So…..almost 2 weeks ago I attended SheCon ’12! I am officially a SheCon “Founder,” meaning I was present at the very first conference, held last year in Miami. When I found out it would be in Orlando in 2012, my first question was “Where do I sign up?!” Because of my work schedule and my need to save up days off (working moms, those personal days you earn each paycheck are more valuable than gold, no?) meant that I couldn’t go to the Friday conference, but Saturday? No problem. Friday night, of course, is when the parties happen. It really kills me to miss the parties because that’s where you really network and get to know other bloggers. You can’t hide anything when you’re Karaoke-ing. Just sayin.’
Aaaaaaanyway…I enjoyed the sessions I attended on Saturday. The first session, on Pinterest and all things Pinning-related was a little bit weird for me, because I don’t quite understand Pinterest. To me, it seems like you’re just copying a whole bunch of other people’s stuff. Now, I am on Pinterest, but I rarely use it. Aliza Sherman is a genius when it comes to Apps like Pinterest. Sometimes I wish I could quit my job and be like these awesome bloggers who can really dedicate time to their niche. Really, all of the speakers were awesome. Another great session was a panel put on by Time to Play, which included an awesome blogger I met a few years ago at Blissdom, Christine Young of From Dates to Diapers. The panel focused on how to work with brands. Since I clearly don’t work with a whole lot of brands, but would like to, it was really great to hear from these bloggers, and an exec from Time to Play, how to put your best foot forward when doing any sort of review for a brand. I also need to give a shout out to their PR girl, who was ADORABLE and SO STYLISH I could barely handle it! A standout break-out session I attended was the discussion about monetizing your blog. The information was valuable, but let’s face it. The main ways to monetize your blog are similar, if not the same, as they have always been. So I’d heard the information before. The connections I made were WAAAAY more valuable than the information! First of all, I ran into my old (by length of friendship, not age!) high school friend, Lindsey of The Zesty Lemon!Yeah! I had no idea she was going to be there! I just turned around and there she was!
I also connected with Jill, one of the panelists at the session. She is fabulous, and we have so much in common. For me, that’s what a conference is about–finding your people.
I’m almost embarrassed to say that I thought about leaving before Miss Lori’s closing keynote. I was starting to feel run-down and began to dread my long drive home. I am so glad I stayed. Miss Lori’s speech was so inspiring! She has come from some pretty serious adversity to become an amazing presence on PBS as Miss Lori (duh) and has launched Miss Lori’s Campus and Musings from my Minivan online. She is doing amazing things for children and their parents, and that makes her a friend of Life After Daycare. Lindsey and I had eaten lunch with her and she cracked us up the entire time. She is just as wonderful off-stage as she is on it. I loved what she said about really owning, becoming, and living your brand. Right now I am struggling with balance, so my brand has to take a backseat. BUT one thing I can do is engage. Her message about engaging everything and everyone in your world really spoke to me. She told us to find as many ways to engage others on as many platforms as we can. Wow. Sometimes I feel like I can’t handle writing and social media anymore because it overwhelms my already-overwhelmed mind. But engaging other people? That, I can do. I left after Miss Lori’s session and didn’t do the scavenger hunt at Downtown Disney. I heard it was really fun, but I was beat!
Overall, SheCon ’12 was a good conference for me. I walked away a little bit disappointed. Like Jennifer, I encountered some other ladies who were not very inclusive. One seemed to even hesitate to give me her business card. Me? I just hand those things out like it’s nothing. “Hey. You want one of my cards? No? Okay here, have one anyway.” You know, part of me really wants this blog, this brand, to grow. But another part of me wants it to stay the same, so I can just “make it rain” with my business cards and talk about liking hard rock with other like-minded individuals. If being a “big blogger” means not paying attention to the “little guys” like me, I’m out. With that being said, there were not many “big bloggers” there. Last year, as poorly attended as it was, this year was worse…and that is a shame. I feel like there was more big-name attention paid to last year’s conference and that none of those people showed up this year. I ran into a few familiar faces, but just a few. I am super grateful to the sponsors and brands who helped out, like Playskool and Real Mom Media, and I really enjoyed connecting with Bona and Produce for Kids (who supplied me with lots of bananas and apples to snack on during sessions!). But the list of sponsors on the website, or at least the graphic representing the sponsors was much more extensive. I was looking forward to re-connecting with some people I had met last year, both brand representatives and bloggers…and I just didn’t. What should have been a really intimate, exciting conference was still great for me, but was missing some key connecting moments. There were also some vague references to the conference coming together at the last minute because of people who stepped in to help. With that being said, I want to make it clear that I will continue to support this conference, and would like to throw it out there that I will help in any way possible for next year and the years to come! I think SheCon has great potential and no matter what, I WILL have fun because that’s just the kind of person I am. I just wish some of my fellow “Founders” felt the same loyalty I feel to the Little Conference that Absolutely Can and Will Rock.
SheCon, I believe in you!