1. Buy a ticket to BlogHer 2012.
2. Make a hotel and flight reservation.
3. Worry about what to wear, whether you'll fit in, whether you'll fit in with what you're wearing.
4. Make pre-arrangements with a few friends to meet-up for dinner, for coffee, to hang out.
5. Go to conference, look perfectly tidy and lovely, mix and mingle, attend sessions, go to a few parties, have a few drinks, discuss the conference, get some SWAG from the sponsor exhibition hall, say your good-byes, pack your bags, head home.
6. Write a blog post.
How I Went To A Blogging Conference
1. Buy a ticket for one day (instead of the whole conference) and then decide you don't want to go to BlogHer 2012. Try unsuccessfully to sell ticket, then forget about it.
2. Day of conference, make the last minute decision to jump on a train to New York City. Throw on some jeans and a t-shirt. Stuff a backpack with a change of t-shirt, some deodorant, a pair of high heels, and a toothbrush. Tell no one outside of your family.
3. Get off train at Penn Station in NYC. Walk 20 blocks in the heat. Drink two bottles of sports drink that you bought at a street vendor.
4. Show up at conference dripping sweat and your hair in a fried-out ponytail. Register and run upstairs where the hotel waiters are clearing up the lunch buffet. Grab a turkey sandwich out of a waiter's hand, snarl back at the waiter, and jump into a session as the doors are closing.
5. Sit behind a well-known, well-respected blogger who you've only ever met online and who you'd love to meet For Real and talk to and fawn over if you didn't smell like a Times Square subway stop and look like you'd possibly just been in a brawl with a hobo. When well-known blogger turns around and says, "Hey, it's you!", almost fall off your chair, babble something that sounds like drunken Farsi, then remember the time you both agreed to disagree during some Twitter debate and wonder if she really meant the truce, or if as soon as the session is done she's going to push you over onto your butt and call you a ninny. (She didn't. She's actually one of those rare people who walk their kindness talk. And thank goodness. Because she was two feet taller than shrimpy me.)
6. When session is over, instead of looking at schedule of events to decide which speakers might discuss information from a POV that would most closely reaffirm your own beliefs, just lazily walk into the next open door. Sit through an hour-long discussion on what it's like to be a blogger who is an unmarried, non-parent. Think "Hmm" and "Huh" quite a few times during the presentation. Consider raising your fist in solidarity because, frankly, you've really needed this weekend away from your spouse and kids, but then decide that, no, that's probably not what they're talking about.
7. Since you can't get your electronic device to hook-up to Wifi, you can't Tweet/Facebook/Email any people you know so you can, you know, hook-up and pretend to be popular. Wonder what the hell you're going to do with the rest of your day since lugging your backpack around New York City in 99% humidity feels like hell.
8. Get a text from a friend to meet her at registration! Wander around exhibitors hall and pick up some SWAG. Later decide that lugging around a backpack and SWAG bag containing a full bottle of bathroom cleaner, a mini fan, and two mirror compacts is like hiking the Appalachian Trail with a 25 lb. frozen turkey. Keep the mini fan, dump the bathroom cleaner. Gawk at Uber Famous Celebrity Blogger from across a sea of high-heeled hairdos. Decide that waiting in long line to register for an expensive kitchen mixer giveaway means that The Man has won. Leave exhibitors hall.
9. Bypass crowded elevator and walk up eight flights of stairs to sponsor suite on the 42nd floor. Know that even though your friend has cleaned up well, she's a crunchy, outdoorsy type who will hopefully appreciate your flagrant sweating and frazzly hair as thumbing your nose at conventional archetypes of blogger beauty. Further hope she doesn't Instagram your Grizzly Adams ass.
10. Visit the toy car sponsors. Listen to their pitch on why you should buy more complicated plastic accessory gadgets to enhance your child's enjoyment of simply playing with cars. Pee pants laughing when friend accidentally breaks a display toy two seconds after the toy car representative reiterates the "kid tough" construction of the toys.
11. Get shut out of Starbucks coffee tasting suite because you didn't make a reservation. Write "Free Maxwell House in Lobby" on suite door and book out of there.
12. Part ways with friend for time being. Feel hungry, but you don't have dinner plans and don't want to third wheel anyone else's plans. Wander around second exhibition hall as they are closing up. Know that the Muller Yogurt lady isn't going to want to take all that yogurt home with her. Pretend to be really interested in her product and ask a lot of questions about protein content and whether or not the milk used contains pink slime or whether her company hates gays until she finally gives you a few yogurts just to go away. Feel bad because the yogurt is actually really good. Make a mental note to mention Muller Yogurt by name if you write a blog post.
13. Wander to lobby and grab some granola bars. Sit alone and try to get Wifi to hook up again.
14. See a woman sitting across from you, all by herself. Note that she looks like a mirror image of a cleaned-up you with nicer earrings.
15. Feel delighted (and relieved) when woman strikes up conversation with you. Find out that she is a social media professional (like, "I get paid to consult with businesses on this stuff" as opposed to "I just hang out on Twitter in my underwear all day") and has never been to this particular blogging conference. Talk with her for two hours exchanging mutual overall impressions from the point-of-view of people who can say whatever they want without fear that Starbucks is going to withdraw sponsorship from their blogs. Solve all the world's problems and then talk about your kids.
16. Switch your sneakers for heels, adjust your ponytail, and apply some makeup. Head to Big Party. Meet a newly crowned A-list blogger in the hallway. When blogger asks where you are staying for the night, act real cool like and say "Who knows, man. It's NYC. I'm just gonna wander around all night, hit some beat bars, write some poetry, greet the dawn somewhere down near Battery Park." Listen to celebrated blogger tell you that you're going to get mugged, drugged, and shipped off on a boat to Morocco. Take up blogger's offer to sleep on their hotel room floor.
17. Dance. Have a Budweiser. Dance. Say hellos to a few people you know and run into. Dance. Have a cola. Dance. Get approached by some social media marketing dude. Don't tell him exactly who you are when he asks you. Act a little cagey - which causes marketing dude to perhaps think you're someone important who doesn't want to talk to him, which causes him to pursue you more. Find out somehow that he has family in Schuylkill County. Engage marketing dude in conversation about keg parties on pole lines. Know that this isn't really what he wants to talk to you about, but he will, because he still thinks you might be Ree Drummond.
19. Get approached by a young dude who wants to tell you about the new app he's created for Android. Pretend you work for Apple. Watch him squirm. Buy him a drink and tell him no hard feelings.
20. Sloppily introduce yourself to a few people you think you might already know. Give up and go back to dancing.
21. Make way to cab and pass out (tired, not drunk) on hotel room floor.
22. Wake in morning and rub the caterpillars off your teeth with the back of your t-shirt. Listen to the soft snorfling of the still-sleeping celebrated blogger. Pretend briefly that you are in a boxcar traveling across Missouri. Decide to introduce yourself as Woody Guthrie's great-grandniece for the rest of the day. See if that gets you a free cup of coffee.
23. Chat with blogger and blogger's other roommate about Life, The Universe, and Everything to do with the decline and rebirth of blogging.
24. Scrub up in the sink, readjust your ponytail, and head out into sweltering morning heat. Hug your hosts good-bye, leaving them with a DNA sweat impression should you still end up on a ship to Morocco.
25. Grab an almond croissant and tangerine juice from a supermodel barista who looks like she might have just flown in from an all-nighter in Rio.
26. Hang out in Bryant Park. Feel good about yourself being alone in New York City and not being conned into becoming an unwilling participant in a black market human trafficking ring.
27. Hang out in your favorite Japanese bookstore and call teen daughter to find out what mangas she wants. Feel all cosmopolitan and stuff.
28. Hang out in Penn Station and strike up conversation with young man carrying a tall stick and a huge, heavy-laden backpack. Find out he's a thru-hiker on the Appalachian Trail. Tell him you're Woody Guthrie's great-grandniece and tell about the time you had to ditch a bottle of bathroom cleaner from your backpack at a blogging conference. Know that the backpacker will now have a great story about a crazy New Yorker lady he met at Penn Station.
29. Get on train home.
30. Write a blog post.
|Photo by Not Like A Cat|