10 Things I did “Wrong” at BlogHer

July 27, 2009 Katja Presnal

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).

UPDATE:
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.

,

Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her 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.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.

Comments (55)

  1. Lovely post, Katja. Each time I’ve attended BlogHer (and no, I didn’t go this time) I’ve been struck by how different the experience is. BlogHer is what you make of it, and it sounds like you got everything you needed from it. With 1500 people in attendance, that means 1500 different experiences. I hope all the backlash about products and promotion don’t put people off from attending next year – while some people do go for the stuff, I think most of us go for the relationships and the information that is shared so we can become better at what we do.
    .-= Donna´s last blog ..Where in the World is SoCal Mom? =-.

  2. Oh, sweet Katja…

    A “little birdie” told me you were one of the nicest people there.

    Swag is usually cheapie plasticky landfill stuff–and even the highest quality merch isn’t as valuable as meeting someone you like and admire!

    Next year in NYC, how cool is that? I can attend and still go home to my kiddos at night.
    .-= Candace´s last blog ..Future Fashion Designers Show Style with Harumika =-.

  3. LR

    All I seem to hear about is swag, swag, swag. I don’t remember this much talk about “stuff” at Blogher 2008. The lengths people go to to get something free, the rudeness I’m reading about, the bragging about things, cliques, status-envy & the pettiness that comes through the blog accounts of this event…well, let’s just say, it doesn’t reflect very well upon the participants.

    I thought I’d finally go to Blogher 2010 but it sounds like it is less about writing/blogging, ideas, activisim & creativity and more about self-promotion, parties & stupid giveaways of “product”. It sounds like it brings out the worst of human nature, not the best.

  4. Stefanie was saying how much she enjoyed meeting you. You sound like such a sweet woman. I’ve read so many upsetting posts about the behavior of many of the women, but I can tell you were one of the minority that were real and cared more about the people than the free stuff.

    Nell

  5. You are one of the people I was so hoping to meet yet didn’t. I caught sight of you a couple of times but somehow figured there’d be time ‘later’. My own fault, darn it. :(

    This was my first BlogHer too, and I’m still processing the whole thing. But the best part, by far – was meeting so many amazing people, both those I’d already ‘known’ and those I hadn’t. What an awesome experience! :)
    .-= Deb – Mom of 3 Girls´s last blog ..Aloha Friday #92 =-.

  6. Naomi

    I was so happy we managed to meet on the first day and touch base throughout the whole crazy weekend. You are a hugging-babbling-weird-foreigner-dork and that is totally why I adore being around you… I think of myself as the same, albeit not foreign. We were the weird girls in high school and we probably still are but I am totally cool with that!
    .-= Naomi´s last blog ..BlogHer 09 =-.

  7. I was a giant BlogHer don’t. I am so glad I went, but for me it was such a challenge. I felt out of element and had a hard time finding my place amidst all of these amazing bloggers.

    I know I will do things so differently next year. It was a learning experience for me and all I can hope is that I put my best foot forward when I met new people and that I left a good impression of who I am and what I am about.

    In all honesty, I felt like I was reliving many of the discomforts of high school moments, but on a much larger scale and with no sleep and without my precious kiddos who (sometimes) make me feel like a rock star.

    Great post, Katja!!

  8. Katja,
    I wasn’t at Blogher but a lot of the posts & tweets made me kind of glad I wasn’t there. Partying & swag are nice but I’m more of a relationship builder and lifelong learner who would want to be soaking up what ever information I can get. I’m glad my first blog conference will be IZEAFest and I can network, learn and have fun there. I hope you make it to IZEAFest I’d love to meet you in real life.
    .-= Cindy Schultz´s last blog ..Sears CampusReady =-.

  9. You just solidified my love for you. I did all those ten (well, eleven) things myself. I did drink but it was almost always in someplace with my people, not the free drinks from the parties.

    I loved seeing you. You, and your awesome shoes, was one of my highest highlights.
    .-= Mrs. Flinger´s last blog ..I am. =-.

  10. See, this is EXACTLY why I love you. Like you, I didn’t come with swag or a lot of business cards. The people who needed my cards got them, and I spent the majority of my time bonding with people I care about and forging new friendships. There was a lot of “I want to see and be seen” in the room, but thank goodness for people like you, who saw the conference as a way to really connect on a human level. It was SO good seeing you, Katja, and I can’t wait until we meet again!
    .-= Denene@MyBrownBaby´s last blog ..Chi-Town! True Confessions of The Blogrollers’ BlogHer ’09 or Bust Road Trip =-.

  11. And every last one of those reasons is exactly why I absolutely adore you. It was GREAT to be in the moment. Like you, I came without handouts and only a handful of business cards. I gave them to people I wanted to have them. And I made a point of seeing the people I wanted to see, and making lots of new friends, sans the pressure of trying to see and be seen. Cheers to being human and genuine and living in the moment. It was SO good seeing you again in person!
    .-= Denene@MyBrownBaby´s last blog ..Chi-Town! True Confessions of The Blogrollers’ BlogHer ’09 or Bust Road Trip =-.

  12. This is one of the best BlogHer recaps I have read.

    #1. I have some footage of you, will get to you ASAP.
    #2. You’re so cool you don’t need a business card.
    #3-9. Meaning you had fun, yes? And you forgot to mention the wearing of killer outfits including…ahem…a fishnet number.
    #10. No comment
    #11. Amen sister.

    Can’t wait to work with you, my Type-A+ Finnish friend. Maybe you’ll blog in Finnish by accident ?

  13. Katja

    Lisa – missed you and will see you at Type-A Mom Conference!

    Heather – I was being quite sarcastic… and truly have no regrets.

  14. Good post :)

    I did drink. Too much :/ but it worked out :)

    I tweeted too, but definitely less… Was happy when my husband said, “I was surprised… you hardly tweeted at all!” I told him, “I was too busy talking to people!”

    Oh, it was GREAT!

  15. Katja,
    C’mon now…you’re a well-known, much-loved blogger and I think you’re being far too hard on yourself.

    I have never been to BlogHer and am really wondering if I should plan to go next year–if I do, maybe we can strategize about how best to market ourselves AND be fully present in the moment. :)

    Chin up, young person. ;)
    Heather
    .-= Heather Allard´s last blog ..Daily Grommet Product Submission FAQs =-.

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