Because I am speaking on the Old School Bloggers session at this year’s BlogHer’11, I am going to go all Old School on you.
Here are some fears you may be having. Maybe I can help you relax a bit about them. I take the fears one at a time and go year by year with answers.
1. What if I see a group of people that look fun but I am sure they must be a clique and I want to talk to them? Relax. They aren’t a clique. They are probably a gang. Watch for the tell-tale signs like them throwing down gang signs. When you see this, throw down your own to show you’re down with them and go over and talk to them. I know that seems intimidating. You just might find they aren’t as scary as you first thought they might be. They’re probably very nice gang members. (Who really aren’t very good at throwing down gang signs come to think of it.) But don’t worry about “cliques” because what you should really be worrying about is gangs.
2. What if I see someone I like but they are stone cold to me? Yes, even at a blogging conference, sometimes you come across a cold attitude. What should you do? Be nice. Show kindness. Oh, I don’t know, maybe hug them tight to show that “Hey! It’s all good! I’m a nice person!” Then? Make sure it is not a statue because boy will your face be red if you see a picture in the morning of that mean blogger and find out it was really a nice angel statue. Not that that has ever happened. But it could. Maybe. Either way, if someone is cold to you they are either 1) overwhelmed just like you are or 2) really cold because they can freeze you out in those rooms with the air conditioner down so low or they are 3) pod people with no soul who just might show up in your room at night and eat your brains out much like zombies. Maybe they are just meanie heads. Do you really want to hang with that? Nope. See #1 and find your gang. And? Make sure you aren’t trying to dance with a statue. That would be mortifying.
3. What if I have a really mean friend who plays jokes and I end up being on the receiving end of it? Now chances of that happening are slim to none but let us go with a “that would never happen” scenario. Let’s say someone’s roommate received a cheese basket from their husband. And? Let’s say that your friend thinks it is hilarious to hide that cheese in your room. Did I mention this is the worst smelling cheese in the entire world? Ever! Then, lets say, you and your roommate spend a small portion of an afternoon wondering if the other has some serious intestinal issues because nothing is right about that smell. But *whew* you and your roommate figure it out when your “friend” decides to let you off the hook and reveal the hidden cheese. But only after she hears you both are about to demand to switch rooms because surely something died in your room. Do not even fret over it. What do you do? You pass the cheese along to some other poor unsuspecting person all day long. Make it into something fun. But whatever you do, do NOT be the last person with the cheese. The cheese must stand alone. Of course, that would never happen, right? So don’t worry. Pranks never happen.
4. I’m afraid it will be all business and no fun because I didn’t get into all the good parties I hear about. What? Make your own party. Where ever you happen to be. No worries there. If you see a pole (whether on a pavillion or a trolley car) wrap on and smile. I mean, it isn’t like you would be the first person to do it. I’m not saying I condone that type of behavior or that anyone else would. In fact, maybe you should resist this urge. I mean, you really don’t want pictures of that on the Internet for all to see, do you? I know I certainly wouldn’t want to look like a pole dancing, trolley girl.
5. Is there really anything to fear at BlogHer? YES! Oh, for the love of all things horrifying, yes. Now, I only tell you this because I don’t want you to be frightened if you are approached. Sometimes some sponsors can do things that are, well, less than normal. In fact, they are down right wrong and should be illegal. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but someone should. There are usually some unsavory characters walking around FREELY who will actually come up to you and TALK to you not even taking into consideration that you may stand there and scream while wetting your pants. (I didn’t say that was me. What have you heard?) But be warned. This type of behavior is considered acceptable from sponsors. I know! That is just insane. But watch your back or one of these could sneak up on you and you may not want to be remembered as the woman who ran out of the expo hall screaming. I’m just saying.
5. I don’t have the “right” clothes and am afraid I might stand out and that worries me. Really? You think anyone cares? No one cares what you wear. They care about what they are wearing. They are worried about their outfit. They are probably cussing because they thought it would be a great idea to wear something uncomfortable with shoes that are giving her a blister. It’s not like you’re going to run around a conference with a neon pink feather boa on your head. You are in public afterall. So all things considered, just be yourself and dress yourself (like I hope you have been since you were very young) and for the sake of my ears not hearing your whining–be comfortable. But, if you want to stand out, feel free to ask for a neon pink boa.
6. I’m not going to BlogHer and I’m sad/pissed/tired of hearing about it. Really? You can’t go? Suck it up. I’ve been every year except last year due to a family emergency. Of course it broke my heart but you know what? It’s a conference. They’ve had this one since ’05 and I am pretty sure they will have one in ’12. So make your own conference. Have a sleep over with your friends/kids/spouse/alone and put things into perspective. Life goes on. There is a reason you can’t go this year and I am guessing that reason is more important than whatever you might gain over the few days in San Diego. You can still connect online. You can still see pictures. There is live blogging. Seek out your friends online and enjoy yourself that way if helps. If that makes it worse, stay offline and….oh, I don’t know… get out of the house or read a book or watch a movie. Perspective. And? Know your friends will miss you but you will be just fine. Scouts honor. (Just don’t call me on the fact that I was kicked out Scouts, okay?)
I hope this helps. BlogHer has changed over the years. It has become something so different from the first year but as it grows one thing stays the same: There are real people behind the twitter names, blog titles and Facebook pages. Be kind. Be real. Have fun.
And for the love of all things horrifying, protect me from the stuffed characters if you see me screaming and peeing myself in the expo hall.