BlogHer ’12: Built-In Blog Fodder

L to R: Misty’s Laws, Accidental Stepmom, Thoughts Appear and Go Jules Go.

Right now I’m imagining all of you charming little chipmunks scurrying around, cursing the copy machine, looking for your red staplers and hating The Man.

Meanwhile, I’m kicking off my first two-week vacation in a thousand years. Instead of doing this yesterday and scheduling it to publish at 6am EST today, I decided to write this post when I got up and see what happens.

Wow. I feel so daring.

In case you missed my fancy sidebar widget and my last post: I attended my first blogging conference, BlogHer ’12, on Saturday. I left bright and early to take the train from New Jersey into Manhattan, armed with ‘stache glasses and a lightness of heart only vacation time can bring. By 7am, it was already as hot as Hades, so I went to that special place in my mind. You know the place – it’s normally reserved for Second Husband and talking animals.

The ONLY way to make JM any more awesome is with ‘stache glasses.

I was more excited than nervous. I’d met JM from Accidental Stepmom twice before, but was meeting Thoughtsy from Thoughts Appear and Misty from Misty’s Laws for the first time. Of course I worried I wouldn’t match up to their expectations (and maaaaybe stressed about all of the unflattering pictures they’d take and post on their blogs), but we’d

Misty gives THE coolest gifts (that’s a phone case!). Even if they make you feel old.

already established a bond online, and had the bloggy business in common.

At the Hilton, I registered and waited for Misty and JM to find me. Misty is anonymous on her blog, so I had no idea what to look for. A purple-clad vision of loveliness suddenly accosted me. Thank gawd for Misty.

Thoughtsy makes me think happy thoughtsies.

She’d been there since Wednesday night and knew all the ins and outs. There were several sessions throughout the day, in different ‘break out’ conference rooms, as well as tons of expo centers where you could stock up on free swag.

After the gorgeous and altogether badass, JM, showed up, Misty said we should

skedattle to make sure we got seats in our lectures of choice. We split up and I went to a session on ‘branding your blog.’ Thoughtsy joined me there, and let me tell you she’s one sweet li’l chipmunk. First of all, she gave me these:

The eyebrows and mustache MOVE. Did you hear me? They MOVE.

And THEN she gave me this:

It’s like people think I drink a lot or something.

I love you, Thoughtsy. Look how happy we are (we’re even happier later. In the bar):

I didn’t learn anything new in the lecture, except that I really need to start a Go Jules Go Facebook account. Apparently Facebook is the number one way bloggers get traffic and buzz. The other advice will probably sound familiar to you, too:

  • Be consistent both in voice and lay-out
  • Use the same name across all social media sites (if only that Mexican dude would give up his @gojulesgo Twitter handle! Por favor?). In other words, make it easy for people to find you
  • Keep your design/lay-out simple and fresh (no colored font on black backgrounds, I’m afraid, and no music playing!)
  • Post regularly
  • Don’t be self-depricating; believe people want to read what you have to say
  • You don’t have to be serious to take your blog seriously (ah, that advice sounds familiar…)

The second lecture I attended was about when to spend money marketing your blog. The advice can be boiled down to:

  • Consider your time as money
  • When you find yourself spending more hours on marketing your blog than you can ‘afford’ to, it might be time to invest in someone to help you (if you don’t think you market, remember that every time you read and comment on another blog, you’re advertising yourself)
  • If you’re on a self-hosted platform (like WordPress.org), hire a web designer (it sounds like it’s a few hundred bucks)

After that it was time for lunch and guest speaker, Katie Couric. Katie defies the laws of nature; she is ageless. We were all the way in the back, so I didn’t hear much, but got to meet some other wonderful bloggers at our table (this is where the business cards came in handy!).

Thoughtsy, JM, Misty and I weren’t really interested in the next panel of ‘celebrity’ speakers, so we loaded up on swag instead.

This was my favorite swag piece. Uncle Jesse immediately claimed it as his own:

My favorite part of the day was hitting the hotel bar to chat (why do you assume I suggested this? Well… you’re right). We plopped down in a circle of comfy chairs around a low table; it was mellow and quiet – the perfect atmosphere for caring and sharing.

This was exactly why I came to BlogHer; not to network or take frantic notes, but to meet JM, Thoughtsy, Misty and a few of their bloggy friends. It was divine.

That’s a Long Island Iced Tea smile.

JM and Thoughtsy had to leave in the early evening, so I crashed a sushi dinner with Misty and the beautiful and hilarious Johi of Confessions of a Cornfed Girl. It was the perfect end to an altogether satisfying outing.

I am going to dream about this sushi.

In fact, I even saw Michelle Williams on the walk back to the train station! We made eye contact and I should have said hello. We have history.

And now, as promised, I’m about to stalk the shiz out of you and your blogs. I love you. (I really do. Well, some of you. Some of you I just like a lot and we’re not there yet. But I bet we’ll get there if you compliment me enough.)

P.S. – I apologize on behalf of both NJ and NY to any out-of-towners visiting lately. Yes, it really IS this humid and NO, you are not inside someone’s mouth.

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141 responses to “BlogHer ’12: Built-In Blog Fodder

  1. Looks like you guys had a super awesome time!! Enjoy the vaca :)

  2. Enjoy your vacation! I also love the photobomber in the first photo. :)

  3. You crossed the blog world and real world and we’re all still standing? I guess my fears of the world imploding were just unfounded! Looks like great fun though, especially with cocktails.

    Not so sure on the self-depricating advice? I’m conditioned to it , I know no other way :-(

    • LOL I know, Joe. There were definitely moments where I feared entering some sort of wormhole.

      And I totally agree – self-depricating humor has a place in the bloggy world. And in some of the best comedy! I think it’s just a matter of balance, believing your blog has value even if you’re poking fun of yourself on it. I do see a lot of bloggers undervalue their voices.

  4. Sounds like you had a fabulous time, Jules! Now, you’ve got me thinking about attending BlogHer ’13. =)

  5. Such a fun bloggher recap . The Squirrel is kinda freaking me out. Meeting friends is my favorite think to do at blogher, so glad you had a great time.

    • Thanks so much, Sherry! It’s hard to write a comedic post when you want to report the facts. The awesome facts. :)

      Oh and the Chipmunk head in the ‘stache glasses is kind of alarming, isn’t it? Alarmingly COOL! ;)

  6. How is it that I am sick jealous of all the fun I am watching at a conference that I had never heard of six months ago? Maybe, next year, I will join you. At. The. Bar.

  7. Oh my god, I look like the saddest chipmunk ever in that first pic!! Yikes! I really was smiling with my own Jules provided stache glasses, though!! Promise. They, and YOU, are awesome!! :)

    I can’t believe you saw Michelle Williams right after you left us!! Dang. It’s funny because the day before, Johi and I had been talking about how great she looks now and what great style she has. I totally forgot about your connection at that point.

    It was just the best meeting you!! You are as lovely as I imagined you would be, both in looks AND in your warm personality. Hanging out in the bar and at dinner was one of the highlights of my trip!! :D

    • LOL Would it make you feel any better to know that that’s chipmunk life coach Zest’s head? But she is totally not doing you justice. You ROCKED those ‘stache glasses! I think JM almost stole them from you.

      I couldn’t agree more – hanging out at the bar and dinner was just the complete and total highlight. You were so fun and welcoming that I immediately felt at ease, which is a complete credit to your awesomeness, because (psst) I’m kind of a nervous Nellie!

      And Michelle did look FAB – doh, why didn’t I say something?!?!

  8. I remember August in NY. Wanting to take a second shower as soon as you step out of your first one. But it sounds like you had fun. Do they have a BlogHim Convention? Or maybe I could crash BlogHer next year. Dress up as a woman.

  9. So jealous! Arggh! Head desk! Can you go to Chicago next year? Please please please? We can share a room!

  10. Glad you had a good time! Must be so cool meeting other bloggers. I’d be all like, “Wow, you really DO exist outside my computer screen, how cool!” Cuz I’m lame. Anyway, have an awesome vacay!

  11. First of all, thank you for saying you love me: “I’m about to stalk the shiz out of you and your blogs. I love you. (I really do. Well, some of you…”
    I so appreciate that!

    Thirdly, looks like a great time was had by all. I’m sorry Misty was incognito, though, but her Chipmunk face looks pretty happy.

    And thusly, I hope you’re vacation is invigorating and that you get to do everything you’ve been hoping to do during your break. Enjoy, my friend.

    • I’ll say it again my friend – who DOESN’T love MJ Monaghan!? We definitely need to get some sort of unisex bloggy party set up.

      First on my To Do list for this vacay, I think, is: STOP SWEATING. Ug. I feel like I’m never going to blog in pants again.

      • It’s funny, Jules, it’s supposed to hit possibly mid-80′s here on the coast of Southern California this week, and people are talking about how hot it’s gonna be. They have no idea what it’s like in the midwest, back east, or in Arizona, apparently.

  12. You just saved me a lot of money! (Or maybe a little money – I don’t know how much the conference cost.) I have friends in marketing, which is what I tend to think conferences are about, and I suspect they get paid a lot more than I do to say a lot less. To anyone who is offended by that comment, I didn’t mean YOU. So the next time you want to summarize hundreds (or maybe tens) of dollars worth of blogging advice, I say, “Go, Jules, Go!”

  13. ashleypatterson21

    I wish they had these in Dubaiiii :(

  14. Where can one procure a Hot Pocket doll because that is the greatest thing in the world. I have a special place in my heart for Hot Pockets even though I have never actually eaten one. I need to attend a blogging conference for the swag alone.

    • I was so close to putting that Jim Gaffigan bit in this post. I was just standing there at the Hot Pockets booth, filling out their survey ironically, and singing, “Hoooot Pockets!”

      • Oh god, I LOVE that bit he does! (and I used to live on Hot Pockets back in the day…)

        • D-Pants, they also gave me coupons for two free boxes! I think they might be my GUILTIEST pleasure (whoa). They’re so gross and so delicious and NO ONE can deny the magical powers of that crisping sleeve.

          I may have asked the survey-taker why, under, ‘What is most important to you about Hot Pockets?’ they didn’t include an option that said, “Meltiness of cheese[-like product].” I mean c’mon.

  15. I couldn’t believe there was an entire bottle of Lysol in that bag. Now that I’m sharing a bathroom with 2 little boys, that cleaner was especially exciting.

  16. This sounds like such a good time Jules!! I like the way you summarized the fine points of advice–I feel like I got the perfect Cliff Notes version of the Conference, and I got to hang out and perform crazy running stunts here in hot, humid VA (giggle).
    Yep–Facebook is where it’s happening!! If you need help with that (and you don’t because your blog so totally rocks it out, as do you) so if you want help, please give me a shout.

    • Thanks so much, El! Though I’m saddened to hear your birthday weekend included running stunts in this toilet bowl they call ‘the weather.’

      You are going to be sorry you offered – you are the Facebook QUEEN!!

  17. I’m glad you guys had a good time! You all made those stach glasses look good!

    I’d love to go to a blog conference, but my big fear is that I’d say to someone, “It’s so great to finally meet you in person!” And they’d say, “I’m sorry, but who ARE you?” I feel like I know so many people, through their blogs or through their comments on other blogs I follow. I’m convinced I’d be like the geek coming up to the popular kid’s table in the lunch room.

    • Thank you so much! And are you kidding? I LOVE seeing you here and over on B-Man’s blog. If I got to meet you at a blogging conference, I would flip! We could color and drink together and it would be the shiz.

      BlogHer ’13 is already scheduled for July in Chicago! HINT HINT.

  18. I am picking myself out of the huge puddle of jealousy I’ve been wallowing around in to say – it sounds fab, Jules! What a great bunch of bloggers you got to hang with. Are you so glad you went? Thanks for reporting back on the fun as well as the serious stuff.

  19. Ha ha – the FIRST thing I saw was the baking soda and I thought “what the…?”

    • Ha! I realized after I took that picture that it does look like a box of lame baking soda, when in fact it’s one of my favorite swag pieces: teeth whitening strips! That shiz ain’t cheap.

  20. There’s a blogging conference? I learn something new everyday. I would LOVE to go to one of those.

  21. Why thank you! She did manage to catch my best side, I think…….the furry one.

    But I concur. Jules is definitely one hot mamma. And she knows how to rock some stache glasses, that’s for sure!

  22. This sounds like it was a fantastic experience.

  23. Chipmunk merchandise required very soon, I want to buy please, thank you, please, thank you :-) x

  24. Wow! I am so happy you guys had such a fabulous time! (jealous) And that you all got together for drinks! (soooo not fair) And you’re all very hot (blah blah blah) and look so happy! (Grrrr!) Oh, and would you look at all the free swaggy stuff you got, too! (I would kill for the Hot Pocket doll) I’m not jealous in the slightest. Nope. Not a bit. Y’know, I would have paid you big bucks if you were to approach Katie Couric and asked her to wear your stache glasses for a photo op.

    • I feel like I could have actually gotten Katie to do that, because she seems rational like that. I mean, that she wouldn’t deny the power of the ‘stache glasses. (BTW I almost convinced B Man that Katie told me how awesome my blog was. I really could have gone all the way with that lie, but I always chicken out.)

      If I don’t meet you within the next year, my life will feel meaningless. Just saying.

  25. Sounds like you ladies had an absolute blast! Love the photos, the glasses, all of it – so fun!
    Meanwhile, the rest of us are having a case of the Mondays…. ;)

  26. Looks like a fun time! Sounds like you learned more outside of class with your blogging buddies!

  27. So much fun! I’ll definitely think about going next time Blogher – or any big blogging conference – is so close.

    Funny – I had been wondering if it was time to make a Facebook page for As a Linguist. I’m always behind the times on The Thing To Do ;)

    Enjoy the vacation!

    • Oooh I hope you do, Leonore! And regardless, you and I can meet up anytime! I WOULD love to go to a ‘unisex’ blogging conference and convince all the bloggy menfolk to go, too. (Oh, who am I kidding? I’m going to try to convince them to come to BlogHer ’13, too! LOL)

      I tried creating a Go Guilty Pleasures FB account a while back, but I just wasn’t keeping up with it. I know I need to commit to it, but I just love living in bloggy land, and don’t like going to ‘other’ sites. I’m in a constant state of panic already, with not enough hours in the day!

  28. Chicago? I so can make that happen. It’s only one flight from Calgary! (Or Winnipeg, where my parents can watch my kids). Oh!

  29. I heard Katie was totally talking you up. I’d send her some stache glasses if i were you.

  30. So…wait !…what? I need to change my Facebook to my blog identity? What about all my dopey friends from junior high school who only know me by my given name? Can I have two Facebook identities?!? Will that leave any time whatsoever for blogging? That’s a lot of Farmville, Castleville, Word with Friends and Mafia wars. I’m confused.

    • LOL Dave, I had the same question(s)! Accidental Stepmom and I talked about it; a lot of our blog buds (including her) have FB ‘writer’ pages – sort of like a business account. So it’s separate from your personal page.

      I’m crap at maintaining all of these different things on top of blogging and working full-time, but I understand how critical it is if bloggers want to increase traffic. Le sigh. Will bite the bullet soon!

      • I used to pine forthe days when I could hope to someday reach a higher number of hits, now that I do, I pine for more…I’m relatively sure that no number of hits will satisfy me. Plus, there’s something about getting hundreds of hits on a post and 7 “likes”…either the hit total is irrelevant, or the “like” total is.

      • I read about that too. I don’t understand how a facebook page with your blog name would increase your blog traffic. Then again, I am pretty clueless about the whole thing.

  31. Okay, I can do Chicago…next summer – I’m pretty sure. I hope to be in Michigan already, so just a skip over that way, with a jog over this way….but I think we should do something yet this fall…all this talk of lobster rolls has me drooling. Oh, wait. That’s the drugs.

    • Katy! How are you doing?? And what’s the expiration date on those drugs? Will they make it until Chicago so you can share? ;)

      I think Chicago BlogHer has just gone from epic to ‘I need to lie down this is so overwhelmingly awesome’

      OOH! Lust contest! I think the finalists are up. Well, that contest is an open and shut case thanks to a certain contestant who shall remain nameless but likes to miss deadlines…

  32. Could you be any cuter? It looks like blogging conferences and bloggy friends agree with you (I’m sure the Long Island iced tea didn’t hurt either).

  33. Wow, it looks like you had such an amazing time!! :)

  34. It was so great meeting you! You are absolutely fabulous and that sushi dinner was divine.

    • Johi! You are divinity personified. I can’t wait to stalk the poo out of you and your blog. You are one funny, gorgeous lady.

      And I really am sorry about the weather.

  35. Looks like tons of fun!! :)

  36. Thanks for sharing! Love the funny photos and the advice :-)

  37. Jules, hiya! I’m glad you had a blast Jules and I can only imagine the feeling of finally meeting your BBF (Best Blogger Friends);-) And thanks for sharing this wonderful blogging tips,they’re very helpful to a beginner like me.

    • AJ’s Mom! Can you imagine if we got together? Maybe we could soak jelly beans in vodka and see what happens?

      It was my pleasure! I’m so glad you found it helpful! :)

      • Jules, you make me laugh! Isn’t there a jelly bean-flavoured vodka? Or is this wishful thinking? Oh, a jelly beans cocktail! hahah oh my, you’re giving me lots of ideas. I, too, have been trying to have one username across all social network I have, but apparently I am not the only sweetjellybean or AJ’s Mom. Bummer.

  38. May I say that I think you are just lovely.

  39. My Byronic Man Facebook account has yielded pretty tepid results so far. Maybe it’s because I suck at updating it… that could be a factor.

    • That’s the problem I had with my Go Guilty Pleasures one (and why I deleted it when I changed my name – they wouldn’t let me change the FB name anyway). The bloggers I see use FB successfully are on there ALL the time. I just… I just… I’m tired, B. I’m so tired. LOL

      • That’s my attitude. I barely maintain my personal FB account now for my 60 real-life friends (who aren’t real friends anyway – just rehookups from junior high). What’s a blogger to do?

  40. That’s so funny – I just switched the FB link on my blog from the skippingstones page to my personal account. I had that stupid page up for a while, with 13 whole likes, and next to nothing posted on it. FB doesn’t update everyone who “likes” you when you post to your page, anyway.

    I figure, “screw it”. There is only so much time in the day, and I barely post on my personal FB timeline. I’ll never be a FB queen, and that’s okay. I’m not going to push myself to be something I’m not good at, just because all the “experts” tell me those are the things I “need” to do.

    • I hear you! I love being immersed in the wonderful blogging community, but I DON’T like the constant wall post/Twitter stream thing. It gives me agita. I still feel like – if you want to contact me with something time sensitive, call, email or text me! And knowing what everyone is doing/thinking all the time?? Really? REALLY? How do I know more about you than your mother does? Besides, I’m too busy coloring…and drinking. LOL

      • Yeah, I go through stages where I’m looking at the Twitter feed through my phone many times throughout the day. Other times, I forget about it for a week. And there is some big over-sharing going on out there, you are right! I saw a tweet today that said he could finally poop again. Thanks for letting me know!

        It’s funny that you said call, email or text! Really, we weren’t able to do those things – I mean in an instant access to most people way – even 10 years ago. I love that my calls, emails and texts come right to my hand on my phone. Except when I don’t ;)

        I saw “9 to 5″ yest. and the desks looked empty. Then I realized there were no computers. Other old movies would be so different today, because we’d think, “why don’t you just call them on your cell?” I was watching season one of Charlie’s Angels, and just everything – they had car phones (that had a regular, old rotary style receiver), but they had to ask for a “mobile operator”. They used walkie-talkies. And so, so many pay phones! I haven’t seen a real pay phone in years. Okay, I’ll stop talking now.

  41. Why does that Facebook advice sound so familiar? Hmmm. Thinking hard here . . .

    0:)

    • LOL Deb, I knowwww. You and Leanne and El and Renee are my heroes. I just find myself on WordPress and in my inbox instead of on FB?! I feel split in a million pieces between those two, Twitter and FB. I like being in a central place, but it doesn’t seem possible.

  42. Looks like you had a great time! Thanks for the play-by-play–it’s very cool of you to pick out the good advice and share it with us. I am gearing up to launch a fb account after getting so many emails asking, “are you on fb and twitter?” No, no I am not. Le sigh, it’s time to bite the bullet.

    Can I just say that I’m psyched that you’ve got two whole weeks off. Enjoy yourself and log off of the computer!!! ;)

    • I should qualify that: I’m not a crochety old technophobe, I am on fb, my blog is not :)

      • Thanks, Rian! I can’t wait to check out what I’ve missed on your blog over the past week. I’ve missed you and your truth and your cake! Robin Williams was on Louis CK this past week and I thought of you!

        Oooh, keep me posted on your FB/Twitter experience. I am @JulieDavidoski on Twitter, which I know is probably bad since I’m Go Jules Go here, but someone already has @gojulesgo. So I’m not sure if FB should be “Jules Davidoski” or “Go Jules Go.” I’m thinking the latter?

        I am going to take a quasi-computer break this weekend, actually – we’re going away for my 4-year wedding anniversary! :)

  43. Sounds like fun. Mostly the lobby bar part, but fun nonetheless. Also, free swag is my favourite thing ever.

    • It really was, Nancy! You would have DIED if you saw the free swag opportunities. I’ve never seen anything like it. There were MULTIPLE ‘expo centers’ set up!

  44. I’m so jealous! Part of me wants to be happy that you were off having fun without me with Katie, Barack, Misty, Thoughtsy, Soledad and JM but part of me feels bitter that any of this fun could ever take place without me. Oh, wait. I threw up once after a dangerous sake-sushi combo. So perhaps you all were better off without me on around.

    I am taking notes here. So a blog Facebook page is a necessity? Didn’t you have one and got rid of it? Tell me more.

    • You should see how many times I’ve told people if you’re not coming to the next blog party I’m not even going to bother.

      Chicago. July 2013. Be there or be square. I’ll even hold the sushi-sake puke bucket.

      I DID delete my GoGuiltyPleasures FB account (dang you’re good)! They wouldn’t let me change the name and I wasn’t keeping up with it. I was hoping I could get by without a blog FB, but it’s not looking like it…

  45. I just laughed out loud (yes, a REAL LOL) at the last line about not being in someone’s mouth. You’re too funny.

    Loved your recap. I was whining that I couldn’t go so now I’ve been keeping up people’s posts. Sounds like most people love the networking more than anything at the actual conference. Makes sense! Social media IS social.

  46. I hate humidity too :( yuck – but it still sounds like you are having a fantastic time! Thanks for the tips, now I feel more wonderful than lazy for using my blog name on twitter and flickr ;) but facebook? Boo… I mean I know it’s popular and everything but I’m so lazy at my personal one I can’t imagine having a second one for my blog. I guess I just got really disenchanted with it but couldn’t bring myself to delete it because of that whole “it’s so easy to contact every one on there” so I just didn’t log in for almost 2 months, now I’m getting better at checking in but I have like no content on there and I basically just use it to post updates of my blog which I do via twitter to facebook anyways ;) and to check up on people, it’s nice to be able to say happy birthday to your aunts, which I did today <3

  47. Pingback: BlogHer 2012 Came and Went « Thoughts Appear's Blog

  48. Hey Jules, I have heard really good things about YOU and your blog and just stopped in today to see how you enjoyed the BlogHer Conference and it appears that you had a blast and met a lot of great people! I love Thoughtsy too and I designed her blog cards for her for the conference. Wish I could have joined in all the fun and I am going to subscribe to your blog today so I can follow along with you & become one of your new BBF’s! Have a great day! Valerie from http://www.nikitaland.wordpress.com

  49. Oh Jules, thank you for sharing this so much. I have been trying to understand the blogging world for a while and you just make it make more sense. I guess you just make all of this look so simple.

    Thanks again for sharing, I will definately be checking back!!!

    xoxo
    marla

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