Blog Conference Downtime: What Really Happens

I just adore the Type A Parent Conference. This was my second year attending (but my first year as a speaker!) and it was just rock sockin awesome.

I got to hang with awesome bloggers I’ve met before, meet bloggers I never even knew were out there and hug bloggers who I feel like I’ve known for ages but never really met in person.

Nothing makes you feel more energized as a blogger than being around other bloggers. In person. Face to face.

My roomies were Erin, Andrea and Fadra. Girls I know quite well but it’s nice to know we still like each other after sharing rooms and beds for a few days.

Erin had a grand idea to share what really goes on when we aren’t attending sponsored parties, soaking in sessions and being inspired. So here’s what most bloggers do during conference downtime…

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up!

(If you’d like to see the razzle, dazzle presentation I partly presented at Type A, visit Momcomm.)

The Ubiquitous Post-Conference Love Fest

You knew I’d do it, right?

Last week, I gave away my blog conference virginity to the Type A Parent Conference in Asheville, NC. While I’ve been to conferences and trade shows before, this whole blog conference scene was new to me.

Yesterday I wrote about things I learned outside of the sessions.

Today I’m writing about people.

Even though I was a conference newbie, it didn’t feel new to me. These were mah peeps. My peers. Those who spoke the same bloggy lingo, had the same challenges as a blogger and were eager to learn, turn online friends into IRL ones and meet new friends too.

If you’re looking for the practical knowledge that I learned from Type A, then you’ll have to wait until next week when I’m done with Bloggy B-Card Week on my other blog, Momcomm. I’ll post all that brainy stuff over there after the 4th of July holiday weekend.

If you’re looking for the warm fuzzy part of the conference, well then keep reading.

First, there’s no better way to kick off a time away then with a roadtrip!

I drove the Raleigh crew of @allthingsfadra (aka @socialdialect), @notthecar and @goodgirlgonered over to Asheville. Here we are before we hit the road:

There are so many peeps that I was DYING to meet and lucky for me, I got to. Unfortunately, I went rogue with my camera. For someone who takes a gazillion pictures with my DSLR (me), it’s amazing that 1. I mainly took pictures with my iPhone and 2. that I really didn’t take that many pictures at all. Next time, I vow to snap way more pics.

Here are some of the pictures I managed to take of actual people:

Tina (@lifewithoutpink) was at the top of my “have to meet or I’ll cry” list. So glad we met and hung out.

Alissa (@havestroller) was also on that list. That chick was awesome.

I snagged a picture with @shellthings too after she got a picture of me with pursey.

Nights were da bomb, spending times with awesome peeps like @toddleraudrey, @kellyology and @thehhhousewife.

Dinners were some of my fave parts of the conference, dining with cool girls like @guavalicious@thehhhousewife@kellyology, @mommybknowsbest and @allthingsfadra.

Me and one of my road-tripsters @goodgirlgonered.

My roomie and hometown neighbor @allthingsfadra.

While I couldn’t fit all my new friends in my bag to take home, the four of us carpoolers sure had a lot else to fit into the back of my car.

There were also people I didn’t get pictures of but really loved meeting:

@staceynerdin, @mommywords, @porchswingmom, @oboyorganic@amandapadgett, @bellebeandog@mamadweeb, @mamaofalltrades, @windowseatbooks, @techsavvymama, @gograhamgo, @reallifesarah, @musingsfromme, @superjennblogs, @resourcefulmommy, @amybhole, @honestandtruly, @AliciaMarie112, @angengland, @daniellesmithtv, @jo-lynne, @babypop, @ciaomom, @coloradomom @caitm, @robynsworld, @chilihead, @bywordmusings@mommywantsvodka, @youngmommy, @centsiblelife and a bazillion people I know I didn’t mention.

While I do love the conference learning, I can’t give a Power Point presentation big hugs like I can to my peeps. There are some amazing bloggers out there… and I’m thrilled to have met some of them.

Seven Things I Learned Outside the Sessions at Type A Parent Conference

When a blogger goes to a blog conference, you KNOW you’ll get at least one post about it, right? I went to Asheville, NC last week to attend the fab Type A Parent Conference. It’s a blogging conference about—you guessed it—blogging.

Yes, I’ll be sharing some of the blogging knowledge I soaked up. Stay tuned next week on Momcomm after Bloggy B-Card Week is over.

But this post is about what I learned outside the sessions… about people, about traveling and about myself.

1. The deep relationships don’t happen in the sessions.

Sessions are for learning, catching up with those you already know and casually getting to know some new faces. When you meet someone new in a session, you’ll probably exchange blogger business cards too. But the sessions aren’t where you really get to know other bloggers. That happens in the hallways, at dinner, during the parties, on the patio or in your room as you wind down from the day’s events.

2. My Twitter name might as well be on my birth certificate.

When bloggers introduced themselves at the conference, it was almost always followed up with their Twitter name. Why? Because Twitter is where online blog relationships really happen. It’s where you get to know other bloggers more than anywhere else.

In fact, I often found myself quickly saying “I’m @adventuroo!” after I said my name but I didn’t want to risk the “WHO are you?” look after saying just Melissa Culbertson. I sometimes said “and @momcommblog too” but my other account has more followers so I started there and waited for that blank look. Ha.

If you’re a Twitter noob, you’d better get on it before your next conference. You can read my post about making sense of Twitter and then sign up already, will ya?

3. You can’t always rely on technology.

Okay so this point came up in the sessions but it’s not about the sessions so nanner nanner. The wi-fi at the conference was spotty (to put it nicely) and left some frustrated peeps during a few sessions. But that’s not the only thing you shouldn’t rely on. There may not always be a place to plug in your laptop if the battery starts to die either. Always bring a notepad and pen to a session. I went half old school through most of the sessions, taking handwritten notes but also using my laptop to tweet (since I’m much faster than on my phone). I love writing things down in a notebook for some reason.

Oh and I accidentally ran my finger down my notepad once like I would on my iPhone. Technology lives on, even when I’m going old school.

4. Bring your kids a gift back from the conference.

After you smother them with hugs and kisses, won’t you look like DA BOMB when you whip out cookies, toys and a Wii Monster Truck game with its own steering wheel? Oh maybe that was just me.

Seriously though, bring them a little something. Kids dig it and you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy watching their eyes light up. Even my toddler was excited (cookies are always a hit, for real).

5. Don’t be attached to the same people all the time.

I traveled to the conference for three other Raleigh bloggers. And sure, we hung out some. But I also made it a point to meet new people. As a conference-attending pro, Fadra was my trusty sidekick at times, introducing me to people she already knew from previous conferences. But I definitely wasn’t afraid to just walk up to someone and start the chit-chat.

If you go to dinner with people you already know well, ask a few bloggers you don’t know that well to come along too. And don’t be afraid to join in on a conversation you may be standing next to (depending on the seriousness of the topic of course). I ended up doing that and met new folks right up until the last 5 minutes before I went upstairs on Saturday night.

6. We ALL need a break from our kids.

I’ll be the first to admit that three full days and two half days of traveling was a long time to be away. By no means do I regret it, but I definitely won’t do a long stretch like that often. That being said, I came from with a flutter in my stomach ready to see those munchkins. And this week, preschool is closed and ya know what? I’m not going insane. In fact, I’m more patient and generally just going with the flow more.

You may not need a conference to do that. A date night might do it. Even going solo on a one-hour trip to Target is sometimes enough to re-boot your kidometer. Point is, we all need some time away from the kids.

What I noticed at the conference is that when bloggers talked about their kids I noticed we bragged about them. We showed others their cute pictures. We put the kids on speakerphone so those nearby could hear cute, little voices. We reveled in motherhood. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

7. You can only grow your blog so much without face-to-face interaction.

This one may catch me some flack but hear me out. This doesn’t have to mean flying to a new town and spending hundreds on dollars on a conference. If you can afford at least one conference a year, go for it. But if you can’t? Get local, baby! If you want to work more with brand, start attending local networking events. If you want more followers, get active in playgroups, local mommy events, your preschool, wherever you think your readers might be.

I can tell you this. While I was at Type A last week, this point really hit me. Interacting with people in person will make connecting with them online so much deeper.


There ya have it. My first Type A post that’s hopefully relevant to those who didn’t attend! Stay tuned tomorrow for photos from the conference aka the Love Fest (or feel free to skip it- I won’t cry).

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