All I knew was BlogWorld was a place to find inspiration and I blame Maddie.
stuff similar to what I do: she talks to associations about how to create a bond with members, helps some create a social media strategy, helps some train staff about new communication tools, and (basically) teaches association leaders and staff how to better relate to the members they serve. [P.S. She and her enigmatic/feisty partner-in-crime Lindy Dreyer just came out with their first book, Open Community, which you will be reading about on this blog more in the very near future.]
Maddie is an inspiration and a good friend. When Maddie told me BlogWorld would help me avoid social media burnout, I listened and acted. Thank God I did. Because I did act on her advice (and because my very cool boss understood the importance of the conference for me), I met people who are working in various creative fields whilst incorporating a business mindset. End of story. I will be back. Twitter is great, but talking with people in person is better when the conversation relates directly to what I do for a living (and my passion).
So, if you are interested in attending BlogWorld in the future...if you can't imagine life without blogs and Twitter, but are wondering how you can spend another minute devoting so much of your life to helping others understand it...here are the FIVE LESSONS for BLOGWORLD you need to commit to before arriving in 2011.
1. Go to Everything - Talk to Everyone
Even if they are wearing pink furry hats. In fact, because they are wearing pink furry hats you should meet them. Have fun. Attend the parties even if you know NO ONE. By the time you leave, at least a few people will know who you are and that is a win. Plus, you have no idea what person or what conversation will lead you to a new understanding, idea, or tool that will change the way you do things for the better. Have you tried Amplify? No? It's awesome. I heard about it as a result of a conversation that two people near me were having. You'll have similar stories as long as you don't isolate yourself.
2. Invest [heavily] in 5-Hour Energy Drinks and Starbucks Via
Part of joining in is staying up to mingle despite a time difference. Staying up until 4 a.m. PT is hard even if you live in that time zone. Add three hours to it and you're talking serious hurt. The magic of 5-Hour energy drink is in the massive doses of B vitamins and it might just help you party like a rockstar while you are attending BlogWorld Expo. It helped me. Starbucks Via is another mainstay in my luggage whenever I am traveling. You never know when you'll need an extra dose of caffeine and this stuff tastes fairly decent. In fact, come and get me if you don't like it, I think Starbuck Via tastes as good as their regular brew.
3. Creativity Counts
Sure, people will remember you at BlogWorld if you have a pink furry hat, blue hair, a business card that doubles as a beer bottle opener...that is true. But if you are also super smart and a very real person who dares to mingle with the masses, they will also remember you. Ultimately, it pays to put a little time into thinking of ways to define your image and make yourself memorable before attending any event.
*[By the way, the pink furry hat, blue hair, and bottle opener business card people I'm thinking of are amazingly savvy and not surviving by their memorable meeting promo/materials alone, but rather allowing their signature pieces to play into their personal brands. Look up Miss Destructo if you need an example of "super savvy" or someone who would make the perfect Lara Croft. (Sorry Angelina.)]
4. The Bloggers Lounge is Your Home Base
Any blogger worth his or her salt will find free coffee and plenty of outlets. The Bloggers Lounge at BlogWorld offers both and it will call to you with its siren song in the morning when you most need another cup to follow your Starbucks Via.
Let it happen.
You will meet people there. People who need wifi, outlets, and caffeine like you do...people who are your family at some strange level.
Let it happen.
5. Attend the Seminars You Wouldn't Normally Attend
The best session I attended at BlogWorld was the one I ended up in accidentally. The sessions I received the least from were the ones I had planned to attend. My best advice? Attend the seminars you don't think you need. They will give you advice you didn't know you needed. The content will be different than you are used to and you will feel more alive when you leave.
Go Ahead, Judge Me
When I was in high school I remember hearing my father say people judged a person by his or her friends. I had a lot of crazy friends at the time, so I didn't particularly like what he was saying, but I thought about what he said many times while at BlogWorld.
I danced with Maddie and our friends at BlogWorld and watched her smile and smile. She was re-filling her well, capturing moments in her life that would feed her during late nights in her future when she was writing blog posts and working for clients. I smiled too. If I were judged by my friends at that moment I would be perfectly fine. I knew that no matter how much my feet would hurt in the morning, the experience was worth it.