Monday, December 22, 2008

Networking

Preparing for, speaking at, and attending conferences are just a few of the things Hubby does as part of his job. The side benefit of these “business” trips is that I often get to tag along and visit new cities and countries while he “works.” I always attend the part of the meeting where he speaks, and then spend the rest of my time exploring.

As a former Customer Service Guru I have never had cause to attend a conference for my own purposes. I have never been the one to stand at the front of the room and be heard. And I’ve never been the one wearing the good badge. As a wife my conference passes were either blank (there’s an ego boost for you) or simply stated “spouse.”

I recently came across an opportunity to turn the tables and attend a conference where I would be the attendee and Hubby would be the “spouse.” The annual BlogHer Conference will be taking place in Chicago next July around the time I was thinking of heading to the States for home leave.

Rightly or wrongly, blogging has become a big part of my life over the past three years. I appreciate having this wonderful, electronic outlet for my creativity. My random thoughts may end up in the Internet ether but at least they’re out there for people to read and comment upon. The fact that there is a conference out there for people like me was intriguing from almost the first moment I heard about it. Sure many of the participants and attendees are “professional bloggers” rather than “personal bloggers” like me, but my heart still races at the thought that I might meet people – in person - who feel the same way about blogging as I do.

This is the fifth year this conference has been held and the second time it has called Chicago its home. I have to admit that location plays a big part in my contemplation of this conference: Chicago is only one flight away from Toronto and we have friends who live there whom I can visit at the same time.. The cost is a little steep but Hubby has been incredibly supportive and said that if this is something I’m interested in we can make it work.

Last year’s conference in San Francisco included talks about such things as “Blogging with a Global Perspective,” “Women Without Children and the Blogosphere,” “Pursing your Passion Never Gets Old,” and “Book to Blog Redux.” It also had great breakout groups for writing workshops and women who blog about similar things (travel bloggers, mommy bloggers, etc).

I love the idea of this conference but am not sure if I’ll know anyone there, if people there will want to know me, if I’ll get anything out of it, and most importantly, if it will be worth the money I’ll have to pay to attend. Have any of you ever attended? What did you think of it? Do you plan to this year? Should I? Help!!

21 comments:

Lydia said...

I think I would actually be in the area during that time. Odd. We're doing a cross country trip from the East to the West. The only thing is I'll be a single mom by that time, hubby not in the states and me with 4 kids! That would be fun, though.

LadyFi said...

I think that it could be fun... I guess you ought to take a look at the program first and see if there is anything on offer that will interest you - as a personal blogger. If it's mainly aimed at how to make money from your blog, then it might not be for you.

Otherwise, you might consider a writing workshop instead for those creative impulses? Perhaps back home in Toronto while you're there, or maybe in Europe (more accessible)?

On a completely different note - can you give us back the sun that you are so overusing over there? Thanks1 ;-)

Amanda said...

I've heard about the conferences for years, but have never been on the right continent to attend. I think it sounds fun.

Protege said...

Interesting, I must say. I am somewhat new to blogging, so I can not say I have ever attended such an event, but I can definitely imagine doing so in the future. I am sure it is very awarding to meet people that share the interest of online writing.
And what a nice husband that supports you in this.;)

Brenda said...

My daughter went last year for work and she thought the conference was hysterical because it was a bunch of middle aged women getting dressed up and drinking too much :)

I am sure I would enjoy it, even if the younger crowd is laughing at me :)

I am sure the workshops are wonderful and you would meet lots of fun people.

But there is NO WAY Chicago could be as fun as San Francisco ;)

Scriber's Web said...

Actually I've been thinking about attending the one in Chicago. I am not interested in the "business" side of blogging but there are tons of topics that I am interested in. Did you read the agenda? They just published it.

It is expensive so it is very hard for me justify the expense. Specially since I have no plans of making money off the blog. But my husband is supportive and says go for it.

My friend Carol is also interested in going. That makes it easier because I am apprehensive about entering a room where I know no one. If the conference is a bust, we'll hang out in Chicago and take photos. So it will be a win win situation.

I also have family in Chicago so it will be good to see them. But then I have family everywhere. Even in Toronto:)

IMHO, the conference is not that expensive. I've attended conferences which cost over a grand but they have been on someone else's dime:) Plus they server meals so that makes up for it.

The biggest expense is the plane tickets and the hotel stay. I could stay with family but it will be much easier to stay in the hotel for the two days. By the time I pay for rental cars or cabs, the difference won't be much.

I think you should attend. I'll be there hopefully so at least you know one person:) I'd love to meet with you and hang out.

I have heard nothing but really good stuff about the conferences.

Bring your camera! Like I said, if the the conference is a bust, we can alternate between taking photos and outdressing/outdrinking the middle old women:)

Sorry this is long.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time you won at Public Speaking competitions! You were good too!!
merthyrmum

psychoknitter said...

I would consider what you can get out of it - if it seems worth it than go for it, if not, don't.

traveler one said...

I've always wanted to go... I think it would be an awesome experience! Do it and live without regrets!

Betty said...

I agree, with the rest . YOu should go and tell us all about it, who have to stay home!

lifeagift said...

Thanks for the post on my blog. I get very little traffick but I hope to hange that with my trip to Egypt.

Anyway, who needs an excuse to go to CHI TOWN. It's such a happening place I would go just to go. But maybe the taste is going on during that time also, or look for this green conscious conference that went on this past year, I think threw was also a chocolate festival or something. Hmmm middle aged women di=rinking, tasting, chocolate and virtual chat sounds like EUTOPIA.

I'll check it out and if I can jhustify the expense plus find like 4-5 other things I wanna do there then I'll go too. Ooooh the pier that's always a cool hang out.

Anyway thanks again for the comment.

lifeAgift

Kat said...

I am planning to go! Although I need to go by the site and see how much the registration fees are. We were thinking of making a family vacation out of it...driving up there and then staying with my cousin who lives in Naperville. I would go to the conference...and then after it's over spend some time doing museums and other touristy things.

So...yes! You should come!

Simple Answer said...

I think you need to report back. Yes. We definitely need someone to attend and tell us about it. I nominate you. And I second it.

Nicole said...

I actually think, a few bloggers I know (at least one) will go there.
You might have read comments by him on my blog: Lou
You might wanna go and check him out - a totally wonderful man!
And he again knows a lot of people who will be there (he lives in that area after all ;) )

Nicole said...

My Internet is acting up again...took me 20 min to save this comment, argh,...., will be back tomorrow and try my luck on the other posts ;)
(And they say they cut a cable near Egypt, I say, it was near Croatia, plus they shot down my communications satellite ;)!)

Amanda said...

I think Grace at http://www.noonewatching.com/ went and has posted about her experience.

LadyFi said...

Let us know what you decide!

American in Norway said...

Oh, GO! You will have a blast! Wish i could make it!

Oh2122 said...

I did the Reach Out Tour in Boston. Even though I didn't get to keep one of the cars they let us test drive, it was an amazing experience.

If you can do it, DO IT! It's not just about blogs. It's about people and how we relate to each other nowadays. It's about information and technology and finding your voice.

(I should get a commission!)

I'm still deciding, as Chicago is a haul for me, but I have not ruled it out.

lizzy-loo said...

go! it sounds fun. carpe diem!

mythopolis said...

What can I say? Chicago is my hometown and I will always love the place...hope you go, sounds like some of your blogger friends have similar intentions...and Chicago in the summertime is full of wonderful events and outdoor life. Just Do It! (And I want a full report on my desk when you get back! : D)