10 Things I did “Wrong” at BlogHer

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My first BlogHer is over, and I may have just ruined my reputation forever.

1. I didn’t take enough photos. Especially lacking the photos of me posing with celebrities and on the red carpet. (I did pose with the darling Paula Deen and there might be one photo with Carson Kressley too).

2. I gave out less than 50 business cards. I gave cards only for those people who asked for one, and frankly, that wasn’t too many. I think I was just busy hanging out with people I already know, but I might be wrong. I figured that if people really want to know me, they will find me and ask my card without me promoting myself too much.

3. I didn’t attend many sessions. I had meetings with people I have worked with before and will start working in new projects. I had amazing conversations over lunches, and on the hallways of Sheraton with bloggers I respect and have been wanting to meet for a long time. I hung out with people I love.

4. I didn’t hand out swag. Apparently those who gave out fab swag are the real queens of BlogHer. But dear Lord shield those people whose swag bags were less than fabulous and had too little products, the negative PR will haunt them for the rest of the month (or year). So at least I am saved from not being slaughtered because my swag bags weren’t as fab as someone else’s or I ran out of them. Sorry if I disappointed anyone for not giving you free stuff. Somehow I was hoping you’d like me for.. um, me. Silly me.

5. I didn’t bring (or buy!) an extra bag to carry my swag home. So I gave away everything I could not carry home with my two hands.

6. I said no to meeting celebrities and having meetings with PR people that I hadn’t met before. But come on – I got to hang out with people like Naomi, Steph, Erika, Renee, Mrs. Flinger and so many other amazing women, who totally kick booty.

7. I talked and hugged way too much and way too many people. I totally ruined the opportunity to ever be seen as “somebody” by taking the mystery away, and showing what a hugging-babbling-weird-foreigner-dork I am. Dammit, at least I could have pretended I was something else.

8. I didn’t drink enough free booze and was never drunk. I’m a Finn for Pete’s sake, what’s wrong with me??

9. I didn’t attend every party I was invited to, and didn’t thank all of the hostesses of the parties that I attended to. Sorry, there was just too much, and I can only be in one place at once. By next year I will promise to check into cloning myself.

10. I cried when I met some amazing women with warm hearts, like Amy and Stefanie. And even more embarrassingly in the front of John Andrews of Collective Bias, when thanking him for doing something very nice for some bloggers, who deserved a change to show what they can do (and stupid me, I wasn’t even talking about myself, really John, I’m thankful for the opportunities you have given for me too).

11. I didn’t tweet
, whirrl, livestream, nor share my BlogHer experience in real time at facebook nor here. Thanks for Daria for reminding. I love social media platforms, but I liked to be in the moment, not tweet the moment.

Despited the realization that I suck at self-promotion (while at the same time I try to promote myself as a PR consultant), I loved being at BlogHer.

Oh well, better luck next year. Maybe I need to take Pimpology 101 before attending any more conferences.

About Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal is an international lifestyle expert, originally from Finland. Katja shows how to live globally inspired life to the fullest. She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks. She is a board member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, award-winning social media strategist, and a well-known speaker in the social media conferences. Katja has lived in four different countries, and seven states in the USA, and married to a helicopter pilot. Their three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.

Get Katja's first book Instagram as your Guide to the World - How, What and Who to Search and Follow on Instagram to Help You Travel the World for free, and follow Katja's travel account @skimbaco on Instagram.


  1. it was sooo amazing to finally meet you, katja, after having an online friendship for years. i just love you. you are such a sweetheart. :) running into you in the elevator and our talk in the hall was one of the many highlights of my trip. big hugs.
    .-= crunchy domestic goddess (amy)´s last blog ..Lookout BlogHer, here I…tiptoe (an intro to me) =-.

  2. LOL. Katja – as always you are the best. Love the post!. Even though I couldn’t attend BlogHer I love reading everyone’s posts on the topic.
    .-= Kelly Tirman´s last blog ..Maternity Leave – Day 12 =-.

  3. Katja, thanks for leaving a follow up comment with more info.
    .-= Nikki @ Blasian Baby´s last blog ..Our Kids and Bilingual Learning =-.

  4. Katja, I love this post. Your fresh perspective is always a welcome read for me! I wasn’t at BlogHer this year (too sick with impending pregnancy) but I did try to follow along from home thanks to Twitter. I admit that I was eagerly watching for your tweets throughout the first day, and then I thought maybe you had decided not to go. But on day two I caught a glimpse of you in someone’s posted picture and I smiled knowing you were working behind the spotlight.

    I’m happy to hear that you can make your Blogher experience be whatever you want it to be, and not have to follow the crowd. You lead without even trying! XO – Daria

  5. Heippa,

    I can relate to #2, it is said that we Finns don’t have the instinct for self promotion. Never been a problem, it means we are recognised for our value, not for the ability to sell something we are not.

    #8 is a bit worrying. Maybe you need some time in metsä to recharge your soul, and your thirst…?



  6. Katja,
    I wasn’t there, and I have met you once. But I do feel like I know you. Part of the reason that I feel that way is that you are as honest in person as you are on your blog. Your transparency is part of the draw of you and your blog.
    Part of that honesty is the ability to be true to yourself and comfortable in your own skin without having to shout it or sell it.
    So, as for #2 and #4. I would have expected nothing less from you! Nothing against anyone else, but you are right, that is just not you!

  7. Although I wasn’t there I can only imagine how easy it can be to just get caught up in talking to such great people. Sounds like you had fun!

  8. I didn’t attend BlogHer but I think these are the reasons your rep is so strong. I am planning on attending my first conference this year and for sure BlogHer10 and will keep theses in mind to make sure that I make these “mistakes” maybe excoet crying in front of John
    .-= Buck Daddy Rogers´s last blog ..My Wants List: IzeaFest Tickets, Electronics, Video games, Comic Books =-.

  9. Nikki – I did meet a lot of new people, and I did get their cards so I can follow their blogs and get to know them better, but I just don’t feel comfortable jumping in the front of people to promote myself. And while I can not stop talking after I am comfortable, weirdly enough I am shy to make the first contact. That’s just who I am. And… I much rather engage and talk deeply with 40 new people than hand out 400 business cards without really engaging with anyone. And I think the point of the conferences like this is probably different for everyone.

    Duong – great question. I’m not against swag at all, but seemed like for many that was more important than actually hanging out with people.

  10. Sounds like a lot of us made the same “mistakes.” Although I did give out a whole lot of business cards…

    Katja, it was so great to see you again! You are one of the women I always look forward to spending time with. You’re not a dork…though I will admit you’re a little weird :) But then again, I’m more than a little weird, so that’s why we get along so well. Thanks for putting the whole experience into perspective.
    .-= Jennae @ Green Your Decor´s last blog ..A Bird in Hand: Recycled Hummingbird Bookends =-.

  11. I loved meeting you! You are as sweet in person as online! I like #4!

    a thought: If all the parties take away the Swags next year, fab or not –will there be just as many attendees at parties and standing in crazy long lines?
    Thanks for being you…genuine!

    Can’t wait to see you again!
    .-= DuongSheahan´s last blog ..Going To My First Blogher in Real Life =-.

  12. Hmm. I get the witty tongue in cheek point of your 10 things list but I think #2 is really something to be taken seriously. Oddly enough i’ve met you in real life so I can totally see you waiting for someone to come up to you directly.

    It’s nice to hang out with people you already know but the point of conferences like this is to branch out and meet some new people…not just pr people and possible sponsors…but plain and simple new people. Not everything should be about who someone is or what we can get. But then again I guess when you get to a certain level you have a status to maintain.
    .-= Nikki @ Blasian Baby´s last blog ..Our Kids and Bilingual Learning =-.

  13. Oh Katja, shame on you for not pimping yourself out more!

    I must say that I am quite sad that I didn’t have a chance to connect with you again (beyond my humongous squeal and hug on the first night) but I have a feeling our paths will cross soon. At which point, let’s sit and chat and share and enjoy, even if it means ruining our reputations.

    .-= Boston Mamas´s last blog ..Birthday Giveaway: Maisey Mae =-.

  14. Great list!

  15. I made many of the same mistakes, can’t say I regret it. Love your perspective and I wish I’d gone up an introduced myself.
    .-= Allie´s last blog ..After BlogHer Break ! =-.

  16. I absolutely adored you and was so glad to get to talk at Hanes. Thank goodness for the smaller parties otherwise I may never have gotten to know the lovely Katja in real life :)
    .-= Toni´s last blog ..BlogHer 09: My Thoughts, My Pride and The Short Insert About Stupid People =-.

  17. I didn’t attend but I am sure you did fine.
    I would love to go next year but its in the hopes to meet great women IRL and to also learn something. It sounds like you were there for all the right reasons and had a good time being who you are. I hope its really not all about the free stuff you get or give, if so that is a disappointing.
    .-= Kim @ Beautiful Wreck´s last blog ..It’s Monday and I am the Momma =-.

  18. Such an amazing weekend, yes very overwhelming and I’m guilty of some of your top ten as well. BUT… your genuine spirit was best thing. You really ROCK Katja!!!
    .-= Jen @ One Moms World´s last blog ..Kick the Summer I Am Bored Comments =-.

  19. This made me smile. A great perspective, Katja. I am so blessed to have finally had a chance to really hang out with you and hear your lovely voice.

    .-= Adventures In Babywearing´s last blog ..I Brought My Baby To BlogHer =-.

  20. I think I made the same “mistakes” that you did, except I didn’t cry. I laughed until I cried, but I didn’t cry. :-)
    .-= Corrin´s last blog ..I Survived Blogher =-.


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