If you haven’t been to a blog conference, you need to read this post. You just might find that you are interested in attending one. That is, unless, you don’t have a blog – or you don’t like blogs (I’m married to one of those types). If you are a homeschool mom or a regular person that isn’t absorbed by an online social-media community, please read between the lines and look at these Blissdom posts like ‘field trip’ reviews or vacation tales. There were certainly learning experiences for all, and it was an epic vacation – regardless of the conference and the near-death experience for my mom. She enjoyed the trip and even drove most of the way home (with her hospital band still around her wrist). We are troopers and trip takers with nomad hearts.
We share a common wanderlust, me and my conference-traveling crew (minus the baby who really hates his car seat, but the jury is still out on whether a front-facing seat will fix this problem).
Part of the fun of a conference is just the travel part – seeing new things and places. The rest is the conference part. And the friends part. And the food part. And the free stuff part. Well… let me explain…
There were a lot of other moms with babies there.
I couldn’t begin to list them all. It’s awesome to be a part of a conference that allows you to be what you are – and bring who you love. Nursing moms were welcome. My daughter even got to attend a dinner and the PJ party where they showed a movie, popped popcorn, gave away Hanes Tshirts and socks, did a raffle for prizes, and had some of the braver set sing kereoke.
Mishelle did an awesome rendition of “Love Shack” by the B52’s…
Of course, my 11 year old may never be normal again after seeing Bookieboo dance to “Baby Got Back”, but that’s entirely besides the point.
The Reasons for a Blog Conference:
So what else do you do at a blog conference besides kereoke? Just what would make me crazy enough to drive over 1750 miles and spend nearly 32 hours in my vehicle in one week? Well… let me tell you…
The people – meeting new friends, making real friends out of imaginary online ones, and being around people that ‘get’ you – the part of your life that MUST write, must blog, and must share. It feels great to have folks who know what ‘sidebars’ and ‘feed’ and ‘DMs’ are without you having to stop and explain them (and sheepishly tell people WHY you would blog because they don’t understand the concept). I love my BBFs (best bloggy friends).
Learning new things – talking shop about the purpose you have in blogging, the passion you have for writing, the geekish technology that make blogs function, the business savvy policies that bloggers need to know if they want to work with PR agencies and companies to make money, and tips from high profile bloggers and great writers that might make you BETTER at being yourself. As a homeschool mom, I love to learn. I’m a life-long learner. Learning about my bent means learning to take better pictures, to write better, and to make my blog a better place on the net. It’s not a hobby to me, it’s a passion.
The Perks of a Blog Conference:
Then there are other perks to a blog conference as well. ‘Swag’, if you haven’t heard of it, is anything you get from a company or small business that is free for a blogger. Blissdom offered a lot of hip swag… much of it came in a handy Blissdom tote: make-up from Covergirl, snacks, lotion, a necklace from the Vintage Pearl to name a few things. The baby moms also had an extra swag bag full of fun baby care items – pacifiers, sippy cups, bibs, lip gloss, and more. One of my favorite swag gifts was a simple pair of Haynes white socks. They came in handy since I got stuck in Nashville longer than I had packed for.
Some swag was in the form of eats, entertainment or events. There were cocktail parties, delicious free meals, after-conference parties and dinners, Harry Connick, Jr. concert, and the wonderful Covergirl make-up sessions.
There were also drawings for all sorts of prizes. Each sponsor that put a booth up in the ‘Expo’ hall also had things to give away, snacks to share, or events to put on. Many people won jewelry, trips, gift certificates, cookware, spa treatments, and other fun goodies. I won a Roomba while I was there from iRobot and my carpet has never looked so nice. Having these sponsors at the conference gives bloggers a great way to learn about products first hand and introduces you to things you might not have heard about – such as Invisalign (an interesting teeth straightening system that takes the place of braces). I had never heard of them, but both my big kids are of age to need orthodontist care… so I’m reviewing the info I took home from their booth.
Then, of course there was the rubbing elbows with wonderful people you admire. Like Robin, who’s words have inspired me to be a better homeschool mother more than I could ever tell you. Her book is front and center in my Amazon store if you click the link on my sidebar or up top in my bookstore link. She was even more wonderful in person. I wish I could put up a picture of every one of the great folks I met at Blissdom… there were hundreds of people I stalk there. People that write like nobody’s business. People that are stars in their fields. People who’s traffic count make my blog look like a speck of zeros and ones in the digital data pool. People who make me smile.
And there you have the last perk: the smiles. Smiles like the ones at Blissdom made my long all-night drive home in the snow and cold bearable.