Navigating BlogHer12 from within

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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21 thoughts on “Navigating BlogHer12 from within”

  1. Great post Lori! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, expeience and intentions for this time around.

    I am so excited to speak with you, Kir and Mel on our panel and connect with those who attend the session!

    As a first-timer, I am trying to go into BlogHer’13 with few expectations. I am most excited about the sessions, keynotes (celebrity and more impotantly community) and getting to me old and new friends in person. I also love to dance and hope to do some of that at the BlogHer sponsored parties.

    Because I haven’t gotten to do the Expo and private party thing before, I did accept one invite (the only one I got) to an off-site event. I also hope to at least walk through the Expo, to see what it’s all about.

    Besides that I hope to go with the flow!

    Can’t believe I get to see you in a week and a half!!!

    1. You bring up a good point, Kathy. Everyone should do what’s best for her and her circumstances. For me, I just want to be more mindful this year than in past years. Sounds like you are starting out with a well thought-out plan.

      I am so glad I get to meet you soon!

  2. Lori, I love you for this. Everything I read about BlogHer has been making me think that maybe I’m not ready. I don’t have the right shoes. Hell if I have any shoes but sandals. I didn’t buy flashy clothing. I don’t even really like parties. And I don’t need another water bottle. I saw pictures of people in shirts given then by their corporate sponsors, and thought, what am I doing?

    I’m really, really, glad that there will be other people like me.

  3. I am stepping away from swag and offsite stuff this year too. It feels great, and I’m so happy to be feeling relaxed about the conference as a result!

  4. That’s the thing about conferences – there’s always so much to do and a limited time to do it! It’s hard to resist the urge to pack it all in…

  5. This post made my day. The more I see on Twitter and in posts, the more trepidation I’ve been feeling as a newbie. I’m worried about the parties (no invites and honestly, I don’t expect any), what to wear, what to attend. (If anything! There was an argument today I saw that BlogHer is not about the sessions at all, which totally freaked me out. I’ve never been to a conference that was not about the sessions. Cue panic…)

  6. I hope your panel will be recorded so that we can all watch it! I really enjoyed your 2008 panel, and because I got the chance to watch you on video then, it really felt like I already knew you when we finally met in person.

    Have a great time!

  7. Lori, You have such a wonderful, healthy attitude about life, it comes as no surprise your approach to business conferences is relaxed, centered and calm. I just unpacked my bag of goodies from Type A Parent conference, and while I appreciate the items I brought home, I was mindful of WHAT I brought home. I also hope your panel is recorded, as I won’t be in attendance this year but I’ll be with you in spirit! Go get ’em (with kindness, of course 🙂

  8. I’m not attending the conference, but I’m hoping to see some of my friends while they’re in town. Would LOVE to see you! Sunshine and I will be hanging with Kristin on Thursday afternoon, if you’re around. Maybe Sunday morning?

  9. I hope you have a great time and the panel goes well! It seems like re-focusing on what you want to get out of the conference is a trend among bloggers who have attended for multiple years. I like that a lot because the sessions seem to get lost in all the talk about PARTIES and SWAG. I hope to be able to make it to the conference sometime!

  10. Sounds like so much overwhelming fun. Hope you keep your energies balanced this time. And I’ll try not to be too jealous! Have fun!

  11. thanks for sharing your point of view about blogher, this next year will be my first year and while I will be intersting in finding out what swag is and the parties. my main want is to learn more about writing and blogging and the education, if i wanta party i can do that after the classes. i went to cmu for writing and now with my business in petsitting blogging is my way to get back to that.

    whats your advice for a first time blogher attendee

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