BlogHer’12: Mind your manners

Written by on August 8, 2012 in Celebrity Spottings, travel - 45 Comments

“It’s like Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving,” I thought to myself while trying to snag a Diet Coke before the luncheon with Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart at BlogHer12

Takeaway: Martha’s perfect at everything and you never will be. I’m only perfect at crawling up to the stage during the Q&A and taking this picture without getting thrashed by her security.

There was little kindness from the other attendees in that instance or when trying to find a place to sit during the sessions. It seemed everyone was in it for their own mannerless selves, and they were going to whoop up on others who might try and get in there first/attempt to take a free sample from a vendor before they did/grab a fork so I could actually eat the meal for which I’d waited just as long as they had.

Kate Gosselin at Coupon Cabin booth at BlogHer12 Expo

I wasn’t willing to wait in line to meet Kate Gosselin, and she wouldn’t be still enough for me to take a stealthy picture. She’s tee-tiny and I barely recognized her when she wasn’t emasculating Jon.

Between being herded into meals with 5000 of our closest blogger friends (Or non-blogger friends; I kept hearing rumors of people there who don’t blog. To which my question would be a hearty WTF?), fighting for seats in sessions (I sat on the floor in half of the sessions. It was uncomfortable and hot.), and people grabbing freebies in the Expo Halls without bothering to chat with brand reps, I was unimpressed.

It made me so very glad that Type-A Con was my first blogging conference earlier this year.

Other than that. I had an absolute blast. I knew I would.

Rockettes Exercise Routine

I went with Heather and Kelly (or Heller) to dance with real live Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. We learned a few quick steps in their rehearsal studio and lined up and and kicked and smiled and learned what it takes to be a Rockette during the Q&A. The minimum of which is a height of five feet, six inches. Alas, I will never be a Rockette.

Rockettes are required to be 5'5.

Surely the only thing from keeping me from being a Rockette is a measly little inch. Right? Right.

Spending time with old and new friends in one of my favorite cities in the world–always a plus.

Winning a new Galaxy S III phone from Samsung after my lesser phone (also previously known as “My Precious”)  had an unfortunate incident with a New York City sidewalk the night before made this sad panda a happy one. Thanks, Samsung!

Broken Samsung Galaxy and new one.

Having the opportunity to go to the Room Key Party to learn more about them  while drinking watermelon mojitos at a rooftop party? Works for me.

We ate at S’Mac, a restaurant that only serves mac and cheese. Yeah, I pretty much wanted to motorboat that place.

Seeing Once the Musical and having my faith restored in humanity and all things beautiful was fantastic. I beg of you. Go see that show. They sell their wine in sippy cups and the bar on the stage becomes a working one during intermission. I’m also going to say something important here: It was better than Wicked and Next to Normal. I know, I know.  Don’t throat punch me. It’s true.

Sippy cups for your wine. You know you need one.

Lately I had been having an existential crisis as to why I blog (among other things). I consider myself a writer primarily, but I also love blogging as a related creative outlet. However, I’m having a hard time reconciling the world that blogging is becoming, especially when faced with people who are only at blog conferences for the swag.

Don’t get me wrong. I like swag. But that is not a reason to go to a blog conference. It is merely a bonus.

When I started blogging I was writing because I have to. Because I’m supposed to. Because I was born to. Another blog I started in 2007 (and regretfully stopped in 2009) had the tagline: “This is my blog. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it.” When I started Southern Spark in October 2011, I thought I had to go corporate in order to have a successful blog, but what I’m realizing is that I just don’t have to do that. I can only be me, which is good, because that’s all I’ve got. If brands like it, fine. If they don’t, so be it. (You all like me. Everyone Most people do.)

When choosing blog conference roomies, make sure at least one has mad false eyelash placement skills like our @kippy_p.

Will I attend BlogHer13? I’m not sure yet. All of the perks that a large conference offers are also the downfalls. There are simply too many people, but without those people, it is much harder for a conference to attract large brands and sponsors that allow for things like the Rockettes, Martha Stewart, and President Obama (the last of which we completely skipped, because hello? Free wine at an off-site party. Just kidding. We had already committed to meeting with MindStream Academy and a tour of City Winery, and we don’t break our appointments with wine.) Considering the parts I disliked the most were actually conference issues, I may just go with a Party and Expo pass next time. Or I might just try out some other conferences.

Thanks for the hospitality, City Winery and MindStream Academy!

Will you attend BlogHer13? If not, what conferences will you attend? And can I room with you? I only snore sometimes and hog the bed always.

45 Comments on "BlogHer’12: Mind your manners"

  1. Lisa C August 8, 2012 at 11:08 am · Reply

    BlogHer13….I’m undecided for all the same reasons as you. Roomie – absofrigginlutely!!

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm · Reply

      I’ll go where ever you go, Miss Lisa. :)

  2. Jen Lawrence August 8, 2012 at 11:15 am · Reply

    Ha! You are hysterical! Well tell me how you really feel? I have never been to BlogHer and this would have been my first year but I had to back out the week before. My very first blog conference was Bloggy Bootcamp in Baltimore and I loved it! There were no more than 120 attendees and we played musical chairs the entire time giving us a chance to meet (almost) everyone. I have heard that BlogHer can be overwhelming and cliquish as well as some rude bloggers or non bloggers fighting over parties, swag etc. I guess I’d like to experience BlogHer at least once and I’d definitely go for the Expo Pass ! I’ve been to Blogalicious and The NC Mom Blogger Conference which I absolutely LOVED and most recently Type A which I truly enjoyed! I’m glad you had a goo time overall and you got to enjoy NYC! That’s a plus. :-)

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm · Reply

      Jen, I would love to go to the NC Mom Blogger conference, and I have heard really good things about Blogalicious and Bloggy Boot Camp. I’m glad I experienced BlogHer at least once, but I’m still leaning toward other conferences for now.

  3. Becca Bernstein August 8, 2012 at 11:36 am · Reply

    I feel the same way as you. And the Wal-Mart analogy is priceless.

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Becca! It was good to see you at BlogHer. Thanks for not shoving me so you could get to some swag.

  4. Jamie (Mama.Mommy.Mom) August 8, 2012 at 11:48 am · Reply

    Based simply on the fact that I loathe the existence of Wal-mart, not to mention actually having to shop there, I’m pretty sure Blogher is not the place for me. I will happily stick with TypeACon (for sure – tickets purchased for 2013, room mates secured) and try out some others as I can. I like swag, but that’s not why I want to go to conferences.

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm · Reply

      I’m with you, Jamie. I’m ready for TypeACon13. Only 13 more months!

  5. Kia August 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm · Reply

    Blogher was exhausting for many reasons and i wasn’t even staying onsite. i think it was just too much going on and too much to take in in that span. I like Type A leaps and bounds better.

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm · Reply

      I agree, Kia. Again, so glad TypeACon was my first conference.

  6. Kelly {the Centsible Life} August 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm · Reply

    I’m glad TypeA came before for you. It gave you perspective which is much needed in all the clamor and chaos of BH. I will say BH13 sounds like a bunch of fistfights waiting to happen. A shuttle between hotel and conference? Um, no. But…I never say never.

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm · Reply

      I thought the same, Kelly. Just not sure if I’m willing to do that. But, I’ve never been to Chicago, and any time I can take the chance to enjoy a new city and call it “work” is a win for me. I guess I should have known it would be ugly from the facebook group comments before we went.

  7. Major Bedhead August 8, 2012 at 2:12 pm · Reply

    This was my 3rd BlogHer and it was, by far, the most chaotic. I put a lot of blame on the Hilton, but I think the powers that be at BlogHer need to restrict attendees a bit.

    I love the fact that you blog because you love to write. I think those of us that do that are a dying breed. I had a long conversation on Twitter last night about this. I would love to go to a panel at the next BlogHer that was on writing for writing’s sake. I have no interest in monetizing my blog or hosting giveaways. I don’t begrudge the people who do do that; it’s just not my thing.

    I’m still trying to decide if I’m going next year. I want to, but I may do the party pass thing, too, since I got more out of seeing old friends and meeting new ones than I did out of the sessions this time around.

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm · Reply

      I keep thinking there has got to be a happy medium in there somewhere. Shouldn’t people who write and are good at it get paid for it? Does doing giveaways increase readership? Sometimes. Do I lose my voice when I start worrying about what my sponsor might say if/when I run off at the mouth? Probably.

      Sigh.

      • Major Bedhead August 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm · Reply

        I don’t have any issue with people who write well getting paid, but to me, that’s a separate thing from blogging. I think if you have a good writing voice, you can parlay that into writing gigs on other sites. For me, my blog is my place to write about whatever *I* want to write about. I realize not everyone feels this way about blogging, though, and I’m definitely not trying to tell people how they should blog.

        And while giveaways increase stats, I don’t think most of those people hang around to keep reading. They’re only there to win something. As for sponsored posts, they totally squick me out. I used to do book reviews but stopped when I was told not to write anything if I couldn’t say something positive about the book. Ugh. You either want a review or you don’t. If you don’t like honest feedback, it’s not a review, it’s an arse-kissing.

        • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm · Reply

          I know. I know. I know.

          So where’s the happy medium? Is it just being careful of what sponsored posts you accept? I try to only accept things I really love. Otherwise I will say bad things about it, and then the brand is mad. But you are right, it isn’t a review if it isn’t honest.

          And you are also right about people looking to win something not sticking around, but since I’m still a fairly small blog trying to grow my readership, I’m trying to decide if giveaways assist in promoting businesses I like and potentially exposing my blog to people who might not have seen it otherwise.

          • Major Bedhead August 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm ·

            I don’t know. I think everyone has to figure out their own happy medium. For me, it’s not doing any of that, but I’ve read a lot of blogs that do reviews or sponsored posts and do them really well. I think it depends on the writer. I think there’s a way to incorporate paid/sponsored posts into a traditional blog, I just can’t figure out how to do it myself, so I don’t.

            Thanks for putting up with my musings!

          • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm ·

            Back at ya!

  8. Jennifer Bullock August 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm · Reply

    Thanks for your take on it. Unfortunately, I’ve been hearing a lot of the same problems and praises. Makes it hard to want to go. Glad you keep being you and keep on writing!!

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Jen!

  9. Tannis August 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm · Reply

    The Room Key Party pretty much MADE the party part of the conference. I mean, rooftop, watermelon and liquor, fantastic passed hors d’ouvres, and YOU!

    The rest of it…yeesh. I liked the panels that I attended, but they were some of the less attended so I got to sit in a crappy Hilton chair and not on the floor. And the food was pretty…ugh.Really? There are 5000 women, you think we’re going to be happy with day-old croissants? And I could only do the Expo on Thursday night after several glasses of wine. (Can you imagine? I’m sure you can’t.) The stuff I didn’t plan was the best. (Hilton bar with new friends? So glad I didn’t need a ticket to make that happen!)

    Next year? I dunno.

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm · Reply

      It’s always the best stuff that happens that isn’t planned, and that party rocked the kasbah. So glad I got to meet you there!

  10. Anne August 8, 2012 at 3:21 pm · Reply

    Yay, I made the party collage! That is a piece of unicorn glitter stuck to my forehead, for those who can’t see it clearly.

    I was at a very front table for the Martha keynote. I waited in line 40 minutes to get in the room and then got run over by people who just jumped through when the ONE attendant couldn’t manage two lines anymore.

    Someone claimed the prime seat at the table, left her stuff and then never came back through the whole meal. When I went out to grab a drink I brought two people up with me and moved her stuff so they could sit and eat. I’m still sporting a bruise on my calf from how people propped the chairs against the tables to save them.

    Still, I had a really good time! Seeing you was a high point. I’m in for Type A next year and hope to spend more time with you in Atlanta.

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm · Reply

      If I don’t see you before the next Type-A, Anne, I will internet stalk you in the creepiest of ways. You like it.

  11. thedoseofreality August 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm · Reply

    I honestly thought my life’s goal was to get to BlogHer until I started reading posts about it. Now, I think my life’s goal is to get back to Type-A (already bought my ticket) and to try out some other conferences, too. I hear Blissdom is amazing and EVO, so I think I will focus on those and maybe if I win the lottery I will hit BlogHer.

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm · Reply

      I’d really like to try out Blissdom, and I’m annoyed that I have to wait 13 months for another TypeACon. I’ve also heard good things about EVO, but it is farther away and much harder to get to.

  12. Amiyrah August 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm · Reply

    Wonderfully said. The bonuses of the conference being big really are it’s downfalls. We really are spoiled though, since Type A was our first conference, but I think the best thing we learned what we DON’T want out of a conference. You ladies did it right: you made other plans that didn’t include the conference in a whole and had a chance to get away from it all. Very smart.

    Now I have 2, yes 2, gripes with you. 1: I didn’t make any of the pictures! And here I thought I was you eternal short-statured dance sister. 2: Once is better than Wicked?! How dare you!!! LOL

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm · Reply

      Amiyrah, you are my normal heighted soul sister dance partner forever. The reason you aren’t in a picture is because they were all so blurry that no one would be able to tell who it was. I blame the photographer (Kelly).

      And yes, Once is better than Wicked. I felt guilty even typing it out, but it’s true.

  13. Abbie Gale August 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm · Reply

    You should have warned me! The Walmart gives me hives and I even hate going to the YMCA! You gave a very fair and honest opinion and, OMWord!!!!! did I miss out on all kinds of cool stuff. Rockettes? Boooooo…..I suck with nothing but my robot dance video, in my room, alone. You danced with the Rockettes! Very cool.

    • Tricia August 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm · Reply

      Abbie, I’m not even sure how we got that gig. Heather tweeted me and told me to sign up, so I did. I was quite surprised we got in since I signed up about an hour after registrations went out. My guess is the 7 a.m. start time scared people off. It also explains why I look so run hard and put up wet in the pics.

  14. Laine Griffin August 12, 2012 at 9:43 am · Reply

    You had me at motorboating mac and cheese!
    I’m glad that in spite of the craziness you were able to have a great time!

    • Tricia August 12, 2012 at 10:49 am · Reply

      Ha! Thanks, Laine!

  15. Liz @ The Six Year Itch April 30, 2013 at 10:52 pm · Reply

    Great post, Tricia. I had a very different BlogHer experience. I never went to the Expo Hall and I attended Voices of the Year. I’m not sure if you did that, but it will give you that boost and encouragement to be exactly who you are and write for you. Fuck the corporate bullshit. If you’re good at what you do, they will come to you. No one that makes you change is worth working for and that’s why I don’t work for them.

    Stay awesome. xo.

    • Tricia Oakes May 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm · Reply

      Nope. I think I did it wrong. I missed VOTY because I went to some stupid party for a brand I’ll never write anything for because 1) They refuse to pay and 2) It’s not something I’m interested in promoting. I got a lot of free wine out of it, which was cool, but I can buy my own wine. And I did get a free phone that I looooooooove from the Expo Hall, but the rest of it was BS. :/

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