What's the scariest part of BlogHer conferences?
No matter what anyone says, there's something about the mass of bloggers who will descend on New York for BlogHer '12. It can be a little scary. Here's what spooked some mom bloggers at past conferences - and what to do if it happens to you too.
Middle school all over again
"Last year's conference was the first blogging conference I ever attended. I went all by myself, with no roommates, and didn't know a soul. It felt like I was the eighth grader with nowhere to sit for lunch," admits Tresa Edmunds of ReeseDixon.com and FoxyLikeACrafter.com
So what did she do? "At the welcome party the very first night, I just walked up to a group of women and started talking, and they were wonderful. We made fast friends," says Edmunds.
"People in social media are there to be SOCIAL. Unless there is a crowd of people around or it seems like you walked into a private moment, you are not imposing. People come to these conferences to meet people. To meet you! Don't let your nerves make you think different. Be bold and say hello and people will love you," says Edmunds.
Cliques aren't just for teens. In the adult world, you sometimes run into them too. But don't let them deter you!
"I do see cliques at these conferences. Often, these individuals are only interested in how you look and if you can help them in any way. You can get a sense of a person pretty quickly," says Nancy Wurtzel, who writes the blog Dating Dementia.
Wurtzel suggests that you can get more out of the conference if you meet with as many different people as you can. "You can also stand out by joining different people for meals, breaks, events. Don't just hang out with your little group...push yourself to branch out," says Wurtzel.
Learn how to make meaningful connections with other mom bloggers >>
There will be tense moments. It happens, and it's okay. Don't let it get to you (or get you down!). "When you do have an awkward encounter - and unfortunately it will happen - remind yourself that people work on the Internet for a reason. If we were all gifted social butterflies, we'd be sales reps somewhere," says Edmunds. "What might feel like a brushoff or cliquey behavior to you is far more likely to be social anxiety, or someone else clinging to their own comfort zone. Acknowledge that the encounter sucked, dust yourself off, and move on to the next experience."
As a two-time BlogHer attendee, the thing that got me when I last attended in 2010 was the bloggers there seemed to be just in it for the swag (that is, the free things sponsors gave out). These folks would hit party after party just for the swag bags and rush though the sponsor hall collecting loot. It left me questioning the usefulness of the conference. Yes, it's easy to be seduced by swag. But remember, you don't really need a dozen reusable totes. Instead, talk to the brand reps as a way to introduce your brand and potentially find new clients.
Make the most of it
Ultimately, it's up to you to make the most of your BlogHer Conference experience. Stay positive, be happy and put yourself out there. You'll be pleasantly surprised with the results of doing so. "Go in as a professional. It's not enough to just show up - if you're at a conference to do business, you need to make it clear that you take it seriously. That means dressing the part (please don't wear the clothes you blog in at home, at the very least), getting professionally printed business cards and planning out what you're doing at that particular conference," says Thursday R. Bram, who has landed clients at conferences.
And don't be afraid to befriend the other bloggers too - they can be a fabulous support network as you continue with your blogging endeavors.