I feel like Im still taking in all aspects of Blissdom. My emotions are still on high and my brain is still processing the event. I am still soaking it all in and not letting my emotions get the best of me. I had an amazing time and met some great people but I was slightly disappointed with some things at Blissdom. There were alot of things that I didnt expect and some that even shocked me. But I dont want to put out only the negative things for a few reasons:
I like to always see the positive in things
I NEVER EVER want to hurt anyones feelings
People put ALOT of work into the conference
I had fun
I met some amazing people
I got free stuff
I had a great weekend away
There is always a good or postive thing that comes out of any situation. I took away many great things but its overshadowed by a few negative things. Things no one tells you about Blissdom.
People are clique-y
This surprised me the most. People had their own cliques and stuck pretty close to them. Blissdom encouraged connecting but not many people went out of their way to make new friends. Myself included. I am an outgoing person – until you put me in a room of 800 other women. A lot of us tended to stick to our group of people we already knew and didn’t venture outside our bubbles. What I didnt expect was when I sat at a table of new people to be looked up and down and instantly judged. I sat at a few tables where no one talked to me. I got a few dirty looks from other people when I laughed with my group of friends during a presentation. Ooops. [Ps.. not saying my group was clique-y. We were very friendly to all.]
You don’t have to go to the classes
I made more contacts outside of the sessions then I did at those round tables. I ran into more people who genuinely wanted to connect then inside the conference center. Some of the classes I honestly I had no interest in attending but felt obligated. I skipped a class and ran into some girls who I instantly connected with. Connecting was far more valuable then that particular session.
It didn’t teach much about blogging
This sounds silly to say but its true. The sessions were more motivational then educational. You had to have a decent knowledge of blogging to understand the context of some of the sessions. It was very inspiring but didn’t teach you much in the means of blogging. This seemed to upset people the most about the conference. At first I was upset too, but I know that I learned other things and made some great connections in the process.
You need extra luggage for swag
Swag is free stuff that sponsors hand out. There were some amazing sponsors at Blissdom and they loved giving away their products. I loved taking their products because they were things I used everyday. Gain? Check. Vo5 shampoo and products? Check. Pedicare? Check. Extra bag? No check. I had to buy a bag to get all my goodies home. Lame-o? Check.
Blissdom gives you baby fever
There were a dozen or so mommas that brought their babies with them to the conference. And I loved it! My ovaries did not. They kept telling me to say things like ‘I want a baby to bring to Blissdom!’ ‘What sling is that? I need it for my next one!’ ‘Im not even pregnant or trying but I keep thinking of names!’ What?! I might as well name my next baby Blissdom. [That’s Emily from Sweet Bella Roos baby girl!]
Pictures can be deceiving
I met a ton of people, some that I only talked to for a few seconds and some that I had in depth conversations with. I took pictures with a few people but only the ones that I connected with. I didn’t walk up to people and just ask to take a picture. Why? Well it felt fake to me to say ‘OMG I love your blog!’ when I didnt even read it just to have a picture with huge blogger x. So yes, you may have seen a ton of pictures but how many of those people made true connections? A picture is worth a thousand words, unless its a lie. [That’s Jamie from C.R.A.F.T. Squeal! She’s so genuine and this picture does not belong in the deceiving category.]
I had an amazing time at Blissdom. I honestly truly did. I just want to make sure that if you are considering going next year that you know what I didn’t. If you are considering a blog conference where you can meet the best sponsors and be inspired – Blissdom is right for you.
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Jaime from CRAFT was awesome. Why didn’t we get a picture together?
Because you were probably busy trying to push pencils on people. Just sayin’.
Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson says
I didn’t find BlissDom cliquey at all – and I didn’t know anyone except for the women I was rooming with. And I didn’t even really know them! They were women I have blogging relationships with. Yes, they were my home base, but we didn’t stick together during the day. We checked in with each other at night.
I think MANY women were from Texas, and they came with their friends and their home court advantage. THAT may have been what seemed clique-ish.
That said, I’m glad you found something positive to come away with from the conference. I am a writer, and a lot of the classes seemed positively remedial to me. Like you, I initially felt obligated to sit through them. Eventually, I stopped going, and I met so many more interesting people who were also “skipping class.”
If you’d like to check out my post, it’s up now, too.
PS: How did you NOT know to bring an extra bag for all the swag? It’s about the only thing I did know! In the end, I was very selective about what I took, and I didn’t need my extra suitcase at all! 😉
Im from Texas and I had a few friends there but not many. Looking back it might just have been people hanging out with friends and not so ‘clique-y’ but its scary to walk up to a group of women chatting and introduce yourself. No one (including myself) went out of their way to meet each other it seemed like. Skipping the classes was the best part of the conference. I made such great connections during those times. And Im dumb for not bringing an extra bag. Oh well! Live and learn, right?
Jenn @ Party of One says
Hey Kelley! I loved reading your perspective on things! I haven’t read a lot of the “middle of the road” type posts yet, but, I appreciated how your posts gave the pros and cons. I also appreciate all the information you shared- it’s all things that I’ll be glad that I knew when/if I look into going. I think the thing (that I’ve heard numerous places now!) that surprised me the most was the lack of learning & that the focus was more motivational than educational. I think that if I’m spending that much money- I want to be TAUGHT! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts 🙂
Thats how I felt too – I shelling out money to improve my blog. And I didnt get that. Did I make good friends? Yes! Connect with brands? Absolutely! Learn much? Not really.
Casey-moosh in indy. (@mooshinindy) says
This was my seventh (AH!) BlissDom, I’m kind of an old lady when it comes to this conference thing. It is TERRIFYING for me to go up to a group of people I don’t know. Sometimes (often) I am snubbed while other times I am welcomed, I still can’t figure it all out but at least I try?
Part of my problem is that I am friends with so many of these people and conferences are the one or two times a year I get to see them face to face, I have to consciously remind myself to break away from who I know best and meet new people. I hope that is never seen as a clique, just friends catching up.
I agree on the inspirational vs. practical takeaway…there’s so much behind this and it was kind of an awkward switch given the location change and having SO MANY new and lovely faces. The new people are what made the conference for me this year, your excitement and happiness was contagious to us cantankerous old timers. 🙂
Seven?! You are a Blissdom rockstar for sure! And I get what you are saying about not seeing people often. I hung around my friends too. Looking back it was probably the same with other people. It is just terrifying to go up to a group of established friends. And were you the pretty lady that took our picture at the girls night out event? In the lace dress? You were super sweet! Not an old timer at all! 🙂
Girl, you are always SO HONEST and I LOVE THAT ABOUT YOU! Glad you got some swag and met some sweet peeps! 🙂
Thanks Heather! It was a good time and Id go again. Just wasnt sure what to expect the first time. 🙂
I wish there was something like this held in Perth, I would really like to connect with fellow bloggers and learn from them. I like that you are honest and told the other side of things nothing is ever perfect. Im with you I would probably have stayed in my group and been a bit shy to approach people I didnt know. Some popular bloggers are like celebrities arent they, you get a bit celeb shy 😀
Kate, aka guavalicious says
I thought it was super cliquey too! I was really surprised by that. Was totally the opposite of everything I had heard about Blissdom.
Same here! But I had fun and made some good friends. 🙂
Hi Kelley! Thank you for being honest about your trip to Blissdom. Last year, I attended Haven and I didn’t know a soul. That one is a bit smaller and I was still overwhelmed. I felt their sessions were very good! About all things under the sun! I’m definitely attending this year as well. I met some very good friends and we still keep in touch. I was “enlightened” by some of the bigger bloggers, and not in a good way. Some of them, I refuse to read anymore…. You might want to check it out.
I’ve heard really great things about Haven! Ill have to look into that one for next year! Did you do a post on it? Id love to read it! 🙂
Sara at Saving For Someday says
Kelley, from one of the photos posted it looks like you came to my session. Thank you! Honestly and truly, thank you. I know it’s not inspirational and motivational, probably just the opposite, but I hope it was helpful.
There’s a lot going on at BlissDom. This being my 4th BlissDom (and probably 10th blogging conference), I thought I had this down. But I don’t. Like Casey, this is one of the few opportunities I have to see my online friends in real life. But at the same time, the reason they are my friends is because at one point I put myself out there. I feel like I should buy booth space so people will come by and I can meet them.
Sorry we didn’t get an opportunity to meet, but, again, thank you for choosing my session. And as I said, if you left feeling overwhelmed by my session let me know. That’s not why I speak at BlissDom. I speak so I can empower women to be more awesome than they already are.
Hey Sara! I did attend your session! It was absolutely fabulous. I learned so much. I think Im going to do a post on the things I learned. Looking back (its been two weeks almost!) I did the same thing. I stayed with my group that I knew and didnt venture out much. I did make a few really great friends though, and for that Im greatful! We are online people so its hard to put ourselves out there sometimes.
Ps.. Im stalking you on Twitter and Instagram now! 😉
I think you did a great job sharing a balanced recap. No conference is perfect and I think our goals going in make a huge difference. I went with inspiration and networking in mind. Now, I did hang with some people I was more familiar with for some of the time, but I also met a few new people and wondered around without others too. I wasn’t great on approaching others, but was happy to talk to anyone who was nearby or came up to me.
Thanks Darcy! Overall it was a great experience. I really hope I didnt come as a too negative. It was great to meet you though! And you’re little guy!!