THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to comment on my pre-Blissdom Freakout post. I loved everyone’s advice and really, really appreciated it. I took it to heart, and feel that I did a good job being awesome and friendly.
Once I walked into the room my fears fell away. I definitely have much more confidence in my awesomeness and talking-to-strangers skills than I had two years ago.
In Short: Tips for Attending a Blog Conference
- Network online beforehand. Use the conference Facebook page, Twitter hashtags, etc. Find other bloggers you connect with ahead of time.
- Lower your expectations for networking; consider it will be a success if you meet a few people you really connect with.
- Don’t feel pressured to attend every session if you’re not inspired to do so. It’s YOUR world, attend it your way.
- Tip to myself: Don’t attend a blog conference immediately after traveling and attending 2 other conferences for work. I was socially drained, and that affected my ability to get the most out of Blissdom.
Now that I’ve survived, I just think we may have the wrong expectations for a blogging conference.
1. In regards to the sessions – there were a few that were awesome, but some where I didn’t feel the content was really meaty. I wanted to really learn something in each session. I also didn’t need 1.5 hours of “free time” between each session in order to mill around the sponsor areas and tweet “OMG FREE STUFF FROM SO-AND-SO.”
2. In regards to meeting people:
No matter how awesome I am, I suspect that many people who attend blog conferences aren’t really that interested in meeting new bloggers, no matter how much I smiled and was friendly and asked them about themselves. (Of course there were some exceptions.)
Let’s back up. I’m used to attending conferences for work; conferences where small businesses and large businesses want to learn and to connect with new people and businesses. The attendees don’t have a thriving online social life. Conferences are their primary way of connecting with others in their industry.
In the blog world, however, we are making connections every day as we follow people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and read their blogs.
I went to Blissdom interested in meeting other bloggers and small business owners, because I LOVE MEETING NEW PEOPLE.
I don’t think most of the other ladies were there with that same goal, however. I think they were there to hang out, in person, with other bloggers who they knew from online. I don’t think they’re trying to be unfriendly; I don’t think they’re jerks. I just think they looked forward to spending time with their online friends, which is perfectly acceptable.
If that’s the case, then I don’t think any amount of friendliness or confidence would help me connect with people at Blissdom.
From the looks of several other posts, it seems other people had that experience, too.
I am honestly not sure if I’ll go again. Blissdom may not be the right conference for me, though the keynote speakers are always amazing. Haven may be more my style. Or SNAP. Or maybe I’m just not a blog conference girl?
If I do attend another conference, including Blissdom, I will be much more active in connecting with other attendees ahead of time via the Facebook page and Twitter. It appears that there was a lot of activity on the Blissdom Facebook page, and I wish I’d taken a look at it. That way I could find people with whom I connected ahead of time.
Sidenote: I stumbled onto this blog post at Jeremy and Kathleen about how Kathleen of Braid Creative is done with conferences after this last ALT conference. It spoke to me perfectly and made me feel less alone. 🙂