This will be my fifth BlogHer conference, all of which I've attended with child - either attached to my boob for some or most of it, or in my belly, like this time.
It's no wonder people think I'm pregnant all the time. And really, they're not that far off.
There will be no shortage of fantastic posts in the next few weeks, some of which have already been floating around, that will give new attendees and even the old pros tips on how to survive BlogHer.
I pretty much covered all the goods in last year's post, but here are my five additional thoughts on how to enjoy BlogHer 2010 - with special props to those of us who will be doing it pregnant and sober.
1. Just because someone writes it on their blog doesn't make it a good conversation starter
Bloggers are actual people, folks, so if you want to go up and say "hello," a simple "Hi, I'm [insert name - also Twitter handle - that helps!)] and I really enjoy reading your blog" is great. Even small talk like "I love your outfit, where did you get those shoes, who designed your header" is fine.
But avoid bringing up deeply personal material - like a bad car accident, recent divorce, or daughter's traumatic incident with a dog - as a way to introduce yourself. "So, I can't believe your husband left you!" isn't the best way to start things off.
Bottom line: Social skills are highly underrated.
2. Be smart about swag
As many of you may have heard or remember, last year the BlogHer swag situation was out of control.
And sure, I get it. Free stuff is awesome. I love me some 400 jump drives.
But remember that you have to figure out a way to get all that free stuff home. If you want to pack an extra suitcase and pay to check it, or fork over the cost to have the hotel ship boxes home, go for it. But keep in mind that most of the stuff that you're shipping isn't worth the amount you're paying to ship or check it.
More importantly, it's definitely not worth having to maul babies and tackle women.
Bottom line: Don't be a swag-hag.
3. Pace yourself, party goers
This year I decided not to RSVP for anything, save one or two very small parties, and I'm still overwhelmed with the number of events going on over the entire weekend. The truth is if you're with friends, you'll have fun wherever you end up, because hello, it's NYC baby!But better, you won't end up sleeping through half of the next day and taking another few days to recover when you get home.
The best times I had last year weren't actually at parties but rather when I just planted myself outside of one to take a breather. I ended up meeting and actually chatting with more people that way than I did at anything else.
I realize that people are hot for BlogHer parties, but unless you keep up a 3-4 party and however many drink a night pace at home, you might be in for a rude awakening (literally) the next day.
Bottom line: Even Lindsay Lohan has a limit. Know yours before you end up like this (heh).
4. You probably won't see everyone that you want to see and that kinda sucks
I'm fortunate in that I'm either lugging a baby in a baby carrier or a belly carrier, so most people who are looking for me can follow the baby yelps or swollen ankles and find me. But that seems to make it extra challenging for me to find other people. And honestly, I think missing the chance to shake the hands or squeeze the boobs of some of your favorite people can be the most disappointing part of the BlogHer experience.
If you know in advance that you probably might not see everyone, or at least, get a chance to talk with them for more than a few minutes, then it helps. Or, make a list and figure out a way to meet up with them - whether it's saying "hi" after they present at a session, tweeting at them to find out where they are (which is different from tweet-nagging or worse stalking them - ahem), or making small talk while you're washing your hands after a bathroom break.
The operative word being "after." Pee chat can be a little awkward.
Bottom line: You might not meet everyone on your list. And that's okay.
5. There are heroes among us
If you find yourself getting caught up in the awesome but sometimes overwhelming madness that can be BlogHer - the sessions, the parties, your entire blogroll and twitter follow feed right in the same room, remember how amazing it is to have this opportunity to meet up with some of the greatest women (and inspiring little boys) around.
Whether I'm able to tell them personally or not, some of my own heroes will be there - some of whom might be yours as well. Some are already good friends. Others are folks I admire from afar.
Either way, getting to be with them - whether it's sharing a hotel room, a non-alcoholic beverage, or a cab to and from the airport, heck even just being in the same room with them - is what makes the weekend a success for me. Figure out what it means to you and then remind yourself of that.
Bottom line: Whether BlogHer '10 is awesome or not is solely in your own hands