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I Ask: Should I Attend BlogHer?

BlogHer [blawg-hur] —noun

The largest annual conference of women (and a few men) bloggers, which brings with it a chance to see old friends and meet new ones while making connection that will propel my writing and blog to awesomeville as well as remind me what an unknown, anxiety-ridden, socially awkward person I am.

Last year, I went to BlogHer.  And while I appreciated meeting cool people and programs that have paid off personally and professionally, when I arrived home, I swore that I would never go again.

And now that I have even more opinions on blogging and bloggers and have realized that my BlogHer ‘10 summary could have been seen as “trying to get bigger bloggers to comment” (which it wasn’t because I didn’t even know people DID that sort of thing and half of them I only knew were famous because other people told me), I’m torn.

There are a few people that I really would like to meet and hang out with in person. Although not all of the people, that I desperately want to meet, are going. Even though come early August, it will FEEL like all the people I have ever wanted to meet, spoken to briefly or are amazing, are there.  At BlogHer.  Having the time of their lives and signing million dollar book deals.

One problem is that the conference is in San Diego this year, which is 20 hours of travel and one of my most compelling and least fear-driven reasons to not go. However, as I am writing this, I realize that, last year, my roommate and I drove to NYC so it’s not THAT MUCH more travel time.  Dammit.

Ooh, what about: airline tickets cost more than the drive was. But I did remember to get a conference ticket and a hotel room early this year so I saved money in my fore-thought that this might be a post come May. (FYI: In case you are concerned, I can easily sell my ticket and let go of my room if I don’t attend.)

Yup, it’s mostly fear.  And a healthy knowledge of my own weaknesses.  Or challenges, as I like to refer to them when I’m feeling like my own HR department.

In the past week:

I told one friend that I was a noncommittal no.

I told one friend that I’d love to room with her, but I wouldn’t know if I was going until this weekend. I have no idea what will happen this weekend to let me know except now I’m blogging about it.

I told another friend that she had to listen to all my fears before she could even ask me if I was attending.

I told Scott that I was going (probably) and to take those days off (just in case).

Now, Scott is completely supportive of the trip, but, when I asked him if I would have fun, he easily said: No.

Which is a reasonable response since he had to field my hysterical crying spell within three hours of arriving at BlogHer and only thirty minutes into the first party. In my defense, that was my ONLY crying spell. I think.

I also wonder if four days of writing in a (local) hotel room might do A LOT more for me than four days of networking. Since by “networking,” I mean standing in the hallway screwing up small talk and wishing I was home.

Although I feel less starry-eyed and more confident as to how I would spend my time at BlogHer.

And I still have a lot of business cards.

And I planned to attend one writing or blogging conference this year, and so far, there isn’t another one that fits my family’s schedule and my piques interests. (I’m open to suggestions though.)

But when I think about going, I remember that I’m still bringing me.  And the whole thing is not my strong suit.

So I ask you, my trusted readers and friends, who know my trials and tribulations and penchant for being odd: Should I attend BlogHer? (Also, if you’re a blogger, are you going?)

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

35 thoughts on “I Ask: Should I Attend BlogHer?

  1. I think you should go. Will you have fun – maybe (or probably?) not. Will it provide a chance for you to challenge yourself and your definitions of yourself – yes. I don’t know that you are going to conquer THIS fear at THIS conference if you attend; but I know you won’t conquer your fear if you don’t attend. Even if you just make one contact or have one positive experience it will be worth it. I was the same way about my conference – at first I was excited and then I was ambivilent and then I didn’t want to go…but I had already paid the outrageous airfare and my hotel was nonrefundable (and my clinic canceled) so I went…it was a great experience – I only made 1 contact – but the ideas that I gained are great – and maybe I’ll get around to them…maybe I won’t…but it did invigorate me.
    Anyway – my thoughts!

  2. I think you should go! I wish I was going, but I am flying to California already once this year to see my BFF. If I had the chance to go I would take it if I was you. You will just regret it. But being a selfish blog reader if you really don’t want to go then do a giveaway where you give your ticket to one of your readers :-). But nah really just go. Think of it this way, it will give you time to work on small talk. And when people don’t respond like they should to zombie talk you can just go back to the hotel room and enjoy some quiet writing time.

  3. Before you make your decision to go, think about the reasons why you want to and should go. I think you should go. You will make NEW friends and potential business associates. You will get inspiration from the people you meet. Plus San Diego, i hear, is a pretty cool place to visit.

  4. Yes, I think you should go to BlogHer. It’s hard to get over fear but the only way to do it is to put yourself out there. I’m a very shy person and not good at small talk but I decided to go to BlogHer. I have no idea if I will have a good time or if I will be crying in the bathroom on the phone with my husband but if I don’t go I will never know.

  5. I am the wrong gal to ask because the thought of BlogHer scares the pants off me. I think this mainly because its goals/objectives/interests don’t line up with mine, despite the fact that I have a blog.

    But! There are lots of lovely people I have met online and I’m finding it, as time goes on, a bit unsatisfactory to not see them and interact with them in person. So I’ve decided to go to The Blathering instead. Smaller. Shorter. Easier. No workshops.

  6. I’m not going to BlogHer – mostly because of the money, but also partly because I’m not sure what I’d get out of it. There are the Bloggy Boot Camps which are 1 day events which might be more focused and less stressful [haven’t attended, but think I might].

    If you’re looking only to meet and make connections with other bloggers, a blogging meetup in your area might be good.

    1. I second love for Bloggy Boot Camps. But that’s the shy teenager in me, who is obsessed with the idea of not having to force myself upon people. Also? You learn a ton. At least I do. But that might be because I don’t know much to begin with.

  7. I am on the fence as well (and scheduled a post about this today, if Blogger ever comes back up). I’ve never been. I want to go, and see what it’s all about. I’m socially awkward. It could be inspiring. It will be expensive. I will make friends. I might end up hiding behind a potted plant all week long.

    Sigh. I cannot answer this for you, because I can’t seem to answer it for me.

  8. Just go. I’m not the big conference type either but I’m going and I’m making it a goal to have a great time no matter what happens. I know for sure that I would regret it if I didn’t go.

  9. Of course I’m biased and think you should go.

    But as an introvert myself, here is the advice I always give, and what works for me at BlogHer, at least during the social portions of it: Look around and notice all the people who look even more freaked out than you. See if you can make it your goal to make them more comfortable. I play “hostess” in my mind, and that helps me a ton.

  10. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go to something like this, and only recently joined BlogHer myself.

    That being said, I 1) can’t take time off work because I’m the only employee, and even if my hubby offered to work for me I 2) couldn’t let him because he’s in school full time now, which means he’s working less and 3) we couldn’t afford it anyway.

    However, if I did go, we could totally hang out and be wallflowers together.

  11. I say go.

    Mostly because I’m still trying to figure out a way that I can drive down and see you and still make it home in time for Elizabeth’s second birthday party.

    Here’s the thing. As scary as it can (and will) be, you are a fantastically fun and funny person. You just need to find other fantastically fun and funny people who understand zombie talk. They’ll be the ones behind the potted plants and under the tables.

    Also, you know so many more people now. You’re not a new blogger. You have your blog “mission statement”. (Maybe not literally, but you know the direction you want to go. I think.) You might find the conference easier.

    PLUS, and here’s the big one, you understand the blogging world. You know enough of the drama and BS that you won’t be taken unawares. You can just roll your eyes when some little teenyblogger tells you how she has five thousand followers and doesn’t understand why she only get two hundred comments. And she’s been blogging three whole months!

    Go.

  12. I would Love to attend but I’m still waiting for a BlogHim. So until then I’ll lock the door, turn off the lights and blog in the dark. I’m pretty sure I don’t get comments because I suck.

  13. You got the ticket for a reason. Then again… I remember it sounded like a whirl of feeling little, which isn’t the worst thing, but well, doesn’t sound fun to me. And San Diego is beautiful, but it’s a big trip. So, definitely maybe. Or not. Oh, just go and make fun of it.

  14. 1. San Diego is really nice
    2. You can visit the beach…and not just those dirty ones. Y
    3. You can enjoy some really good Mexican Food.
    4. You get a break from the kids
    5. Maybe you can host your own seminar on the Zombie invasion

  15. I’m going to BlogHer on a day pass that will let me meet up with old pals, but not let me into the sessions. I live 90 minutes away, so I won’t have to pop for the hotel this time around.

  16. I am normally a huge proponent of not letting fear hold you back. Except I’m not a Blogher gal. There’s just nothing about it that appeals to me. I already own tons of junk, so swag doesn’t draw me in. I absolutely hate huge groups of cliquey people. And everything I’ve heard about the speeches and presentations says that there’s not much to be learned.

    (I’m a debbie downer today. Sorry. Come back tomorrow for happy, fun Megan.)

  17. If you have absolutely no intention of furthering your writing career, especially not through your blog, then stay home.

    But I assume that’s all a crock and in that case you need to go.

    Give yourself some rules, goals, awkward allowances. Go with some people you know so you can all be self-conscious together – it’s much less terrifying that way.

    Think about all the ways it might defeat you, and all the ways it may surpass your greatest expectations. You’ll cover all bases this way and will hopefully avoid a hallway/elevator/escalator/bathroom/lobby crying spell.

    Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and jump in. Because you totally deserve to be swimming in that ocean with the big fish!!!!

  18. alright friend…here is my opinion. I know you have been waiting for it.

    I am scared as holy heck about going to BlogHer.

    I have never flown alone.

    I have never been so far away from home…alone.

    I have never had to stay in a room with 3 women I don’t know (ok, SORT OF don’t know. I mean, what if I fart?)

    I stumble and act dumb.

    I’m a newb, so I am sure I’ll get snubbed constantly.

    I”m pretty sure I am afraid that the line between cling-on and ice queen is super thin and I will come off as both of those things constantly instead of who I am.

    I just want to learn. And hug a few people.

    I want an experience that I wouldn’t otherwise get.

    I want to meet you.

    Go.

    Please?

  19. when I found out it was in San D, I almost thought about going. I could see family and couch surf. but, I still can’t afford to actually get in. that sucks. some day I’ll be able to afford a blogging conference. *sigh*

  20. I’m not going to lie, BlogHer is a crapfest that panders to the mommy-blogger-we-are-still-in-high-school mentality. Don’t expect to learn anything, their content is pure fluff. Having said all that? I still might go.

  21. The way I see it, is even if I don’t meet anyone new, make any deals, or gain any new blog followers, I know I will still benefit from going. Just the seminars alone will be informative. Plus, there’s being away from the fam for three days. BY MYSELF. That will be like a vacation. Plus, if you go? We can hide in the corner together and make fun of stuff.

  22. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!! You should totally go. Because then we can hang out. I promise to shield you from all of the nastiness and mean people. And if they make you cry, I will kick them in the shins for you.

    I’ve grown quite confrontational in my schooling. I don’t put up with no smack talking to my friends (of which, I consider you one).

    That being said, I’m totally not a famous blogger, so hanging out with me probably won’t help your blog out, unless by osmosis (you know, hanging out with pure awesomeness (mee!), will make your blog awesomer).

    That last statement could be a lie. Also, I’m not sure awesomer is a word.

  23. Errr…ummm…

    I am perhaps unqualified to answer this question as I have never considered doing anything except staying home. I’m not afraid to go. I just hate most people and I don’t think I can turn that off for 3 days in a row.

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