Instead of telling you, I'll try showing what I learned. See if you can tell whether I picked up any new ideas. Like using sub-headers.
Blissdom bloggers are friendlyEven though I went last year and loved it, I was a little scared to go to Blissdom. You see, last year my friend Jen Lancaster was the Blissdom keynote speaker. If you've ever met Jen, you'll know that to have a good time, all you have to do is follow her around. So I did that. And had a great time.
At this year's Blissdom, I was on my own. But what does that matter when Rachel of A Southern Fairy Tale was the first person to spot me? She steered me to the check-in desk, where I found Linda of Short Pump Preppy and Katie Howard manning the sign-in booth. And then Alli Worthington spotted me and ran down the hall to give me a hug.
Blissdom is like Alli WorthingtonIf you like Alli, you'll love Blissdom. Like her, it's friendly. It's approachable. It's not stuck up. The warmth and humor are almost palpable.
What other conference opens with a video of the founder's toddler crawling all over her and closes with a Sarah Palin routine?
Blissdom touched my cold, black heartThe exhibitors tables included one called Blissdom Loves Anissa, to send messages to Anissa Mayhew, a much-loved blogger who had a stroke last November.
Some of the messages were more imaginative than others:
The Stiletto Mom is always a class act
Blissdom panels were content-richI've been to enough conferences (blogging and academic) to realize that sometimes, big name speakers phone it in. Not at Blissdom. I learned so much, I left the conference with a sink hole where my brain used to be. Luckily, I also left with hand-outs and several pads of notes. (And I hope to post some of them here.)
Blissdom is Attitude-freeIt's just small enough that it's really easy to break the ice. Twice I walked up to an almost-full lunch table and said "Is anyone sitting here?" In both cases, the woman I asked said "You are!"
And that's how I got to sit next to the hilarious, talented, Chicagoan Nap Warden and the amazingly smart, funny, and charming Shelly Kramer.
I also had really wonderful, lengthy conversations with Katie Howard, Geekmommy, and Christina of A Mommy Story. I sat next to Amy Allen Clark of MomAdvice. Not to mention getting to hang out again with Michelle Lamar, Liz Strauss, Stiletto Mom, Kelby Carr, and Vodkamom.
Blissdom is a wonderful getawayDoes it hurt that a Chicagoan is flying south in February? No, it does not. And the Opryland Hotel ... well, I couldn't decide whether it was Disney World without the rides, or Vegas without the slots.
They were amazingly lush. And speaking of lush, you really have to admire the co-branding going on with this restaurant. That is, if you like sour-mash-NOT-Bourbon. And I do.
Swaggate? Not at Blissdom
Five days, dozens of wrap-up posts, hundreds and hundreds of tweets--and the only thing I've read that mentioned swag was Shelly Kramer's shout-out to ConAgra for giving us all a Poken.
A Poken to make networking oh-so-easy. (Discloser: I didn't get one. Pay attention here and notice how I don't whine about human error. Because it was OK--I brought my old-skool business cards. I still think ConAgra rocks for coming up with this brilliant idea.)
And the rest of the swag was FABULOUS. We got lovely sturdy Blissdom Lands End tote bags filled with had great stuff: a darling silver and pearl necklace with "Bliss" on it ... two bags of Hershey's Bliss chocolate (which--just so you know--is delicious) a CoverGirl smoky eye kit, two masks from the Bliss Spa, a coupon wallet from Red Plum, a pair of comfy socks from Hanes, a stainless steel water bottle from One2One ... really nice stuff.
The Tea Party photo ops
And those intimidating A-list bloggers had to listen to me sing "Jambalaya" at Karaoke night. And in this case, I hope there is no blogging conference take-away. Particularly of the video variety.
UPDATE: Photographic proof that this really occurred exists, courtesy of Heather Durdil: