You are invited to the 7th Annual People's Party at BlogHer!
Are you attending the BlogHer conference in Chicago?
The People's Party is an open-invitation opening party designed with you in mind.
You. The people. Our people.
You are invited! You are always invited.
Thursday, July 25
Chi Bar in the Sheraton lobby
The co-hosts of The People's Party designed this event seven years ago as a night-before-BlogHer ice breaker open to everyone. We were hearing grumblings and fretting over private parties and found it abhorrent. Why would you want to attend something that didn't include your friends? So we rebelled.
I'm the only co-host that can make it to BlogHer this year and we're going to miss Motherbumper, IzzyMom, Oh, the Joys!, and The Bloggess. That means I really really need you to come out and celebrate with me! Let's make this year awesome!
Viva la People!
Seven years later, there are still lots of private parties and, as the BlogHer conference has grown to over 5,000 women writers, the exclusivity of those private parties has become more divisive. So much noise about who was invited, who wasn't, and what kind of free stuff you can hoard. We eliminated swag bags years ago. It was attracting the wrong crowd.
This party is about relaxing the night before with old friends and new friends alike. We are for the tribed and the tribe-less. We are for newcomers and old-timers.
Though our old-timers are less about shaking their gnarled bloggy sticks at the kids in the yard and more about swinging on the porch swing and telling stories about the days before Twitter. ;)
What if it's my first time?
The first time I hosted The People's Party (way back in San Francisco), it was my first time to attend a blog conference. Ever. I saw no reason not to throw a party. If it's your first time, come find me. You can do this.
What if it's not what it used to be?
BlogHer has gotten really big. No, it's not what it used to be. BlogHer has grown into a conference of over 5,000 women writers. While we welcome the opportunities that come with such growth, we also long for a little cozy nostalgia.
The People's Party is smaller this year. Rather than a prime time slot in a ballroom, we're kicking back from 10pm til midnight at the Chi Bar in the lobby at the Sheraton. Sure, BlogHer evolves with each passing year, so we gear down the night before with friends at The People's Party, readying ourselves to gear up for the events to come!
How do you keep from getting overwhelmed?
I make BlogHer what I want it to be and it works every time:
- Attend sessions: Experienced bloggers still have a lot to learn. I design my agenda around sessions that either I can learn from for myself or at which I want to see what new bloggers are being taught.
- Attend official events: I turn down all private party invites that conflict with the official schedule because that's not where the people I want to meet are. I go to BlogHer for BlogHer.
- Be mindful: I refuse to go to something that my friends aren't invited to, as well. All of them. Good luck with that, private parties. Nothing stinks more than a friend asking, "Where are you headed next?" and seeing their face when you mention a party from which they are excluded.
- Take breaks: I am an introvert and become completely overwhelmed from being "on" too long. So I take breaks at a coffee shop or in my room, take a stroll around the hotel, or even just take some deep breaths in the lounge outside the ladies' room.
- Pace yourself: Walking through the crowds can be overwhelming, so I imagine a little bubble around myself. All I have to worry about is what comes inside that bubble. Everyone is welcome in that bubble, by the way, but it only fits maybe 20 people at a time vs 5,000 people.
- Introduce yourself: I don't expect anyone to know who I am. 90% of the people that attend the People's Party have no idea that I host it. I kind of love that. I introduce myself all day long and always return home with new friends.
- Be mindful: At a recent conference, someone noted that I don't spend a lot of time with my friends. Nope, I don't even like being photographed with them too much. No one likes seeing the same three girls together in Instagrams at every event. Last year I introduced myself to someone with a friendly face and ended up spending the entire night with her. It was her first BlogHer and I was able to see it through her eyes. It was awesome.
- Don't let small friend groups get you down: That said, I do hang out with my old friends. There are absolutely groups of friends at BlogHer. So many of us wait all year to see each other, so don't let a close-knit circle make you feel excluded. They are just excited to see each other. If they are smart, they'll branch out. If they aren't, you didn't need those friends.
- Stay positive: Without being outright flippant, I try not to entertain any venting conversations. Everyone's experience is their own. Frustration can be contagious, so if someone is fussing, slip away and continue having a good time. It's cool to have a good time, even if the cool kids seem to suggest otherwise. (psst... those aren't the cool kids. grouches never are.)
Why even go to conferences?
I follow more people on Pinterest than follow me. That's not always the case, but whenever the medium lends to it, I follow and follow to bursting. I fill my feeds with color and wonder.
Conferences are full of color and wonder. My version of social media is not about you noticing me, it's about me noticing you. I crave new faces and perspectives and BlogHer is wonderful for that.
But you have to at least attempt to embrace the full experience. If you go to a conference and don't attend sessions (because you know everything? heard it all?) and only attend private parties (because you are so fancy? because who cares if your friends are left out?) and put a lot of energy into complaining, then I bet it does suck. I don't know why you go.
Go to conferences to grow. Go to conferences to learn. Go to conferences. Almost everything good in my writing life has grown from an interaction I initiated at a conference.
Tell me again, who is invited?
The People's Party is open to everyone with a BlogHer conference or Expo/ Party pass. If that's you, then you are invited. Always.
Will I see you there?
Share this invitation with your friends! Have questions? I have answers so comment away!
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