At my last two BlogHer conferences, I succumbed to the siren song of swag.
The song is so sweetly alluring. But, like a sugary candy bar, it doesn’t actually nourish, nor does it satisfy for long.
What was this swag that called to me in dulcet tones? A melange of tunes and harmonies: 10 minutes in front of an Xbox Kinect. Water bottles. Stuffed animals. Toys, alarm clocks, seeds, drinks, mugs, samples, deodorant, drink tickets, toothbrushes, thumb drives, water filters, knee braces, chances for this, drawings for that. Notepads and pen, trinkets and baubles.
Where did this swag come from? It was dangled by people who wanted my attention. Not specifically MY attention, but anyone’s attention who could bring the danglers MORE attention. People such as conference sponsors, brand reps and sponsored bloggers.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against danglers. Thanks to its sponsors, the BlogHer Conference exists as it is, the Grand Dame of female blogger gatherings. There is nothing quite like its festive and frenetic aura and its Las Vegas vibe (“what happens at BlogHer…”). Truly, BlogHer is an astounding phenomenon to experience.
I enjoyed the frenzy the first two times — mostly. It was difficult, though, in 2008 and 2010, for this introvert to have no recharging time, to feel pulled in a dozen directions at once and to know that for every experience I was having, I was missing out on twenty others.
Not this year. This time I aim to attend BlogHer in New York City with an intention to focus on what is important to me. Which would include (in no order): delivering value at the session on which I’m a panelist (it’s called My Blog No Longer Fits Me! and you are invited), meeting my bloggy friends from various tribes I am part of, meeting my agent for the first time, making genuine connections with new friends (not the looking-past-you-for-someone-more-important variety) and doing activities in NYC that make me feel good, grounded and centered. Not drained, weighted and regretful.
I have RSVPed for no parties. I may or may not get to the Expo Hall (if I do it will be to thank sponsors for keeping BlogHer affordable, and not to accumulate their stuff). There are no Big Bloggers or celebrities I feel the need to
stalk “accidentally” share an elevator with (even Katie Couric, whom I would like to meet but not in a fawning-over way).
I shall try to remember I need nothing. Anything good that comes my way at BlogHer12 I will view as a gift, not a gimme. I have all my mug and toothbrush and thumb drive needs taken care of, and for what it would take to ship the swag home, I can buy the products myself. Nor do I “need” people. I want to meet interesting people, but not for what they can do for me. I am more starstruck by the people I already know, my ALI friends and my Colorado peeps, than I am by the celebrities and Big Bloggers who tend to get swarmed at the elevators.
So if you see me at BlogHer12, say hi. I should be even more able to hear you this year because I am not tuning in to the siren song of swag. I am simply tuning Inward.
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