BlogHer 2014: The Day I Met 1,000 Estranged Sisters
In case you can’t tell by now, I’m a man. Yup. I still have the goodies that God gave me between my legs. So there must be the burning question of, “Why would I go to a blogging convention called BLOGHER?” My answer to you: Why would you NOT want to get to a blogging convention with HER in the title? It didn’t do me any good any way, as most of you know that I just don’t swim up that type of creek. However, I did see some yummy eye candy with my cohorts…so I’m good.
To be upfront, I don’t really have any prior experience in going to a blogging conference…besides my first one I went to NYC the week prior of going to BlogHer. I heard so many amazing things about BlogHer in the past, so I had to make it a point to go. I wanted to get in that experience of going to blogging conventions to soak in all of that experience of other blogging colleagues had the chance to experience. I wanted to be THAT guy that got to chat with other bloggers and to see what drives them, what they write about, and inspires them.
I also had one goal: To say HI to everyone I met, and to try to give as many hugs as I could possibly give. What could be a better greeting than hug filled with love and anxiety? Let me tell you something, I gave out a lot of hugs…though I’m not sure if they were all conference attendees lol. In fact, I had to make sure that I stalked a certain someone (cough cough Melisa Wells) to give a hug to her. It was actually demanded, and then I was politely reminded that “It’s not stalking if I’m letting you know where I am.” Touché Señor Pussycat (as Jerry’s little nephew would say. If you don’t get it, then you’re too old for the cartoon). Here’s a few things to know about me: I’m very upfront, I don’t make excuses for who I am, I love participating in life, I love to share my happiness and happy energy with others, I’m very passionate, and I love being happy! Did everyone reciprocate a Hi or a hug? Nope…not at all. I got snubbed a lot…a lot more than I thought, actually. You know what? It’s okay! I’m fine with it, and didn’t stop me from me continuing journey to spread some joyous Hellos and Hugs. Though, I am a bit confused. How could you not want to a hug from a sexy man like me? See? You’re confused, too!
I became a Selfie Whore And A Drunk
Yes. You read that right. I became both! Let me try to explain a little bit. Every time you turned around, you had to take a selfie at a booth with some sort of hashtag and tag them on Twitter or Instagram. I was a little awkward at first, but I gave it the old school try and posed with my cheesiest of cheesy posed grins. Oh Mercy! I deleted so many photos of myself lol! But then I noticed that I was becoming more relaxed…and then I noticed that my hand was automatically reaching for my iPhone every time I turned around! I got caught up in the hype, and I certainly don’t regret it one bit. Here are some amazing examples of my selfie whore-isms!
See what I mean? My poor phone couldn’t keep up with me. But as you can tell, I met some pretty amazing people…and I’m not talking about the famous people. I’m talking about fellow bloggers. I wished I would have taken more photos, but everyone had their cameras out…and I was trying to live in the moment and be engaging as I could. A picture can speak 1,000 words, but your words are forever etched on my heart and not easily forgotten. I was in presence of beautiful souls…and wanted to drink from the cup of life.
Speaking of drinking…uhm…the alcohol was free pouring and flowing. It was like you stepped into an alternate universe once conference room class sessions and keynote speakers were done. Every corner felt as if it flowed the deliciousness we know as alcohol. There were all sorts from fizzy, to fermented grapes, to distilled spirits. You name it…and it was there, including bitters! (Hello to my Pop-up bar Bubbly drinkers!!). The drinking started the day after I got there and ended the night before I left. I had the most random conversations, and some with people pushing carts while talking to other voices. I just hope that they knew I was real…and not one of the many voices they were talking to. Be forewarned! My sisters know how to drink, dance, and get down with the best of them.
I was a little disappointed in small aspects. Mostly about the type of ticket that I bought. I didn’t know it was a Networking only ticket, so I wasn’t able to participate in barely in anything. So, I was very thankful to start making relationships with my new found “estranged” sisters! Though, like any other family, there was some separation in the ranks. Whether it be by age or past conference members whom have already bonded prior. Honestly, this didn’t bother me too much. I’m in a completely different world of my own and dance to the beat of my very own hired drummer. You may not have seen him drumming away, but he was there…in my ear…jamming away. Thankfully, there were other bloggers that were cut from the same cloth with their own drummers. Three way massage upon entry to my first blogging conference with my laying on the floor? Yup…and it was amazing. It almost made question my sexuality…almost, but there’s no cure for the fabulousness that is known as me.
Now the burning question: Did I really meet 1,000 sisters? No…I didn’t, but I gave it a valiant effort. However, I did create such strong bonds with some amazing women that I will always know as my Blogging Sisters. These amazing women made me laugh, smile, sent random text messages of if I met anyone interesting for the day yet (they knew my goal), broke bread with me, shared coffee, shared discontent for waking up early on certain mornings, tips on how to break the ice with other bloggers in getting to know them, encouraged me to stay true to who I am, and gave me super uplifting moments. Can I tag all of their blogs in this post and call them out one by one? Of course I could, but I don’t want to. They all know whom they are and how I value them.
I’m a complete blogger convention/conference newbie. I have nothing to really compare them to, as many other bloggers do. Of course, I did enjoy the time spent there. I was like a 12 year old school girl that just met Luke Perry from 90210! Wait…that’s still a relevant comparison, right? I hope so. I still kiss his poster in my bedroom every night before I go to bed. The biggest thing that I have to complain about is the pricing structure of the ticket. I feel they should be a bit cheaper. I basically spent $149 + surcharges to meet and greet, which I guess is fine because I wouldn’t be able to meet everyone at the same time. Yes, I know there were early bird tickets available…but it was too late for me to purchase them when it was decided that I should go. Then the next level up is for almost $500? Then you can have a PathFinder’s Ticket for an additional $149? I tried reading up on the explanation of what each ticket was for, and I was honestly very confused. Maybe I could researched harder or emailed them? Maybe. I was just too lazy to continue looking for a vast amount of time.
All of the “Employees” were super kind and nice to me. Not a single one of them was rude, even when I tried to enter events that I wasn’t allowed in…they were still nice, and they kinda felt bad because they saw the true disappointment on my face. Would I go again? I’m sure that I would. I wasn’t really let down by my total experience…as long as I get to see my sisters again! Well, at least get introduced to new ones.
12 Things You Need To Know About BlogHer And Me
1. You’re going to be walking around A LOT! Wear comfortable shoes. Though, if you can run with the best of them in high heels…I will bow down to you in front of everyone.
2. Always be yourself. Everyone always gets a little nervous in doing things they’ve never done before. It can be a little overwhelming, to say the least. As long as you stay true to who you are as a person, then don’t worry about anything else in life. It’s all about you baby!
3. Drink a lot of water. I say this because you’re going to be drinking a lot of alcohol, for those of you that drink. So it’s super important that you stay hydrated!
4. Bring a backpack. It’s so much more comfortable and easier to take around with you, even when needing to carry a water bottle around. This way, it leaves your hands open to become a selfie whore, like me.
5. Buy the Early bird ticket. You will thank me for this in the end!
6. Stay out of your Clique. Make yourself uncomfortable and reach out to other people that are surrounding you with their presence. Life is happening all around you. Do you really want to miss out on missing someone that you should have met, but you didn’t because you were too preoccupied with a few certain friends? It’s okay to be with your friends, but break some barriers. I’m sure there are many people that wanted to say hi to you, but were just to shy or nervous.
7. Create a plan of action. Know what you want to do (for the most part) before you get there. I created my own little spreadsheet with time slots filled with things that I wanted to do. This way I knew I was never overbooked and knew exactly what I wanted to do. This also gave me foresight of things that I could add into my agenda.
8. Stay Flexible. Things will change at the last minute. You might think that you will want to go to one place, and then BAM! You change course and go off to some other area or section. Eat it up and soak it all in.
9. Spend some time to yourself. There’s so much external noise surrounding you. You need a little alone time to absorb and process all of this information. I spent about 20 to 30 minutes a day thinking about people I’ve met, advertisers I wanted to visit again to spend a longer amount of time with, and people I wanted to text to see how their day was going and if they wanted to jaunt off somewhere for coffee or a touristy moment.
10. Say Hi t someone, and grab them while planting a great big hug! Nothing breaks a barrier like a Hello and a Hug. Yes, we’re all bloggers…but that doesn’t mean that we are all extroverts. If you didn’t come to make friends, that’s not really okay in my book. I’m not sure why you would want to share your soul with others…it’s a little selfish to the world to not know who you are.
11. There is only one you. Don’t try to be anyone else. Maybe you did come for a little self discovery, and that is so super amazing! Sometimes it takes something like BlogHer (or other conventions) and being surrounded by other bloggers to understand what their passions are and what drives them…to help yourself evaluate if you feel you are truly being yourself and not a cookie cutter blogger. There are plenty of those types of bloggers, and we don’t need more of them. I love people being genuine and themselves through and through…without having to make any excuse of whom they are in life. It’s your life…so why would you care what other’s think? Dance to your own drummer…and keep that beat going!
12. I love you. I love you all. I don’t who you are all, but I wanted to let you know that you are all so well loved. If we ever meet again at BlogHer or another convention, do know that my arms are always open for hugs. My ears are always open for when you need someone to talk to. My phone is always open for a phone call or a text. I’m on Social Media all day long…tag me, tweet me, IG me, SC me, PM me, or hashtag me. If you’re having a crappy day, just know that you have a big brother here that is willing to share a smile and to encourage in your road of life.
Yes…the dancing, the drinking, the gatherings, the midnight chats & walks, the shrills, the hugs, the laughters, and the love…were all so very important. So, I thank you my sisters, even those I have yet to meet, for excepting a man like me into your culture and allowing me to partake in your life. Here’s to us and to joining the rest of the world with life and zest.
YOU IS SMART. YOU IS BEAUTIFUL. YOU IS KIND.