Who knew rushing a sorority and attending a conference could have so much in common? Though this will be my very first blogging conference, I was quick to notice the similarities as soon as I accepted the opportunity to attend BlogHer ’11 on behalf of BeTweenTalk.com.
Everything about being a small-town girl on a big campus, knowing absolutely no one and even less about greek life was a shock to the system a lifetime ago. But, because of that experience, I’m hoping to walk into the San Diego Convention Center a few weeks from now, a little better prepared for the social event of the year as far as blogging goes.
Here is what I’ve gleaned so far…
1. BEING A LEGACY GIVES YOU LEVERAGE. I had no clue what a legacy was as a rushee. It wasn’t until I became the rusher, that I learned it was the ultimate trump card. Had my mom been a Tri-Delt, I would’ve been in like Flynn. Automagically.
How do those familial ties translate to the blogging world? The closest thing to family in blogging, is blogging communities (i.e. Social Fabric, Mom Central, Mom Select, etc.) If you’re a member of a blogging community that’s hosting a private, invite-only party, chances are good you’ll be finding a magic ticket in your e-mail in-box and sending all the other girls into a Twittering frenzy. Join up earlier, rather than later to ensure you’re on the guest lists.
2. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PARTIES. When the house party invites would come back to us at the dorm after each day of rush parties, the suspense was palpable. Waiting to see which houses cut you and which invited you back seemed then like life or death. We were 18. We hadn’t been to our Proffesor’s office to beg for clemency after partying all night and sleeping through our first college exam yet.
At BlogHer, communities of bloggers and brands work together to throw extravagant parties outside of regular conference sessions, with swag bags filled with valuable products. As the conference draws nearer, the party invitations are starting to be delivered. And, through the social networks the suspense is just as palpable as bloggers wait to find out which parties they’ll get invited to and which ones they’ll only hear about afterwards. The parties are such a draw, that some bloggers come to BlogHer just to attend the parties, and sleep through the conference. Perfectly acceptable. There are no exams at BlogHer.
3. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CLOTHES. I was so embarrassed in my capri pants and polo shirts while the “girls-in-the-know” were wearing gorgeous couture cocktail dresses to all the rush parties, that one day when we had a break, I hopped on a bus to the nearest mall to buy a few frilly frocks with my meager budget.
The pressure to look good at BlogHer seems to be just as high, from reading the BlogHer ’11 Twitter stream that is. At least 80% of the tweets are women stressing about what they’re going to wear to the conference. Entire posts are written on the subject and buying a new wardrobe for the weekend conference appears to be as much of a given as buying a wardrobe for your honeymoon.
So even though there is no dress code, and people will tell you it’s no big deal and just wear what makes you comfortable, the truth is you want to feel good about yourself and make a good impression when you’re talking to a brand or that influential blogger you’ve always wanted to meet. So, I plan to mix a few new items in with some tried and true ones, casual-dressy to dressy. That way, I can’t go wrong no matter what the event, and I won’t be skipping out on any sessions, looking for the nearest mall.
4. YOU NEED AN ELEVATOR PITCH. If you can’t sell yourself in the five minutes you have in front of the sister who has a say in whether you’re in or out, you may as well not even show up to the party.
Likewise, if you show up to BlogHer hoping to make better connections with some of the 100+ brands that will be present, and aren’t able to tell them in one minute or less what you’re about and why they should work with you, there’s someone waiting right behind you who will. Work it out, practice it and have one tailored for each brand you want to pitch.
5. CATTINESS HAPPENS. Whenever you get any size group of women together, let alone smart, competitive women, there’s bound to be some cat fights. I saw it among my fellow rushees, and it’s already started for BlogHer ’11. Even before the first party gets underway.
DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA! Best advice: stay off the stage. Remember why you’re there in the first place. Whether it’s to bond with other bloggers, connect with brands, improve your social media or writing skills, learn the business side of blogging, or whatever your goal may be, stay focused on the outcome you want to see happen for you and MAKE IT HAPPEN! Leave the cat fights to the GDI’s. Heh.
I can’t wait to be initiated into the “Been to BlogHer” sisterhood! (I just hope there’s no hazing.)