up with everyone you want to meet, and when you do meet up with those people, it might be a casual and quick hello instead of that in-depth, you’re-my-blogging-soulmate connection you want it to be. People are busy and coming and going and busy and did I say it’s impossible and people are busy, yet? It may be a quick “Oh hi!” followed by a “wow, great to meet you!” after. Don’t take it personally because it’s probably not personal.

8. Know What You Want Out Of This And Make It Happen

Everyone’s purpose for being at BlogHer is different. Some of us are there to meet with brands and some of us are there to hone our technical skills. Some of us just want to see the friends we don’t get to see very often. Some of us are a combination of everything.

That’s totally fine.

Truly. It is.

And it’s okay if your purpose for being there changes mid-conference, too. Make the most of it. Whatever IT is.

Make it an experience you won’t regret or forget.

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Saturday 28th of July 2012

you have no idea how sad I am that I won't be able to hug you and squee with you in an airport again. How sad I am that I won't be walking around large buildings with you. how sad I am not to always have you there when I needed you. How sad I am that I won't get to sniff your baby's head off.

But mostly...

How sad I am to not just hang out with you. Like it happens all the time. but it doesn't. And I wish it did.


Thursday 26th of July 2012

Great advice! I can't wait to meet you. And hug you! And squee all over wee Emma!


Thursday 26th of July 2012

Also your rule #1 is my life rule #1. It's brilliant!


Thursday 26th of July 2012

Wow am so jealous! Have a ball!

Cathy L

Thursday 26th of July 2012

Thanks for this! I really would love to go to the next BlogHer, it's great to get some tips. I love your schedule--it's something I would do too.

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