Well, it has been one crazy weekend, no doubt. From being totally overwhelmed on day one, to having my blog offline pretty much the entire time, to not learning one thing! But, I did a BUNCH of networking and have a bunch of people to catch up with ASAP. In fact, instead of writing this post, I should be working on what I am going to say to each person.
Ok, I want to break it down individually to explain why I would still go back even though the top sounds like a horror story.
I was totally overwhelmed at BlogHer 2011
On the very first day there, Thursday, none of the people I knew online had arrived yet, or if they had I didn’t know it because internet was non-existent for me! Literally, I walked for about 2 hours and never could find a place to eat… all by myself! I finally gave up. Then, I went to the event area figuring someone would have to be hanging out even though it was way too early for it to start. I didn’t see anyone, so I walked up to the registration booth where I saw people working and asked them only to be told (very rudely mind-you) that it didn’t open until 3:00. “yeah, thanks… that is not what I asked!” Arggh. At this point, I am tired, hungry, embarrassed, feeling a bit left out, and (most of you didn’t know this about me) but nicotine-free for about 24 hours. Needless to say, I found a quiet corner and called my mother in tears. God Love Her… she laughed at me. ROTFL!
Finally, I met with people I knew and things got better until the first party that night. My hotel was a good 25 minute walk away from the party and I went with a friend. I was tired.. ok beyond tired since I was running on about 3 hours of sleep almost 24 hours before. I was ready to go back to the room and well, she wasn’t. I don’t blame her, but everything was too much for me so I just left – yep… in tears! Geez, these conferences make me cry when I am NOT a crier. So, I am in the elevator when the tears came and there must have been at least 1/2 a dozen other women in there and they all just stared at me like I had an Octopus attached to my face! This one lady – ONE PERSON – took one look at me and just wrapped me in a hug.
So, Day one was horrible!! If I could have gotten a flight, I would have been on my way home right that second! I wanted my Mom, my Husband, and my darling boys – you know, all the people that think I am a Super Star because I was going with a huge brand (Tropicana and PepsiCo) and would be meeting some amazing Celebrities. Those people that don’t quite understand what I do and think it is the most awesome job ever. Yeah, those people that love me unconditionally instead of all the Cliquey people that think people in Alabama are uneducated rednecks.
With that said, I made a friend in the elevator that night and vowed to find her again. I did and her name is Sugar. Yep. sweet and darling Sugar Jones! Thank goodness for her.. she honestly helped me. I didn’t really know why I was crying except that it had all built up I guess and needed to come out. I guess you could say Sugar woke me up to the fact that there would be some friendly people in the 3500 people there and I just had to find them.
Day Two at BlogHer got a bit better…
Day Two dawned pretty good with me finally getting a meal and finding my friends that I had met before or been friends with on the internet and even making a few new friends.
I spent an hour in the PepsiCo Promenade getting people to make the Tropicana Fruit and Veggies Pledge, conducting interviews, and giving away coupons for FREE orange juice.
I attended my only class of the day, Minding Your Own Business: Connecting with Brands from he Inside Out. Can you say, FLOP!? OK, not really… I sat down at the perfect table… a table full of nothing but brand representatives, so I was able to network with them. Including (yeah, you can insert jumping up and down and screaming here) the Head of Marketing to Women for Harley Davidson!! OMG!! Right!? So, I was able to start some relationships with them… then, the class started and I got furious with what was happening! Brands were getting ticked, bloggers were getting ticked, the panel was fighting. I finally asked for the microphone and basically said,
Let me just say that I have been a review blogger for about 3.5 years and all this fighting is ridiculous! Bloggers, I don’t know about you but I get literally 1,000+ emails per day from brands pitching me their products. It is funny to laugh about the off-the-wall pitches, but honestly if it doesn’t fit my plans I explain that it does and WHY and move on. It is my blog and my choice. Brands, same goes! Instead of getting ticked at the people that want cash money to conduct a review, remove them from your list of contacts or red flag them so you never contact them again and move on the another blogger. Guess what… there are more of us than brands.
OK, so it was a bunch more in depth than that and I am super curious to read it when the transcribed meeting goes live. But you know what happened when I tried to leave that meeting? I was stopped by numerous brands thanking me for that and wanting to work with me! Yeah, baby! LOL! So, although I learned absolutely NOTHING from the panel… I did make some great connections and am super excited to see what they bring.
Day Three (or Day Two of the Conference) Just About Killed Me!
Wow, I am over 1000 words on this and still have a long way to go, so I am ending this here. You will see more from me soon, including some of those interviews I conducted.