When I told some friends I was going to go to BlogHer I got varied responses but many were along the lines of...
Are you crazy?
Aren't you worried about.....the size?
I had seen it on Twitter, I had heard it on Facebook. Every year there is something. Some drama, some bruhaha from a party, from a meal. Something someone didn't like or perceived someone else to have said or done. There are complaints about size and how things are handled. Supposedly some of that happened again but here’s the thing.
I didn't see or hear that.
I saw amazing women.
Heard great advice and stories.
Hugged friends again and for the first time.
Had a great time.
BlogHer is WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. I went into BlogHer with no (ZERO) expectations. In fact I was so laid back and chill about the event I was worried I would forget to go. I have always looked at BlogHer as the Mardi Gras of blogging. The big event that you have to experience once to say you did it, it was in Chicago (where I live) so I couldn't not do it.
I thought it was amazing. I looked around and saw my computer come to life. People who I have read, adored, and tweeted with were walking around me like they were just regular people because you know what? THEY ARE JUST REGULAR PEOPLE.
I walked into the hotel and accosted Katherine Stone after she got off the elevator I was waiting for. I may have screamed a little as I pointed and fought back tears before hugging her. She didn't laugh, or tweet about the crazy lady, she embraced me. We hugged, we chatted, we hugged some more (she’s a great hugger and has perfect shoulders for crying on).
My whole weekend was like that - with less tears. I would see someone I knew from online I would hug them, say hello, sometimes have to tell them who I was - note to self change avatar picture to color - but I was always meet with smiles and hugs back.
Was it huge? Yes. There were people there that I didn't know were there or see until the tweeted about going home. I made arrangements to make sure I got to catch up and see some friends because I was afraid we wouldn't run into each other at the conference. There were other people though that I saw at every single turn. It also never felt huge. Maybe it was the center - McCormick kept us spread out, maybe being a city girl means I have a different definition of huge.
Was there drama? Maybe. I did’t really see it. I was at one off site party where a couple people were cranky and being (in my opinion) ungrateful about waiting in line to get their swag but I saw no other drama at the expo or at the few BlogHer parties I was at. I actively choose to avoid drama so if there was I missed it.
I was traveling with a baby so I was laid back and not worried about going to every single party and event. I walked out of keynotes without feeling bad, I hung out in the serenity suite instead of at parties and I had a great time. You don’t have to go to everything, you don’t have to do it all to have a great time and feel it’s worth it.
Like any large event put on by anyone there is always room for improvement. Am I going to trash those few snafus in blog posts and tweets for the next week? No, that’s what the evaluation after the event is for. I just want those people who are maybe smaller bloggers and worried about going to BlogHer to know there is no reason to be scared.
Just like life BlogHer is what you make of it and you can choose to make it a frenzied fast paced and full of drama or it can be laid back and filled with amazing experiences. If you go through life with expectations about how everything is going to be you are going to be disappointed because nothing, not a conference, not a person, not a venue, can live up to the ideal we have created for them in our head - good or bad.
So go! Have fun and make it your own! Or don’t go, it’s your choice but own the choice and don’t blame it on something you think is or isn’t going to happen.