I’ve never been one to recommend parenting books to pregnant friends or other mothers. I mean, I don’t know what the hell kind of mother they want to be, so who am I to say “this, here, this is the perfect manual for becoming the perfect parent!!” It’s crazy, right? But you know what I do recommend to every single pregnant woman?
Because it doesn’t tell you how to be pregnant or give birth or raise babies. It just says – hey, here are some things you can expect to see along the way. Advice can be overwhelming, but knowledge is, as they say, power – the power to make up your own mind, maybe.
I thought about What To Expect When You’re Expecting when Robin asked if I’d put together a BlogHer “how to” post. And I thought that there was already a whole bunch of advice out there, and certainly there wasn’t anything I could tell some grown ass women (and men) about how to attend a blogging conference in New York City.
But, well, maybe I can tell you a few things to expect. At the very least, I can tell my friend Robin what I noticed last year that I hadn’t necessarily expected.
What To Expect When You’re Going To BlogHer For The First Time
1. You will see a lot of bloggers who do not “just write about life and stuff”. Some of these people will ask you what your blog is about.
Now, I can’t tell you how you’ll feel or what you should do, but I can tell you that I felt like a moron and said something like “oh, um, I heard there was going to be free booze at this party.” I know some women felt like maybe their personal blogs were stupid because they didn’t get an elevator speech with their WordPress Theme. This year I plan on telling everyone that I’m only here because Ree Drummond and I are best friends and she asked me to come so she’d know someone.
2. Yes, you will actually walk a lot.
The entire conference takes place inside a hotel. Even the parties after the conference take place in one hotel. So it stands to reason that there is only so much walking you can do in a day. And yet… holy balls will you be walking. I don’t know how it happens, but it does. This is why people tell you it’s stupid to wear shoes that are more cute than comfortable.
This is also why my feet will be bleeding by Thursday night, Friday afternoon tops. Because I would rather bleed than wear ugly shoes in public for three days.
3. You don’t even know right now how insignificant you are – but you will!
Have you been on twitter following along with all the #blogher and #blogher10 buzz? Are you wondering why you didn’t get invited to #NikonNightOut or #marthablogger? I can’t tell you not to worry about it, but I can tell you that you cannot possibly even imagine how much shit you’ve been left out of.
Seriously. The parties have parties at BlogHer. (I’m not even exaggerating. People who throw parties have parties about the parties before the parties start.) It’s intense. I got invited to a couple of parties last year and was feeling pretty good about myself, until I got to BlogHer and heard about the 138 other parties that I didn’t even know existed. Did you know Barack Obama is having a party this year for bloggers? Me neither!
4. There is a conference that happens at BlogHer, too!
Yeah, so, this was kind of news to me last year. I had never heard much about the sessions before, other than some very surface level gushing about all the “totally amazing and brilliant women and exchanging of ideas”, but I said the same thing about Shelly Miller when she taught me how to french braid my hair at a 6th grade slumber party. But turns out, there actually is some conferencing that goes on.
There is also some… mmm… how you say? Crap? Yes. Crap. For example, I sat on a panel last year that was all about sharing too much information on the Internet. What we taught people was pretty much our names and URLs. But! It’s not all crap! No! Apparently there are some really amazing and brilliant women who are teaching and learning and stuff!
(I can’t tell you what to do, but I actually spent some time this year looking at the BlogHer agenda so I could plan which sessions I want to attend, because I’m kind of determined to get more than free booze out of my conference pass.)
5. Oh yes, there will be free booze.
I don’t care if you have never received a single email from a PR person or “popular blogger” in your life, you will have the chance to score free booze at BlogHer. I hear they serve food as well. You may gave registered for a few “private” parties, and there will also be opportunity for free booze there. And then you might run out of drink tickets and start looking for the breastfeeding moms who aren’t using theirs anyway and might as well give them to you. Or not. I don’t know. Whatever.
My point is, there will be the opportunity to mix and mingle. I cannot tell you what to wear, but I can tell you what these parties are like: a wedding reception.
Or at least, they’re like every wedding reception I’ve ever been to in the Vets Building in Parkersburg, Iowa. Music, booze, some people in jeans, some people in fancy dresses, but mainly everyone’s just there to have a good time and be way nicer than they are when they run into you on Main Street. Some people are dancing and some people are sitting and some people are standing up wondering what the hell to do with their hands. There’s probably a guy hanging out at the edge of the dance floor trying to just talk because he doesn’t dance, and there’s probably that really freaking annoying chic who’s all “whyyyyy won’t you come daaaaaance? come onnnnnnn.”
That’s what the parties are like.
6. They are not kidding about the swag.
You’ve heard the rumors. The bitching. The gushing and the name calling and the attempts to downplay. Let me give it to you straight: there will be way more free stuff than booze. Someone told me last year to bring an extra suitcase just for the stuff. I could have absolutely filled a suitcase with all of the stuff that was given to me. It was a lot.
I can’t tell you what to do with it. I can tell you that I didn’t bring home coupons for diapers, but I did bring home the world’s greatest shaving cream and so. much. lip gloss. And 62 flash drives. I don’t know why I brought all those damn flash drives home, but I also don’t know why I brought home all those business cards.
Is that it?
No. Not even close. If this is your first time going to BlogHer, the one thing you can absolutely expect is to be overwhelmed. It’s a lot. More people than you can imagine. More stuff than you can imagine. More walking and places and companies and rooms and lunch invites and business cards and more, more, more.
People come home from BlogHer and quit blogging because there is so much and some people, I think, are afraid of being swallowed up once they can see the ocean for what it is.
So, you know, expect that.
And remember that this conference gets bigger and bigger every year because lots and lots and lots of people go and see the ocean and damn near drown in the ocean and then talk about how they can’t wait to go back.
So, you know, expect that, too.
You’re going to be just fine, Robin.