Straight Talk on Blissdom.

Warning. This post is all about Blissdom.  Highlights, lowlights.  If you aren’t a blogger, you’ll probably get bored and want to sign out now. But at least I put in a lot of pictures if you do care to stay.

*****

Blissdom was my first blog conference. Ever.  My first weekend “alone” (besides for work).  Ever.

To be quite honest, the only reason I really wanted to go was to be able to meet all my friends in one place.  And kind of to see if a blog conference was worth all the fuss. The reason I actually went was because it was in Dallas, just a 3 hour drive from Austin and I had roommates to share the room with. And Christmas coincided with the deadline to buy tickets, so I figured I would put good use to my dad’s Christmas gift.

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I had no idea what to expect from Blissdom. The only thing I really knew about it was that Rascal Flatts played last year. Seriously, that’s it, so I pretty much had no expectation other than good music.

All the hoopla is about BlogHer and after reading many recaps from last year, and the year before, I just wasn’t sure that it was right for me. I’ve never been so I can’t say, I’m just judging from the posts I read.  I know I wouldn’t get invited to the big events and if 1,000 people was  overwhelming at times, I can’t even imagine getting lost in a crowd of 5,000–at least not without friends there.

I’m a small plankton in a big pond of bloggers. I know that companies aren’t beating down my door to connect, but I’m not embarrassed to say that I don’t mind connecting when they do. Some people may think that it’s being a sell out or comprising my blog, but you know what? I like to try stuff. I like to share my opinions and if I get the chance, I will.

Squirrel!!!

Oh right. Sorry, back to Blissdom.

So if you’ve never been to a blog conference, this is probably a good start. But if you’re a “big” blogger, this may not be quite your cup of tea.

People

20130410-140029.jpgThe crowd was a really good size. There were close to 1,000 women (and a few men) there. The age range was actually quite big. The one thing you should not expect is to show up and be all “Hi Twitter profile pic!! Remember me @TwitterName?” and then be all bff. There are so many people that you may never even recognize half of the people you set out to meet. And if you do find them? Don’t be offended that they have no clue who you are.

I didn’t really set out to meet a million people. There were a few I HAD to meet (or see, because I’d been lucky enough to have already met Diana and Michelle), and I did.

I stayed with my group, and by nature, I’m not really a networker. So I didn’t. There were a couple people I met that I really liked, but other than that, we were all like ships passing in the night. On the way to get a free cookie. Or alcoholic beverage. Or free stuff.

Learning

That’s why you go to events like Blissdom, to learn.  Besides networking, that’s the point of going to a conference.

In all honesty, I missed one, freaked out during another, and then the last one I think I was out of steam. But there were a few I went to that I loved. I think the problem was I thought, “I don’t need to go to the personal branding session. I’m not trying to be big and fancy!” Yeah, but it’s not about that. It’s about learning the details about social media, making your name. I’m sorry I missed that one.

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I had planned to bring my DSLR camera in hopes of learning great things, but I forgot it at home. And I’m glad. Because the one photog class I went to was…not good. I walked out. Quickly. I was pretty disappointed that the class summary isn’t what it actually was about. Luckily I met Casey, and she took time from one of the photography sessions to personally show Andrea and I how to use a DSLR and point and shoot. Her 20 minute crash course was awesome.

The best were the big speakers. Jon Acuff. Scott Stratten. CC Chapman. All incredible. I think the biggest thing I was looking for were the Life Development speakers.  I’d never heard of any of them but I knew they were supposed to be amazing. I wasn’t disappointed.

Scott Stratten taught me all about marketing and how NOT to do it. QR codes on a billboard or a website? A kitten dies every time. {you had to be there.} He had a ton of great insight, and I have a post coming about my dealings with Sprint as a result of his lessons.

And there’s Jon Acuff. I didn’t get Kristina’s excitement over him till I heard him speak. And then I wished I’d tackled him when I saw him in the hallway walking by and asked him to take a picture with me. Oh, Jon Acuff how I love thee. He was awesome. Like shrink him and carry him around in your pocket all day for laughs and inspiration, awesome. He did a session and he did the closing keynote. Love love love him. He is so inspiring. I started reading his new book (which isn’t out yet but you have to buy it when it is). He just has this easy breezy way of talking and sharing and it works. He said a lot of things that made me think, and I’ll probably write more about those later too.

Overall, if you are there for heavy duty hitting and want advanced knowledge about coding, or SEO, or marketing, or something super specific and on a way higher level than mine, this is probably not the conference for you.  While it was awesome, I can’t lie and said I learned a lot.  But like I said, I didn’t go to all the sessions. Lucky for me, I can now catch the marketing one online thanks to Blissdom streaming all of the sessions for attendees.

Fun

20130410-140036.jpgThere was a lot of fun stuff to do. These pictures aren’t even the half of it.

I guess I’m weird counting a workout at 7:00am on a Saturday morning when you have no kids to wake you up as fun, but it was kinda awesome. And I got super cute stuff from Soybu. The material? Like super soft clouds.

The newcomer meetup really wasn’t for me. We made an appearance and then we left.  It was just a bunch of tables and really nothing coordinated.  If you’re intimidated by networking or talking to strangers, this won’t get you anywhere.  I don’t think people are snobby, but I don’t think most were going out of their way to meet new people.  Especially ones they’d never heard of.  I think a hosted guided event would have probably been better.

Then of course, I told you about meeting David Hayward. This is a bad picture, but it’s me talking to him about how much I love AMC! And that’s Dixie and her boobs, she ignored me.

ConAgra sponsored Girls’ Night Out benefiting their end #ChildHunger campaign. Delicious food, which is ironic, but for every tweet, they donated a meal. I think the last tally was close to 200,000 meals donated over the weekend. PLUS, I also met Chris Mann. His album cover photo doesn’t do him justice. Those eyes? Wow. Amber Riley (from Glee) also performed, but I didn’t stay that long to watch. I just wanted to relax in bed.

Free Stuff aka Swag

Let’s be honest. Everyone knows that conferences mean swag. I’m not shy to admit that I was excited about the sponsors and exhibitors, especially because I wasn’t sure what to expect.   There were a bunch of exhibitors there. I got my hair done by VO5 and my head shots done by One2One Network. I laid on an awesome bed. I had my nails done. Ate an ice cream Sunday.

Got lots of goodies–like a ridiculous amount because I wanted to get some for my friends in Austin so I came back and shared them. Most random thing I came home with? Weed and feed for the yard.  Thanks Andro! I really was excited about that one.

Breakfast was sponsored by Seattle’s Best one morning (awesome!) and Gevalia the next (not awesome!).  Don’t try to trick people by telling them they are “just signing an NDA” [non disclosure agreement] in exchange for a bag of coffee {that I gave away}, when 1) really you wanted us to sign a form saying we promised TO disclose about the coffee, and 2) write a post saying how you gave us free coffee.  Get informed, use the right terminology, and give people a copy of what they’re signing if you expect anything in return, Gevalia.

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that’s the Gevalia dude from the commercial. i guess i’ve never seen their commercials bc i had no clue.

Bottom line is this: would I go to Blissdom again? ABSOLUTELY.  I’m just waiting for the 2014 dates.  Get ready girls.

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4 thoughts on “Straight Talk on Blissdom.

  1. I’m not sure that I’d actually do a conference. I’d rather meet up with all the peeps I love and have a giant party weekend.
    I am not a fan of BlogHer. Nope.

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