The conferences are planned, tickets are purchased, sponsorship madly sought. Meet and greets posted. The
hysteria excitement is building. What to wear? What to take? It’s a Wurlitzer of choices and things to think about. I’ve been reading meet and greets and one word comes up again and again ‘nervous’. Therefore, for those who have not experienced a blogging conference, I share with you: “one bloggers guide to blogging conferences” (less than everything you need to know).
What to wear.
What to wear?!! This is THE is a big question. Trust me. Wear whatever you want. People will be in jeans, people will be in outfits that would not be out of place at a society wedding. Aim to feel good. While hot pants and 8 inch heels will make an impact and undeniable wow factor first impression. It’s a long day and if chaffing could to be a factor, think again. Aim for comfort.
What to carry.
There is a strong possibility that you will leave with so much ‘stuff’ passed onto by various brands that walking even a short distance with it is not an option. Anything you bring only becomes a cursed additional burden combined with the swag. Bringing a Tesco’s trolley is not practical, but could be useful. Instead, the less is more when packing, be that handbag or suitcase. It seems a good idea to bring your laptop or even a tripod and video camera to blog and vlog your way through the day. The workshops are informative the speakers interesting but mostly it’s about women (and men) squealing and hugging each other. Do you really want to put yourself under that pressure and carry that equipment around? Frankly, it’s easier to hug someone holding a smart phone than it is an ipad.
There is a lot of hugging. The rooms are hot. The rooms are cold. It’s crowded. You rush from one workshop to another. You may drink wine too early. The whole experience makes a person flustered. A deodorant in your bag can be a useful item.
On meeting bloggers.
Those people who’ve blogs you’ve followed, the details of their lives you’ve read are suddenly transposed from a tiny avatar to a full sized walking and talking person. It is a touch overwhelming.
You realise you are standing next to Northernmum you know all sorts of details about her life/libido. Instead of speaking to her you tweet furiously: ‘O.M.G am standing next to @Northernmum1’.
Just at that point your favorite tweeter from the North East reads your name-badge and says hello. You hug. She introduces you to her new friend the cake blogger from Bournemouth. O.M.G you have made some of her cakes. You hug. O.M.G she read your post about your mother in law slapping you and canceling Christmas.
The three of you head of to the next workshop: ‘Crisis Management, the consequences of bad-mouthing your family on social media’.
By the time Northernmum reads your tweet you are on different floors. She RT’s your tweet adding ‘<< where? we must meet’.
Eventually, you find her in the bar. Eventually you find everyone in the bar.
After Cybermummy there was post after post about that mentioned the toilets. Many many people found it all a bit overwhelming and sought comfort in the toilets. So much so that this year, I considered bringing a picnic table, tea urn, gin and lavender scented tissues and setting up in the toilets. A sort of ‘overwhelmed bloggers support service’. Traveling on East Midlands trains with a tea urn and a picnic table does not appeal and as such I am unable to offer this service. Instead I suggest deep breathing exercises the type they teach you in ante-natal classes; in for four out for eight. Remember you are not alone the woman in the next cubical is probably having a moment too.
You see a “famous blogger” in the toilet. It’s like seeing George Michael on Hampstead Heath, you read in the paper he lives in Hampstead. Why wouldn’t he be on the Heath? Yet still it’s unexpected. Obviously, George has no idea who you are and so you try not to stare. It’s a similar experience with the “famous blogger” you try not to stare and probably don’t say hello, assuming they have no idea who you are. Actually, you read their blog and comment often, you tweet with them, you may have even exchanged emails. Why wouldn’t they know who you are? Get over it and say hello (do let them finish their wee first).
Communicating at a blogging conference.
Conversations happen in triplicate (at least). For example, You meet and tell her it’s great to meet her and she is amazing.
You tweet: ‘great to finally meet @IamWitWitWoo she is amazing’.
She RT’s that with added ‘>> good to meet you too :)’.
Despite the fact that you are at a conference and finally have the opportunity to meet all your internet friends in person, you will spend a good portion of the day head bowed over twitter. Therefore, bring your charger.
A word about Lunch.
Ever had that experience where you see an outfit in Grazia on some Catwalk feature and think ‘weird’? Then a few months later find yourself in Dorothy Perkins trying on a similar animal print jumpsuit and Day-Glo leg warmers combination?
Apply the same principal to lunch. This is swanky London and a social media event. Lunch is unidentifiable and in a box. Looks weird. Try it. Tastes good.
You probably won’t need as many as you think. Business cards are for competitions and the odd PR. Otherwise follow your new acquaintance on twitter. Most people had a stack left. Unless you are the clever blogger who slipped her business cards into all the goodie bags and went home with none (don’t try that, it’s so last year).
On meeting those special people.
There will be people that you simply HAVE to meet. Make a list and a plan in advance.
I suggest a buddy. I am so very glad that I arranged to meet Aresidence at the tube last year and we arrived together and I had someone to stand with initially instead of feeling like Billy No Mates drowning in the deep end. Through the day it was good to have an anchor/buddy, someone to link back up with when feeling a bit lost.
Be brave and just say hello, to anyone and everyone. As the famous book says: “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.
Blogging conferences are the best fun. Enjoy.
The obvious disclaimer.
Swag is not guaranteed.
Lunch maybe clearly identifiable cheese sandwiches.