I’ve been very fortunate to attend several blog conferences this year. One of my favorites was Bloggy Boot Camp in Phoenix in May. By the time I returned from BlogHer ’10 in New York in August, I decided that I had exhausted my conference fun budget for the year. But then I heard that SITS was holding a Bloggy Boot Camp in St. George. I started crunching numbers, and didn’t see a way I could swing the cost in our budget. I entered every giveaway I heard of on other blogs for the chance to go, but no luck on winning a ticket.
Last Tuesday, I was tweeting around to see if any Bloggy Boot Camp “pity parties” were being held (a fun event for bloggers that couldn’t attend had been rumored, but never confirmed). I didn’t hear anything back. On Wednesday, I got a text from a friend saying if I wanted to go, she could make it happen. I was madly arranging rides, sleeping quarters, and someone to watch the kiddo.
Friday morning was a bit crazy. I had to wake up at 4am to drive Taylor to the airport, then wait around three hours for a job interview. I got ready at my parents house, had my interview, then ran home to pack. Soon after, I was on the road to St. George with a bunch of awesome bloggers, @twitadrian, @imtopsyturvy, and @craftymomcooks. The next 4 hours were spent chatting, snacking, and posting #DirtyUtah tweets.
I’m not sure if it was the conference itself, or just getting away with awesome people for a few days, but Bloggy Boot Camp was exactly what I needed for my soul. Here are 10 reasons why Bloggy Boot Camp rocked.
1. Blogger’s Night Out: Friday night a dinner party was hosted at the Pasta Factory, where we played a fun game. Everyone brought a gift bag with something representative of their blog. After some massive swapping, bargaining, tweeting and flirting with the only male in the room, I scored the grand prize!
2. Hawaiian Karaoke: After the dinner Friday night, we went to Honolulu Grill for karaoke. It’s the only karaoke spot in town, and it’s in a Hawaiian take-out joint. But let me tell you…it was LEGENDARY. Our lovely BBC ladies busted a move and belted their hearts out on songs like “Copacabana” and “What’s Up?”, and sang along with my rendition of “Stay (I Missed You)” (because every girl STILL has the lyrics memorized). But the guy singing the Hawaiian songs I’d never heard won me over for the night. Have you heard “Come rub upon my belly like Guava Jelly?” Yeah, didn’t think so.
3. Late Night Girl Talk: I stayed with the same ladies that I drove down to St. George with, and let’s just say that certain topics only seem to come out after dark.
4. The Dixie Center: This was a fantastic venue for BBC. Any by fantastic, I mean comfortable seats, comfortable temperature, and LOTS of electrical outlets. I was so happy I had my iGo Charge Anywhere charger, and shared my juice with other ladies on dying iPhones.
5. Listening to friends speak: The more conferences I attend, and more people I connect with online, the better likelihood that I’ll know how is speaking at a conference. Particularly awesome was Stephanie and Kristina P‘s presentation on Snuggies, BumpIts, Unicorns, Blogging Commandments and Twitter.
6. Feeling safe enough to fall apart: This year has tried me like no other, and the focus of my blog has changed significantly. At lunchtime, our table group was talking about things we’d like to see in the future with our blog. When it was my turn, I opened up about my insecurities as a writer, and not being confident to publish less than stellar posts. I felt supported by my ladies, and realized that there’s no requirement to blog when you don’t feel like it.
7. Business card swapping and new friends: This Bloggy Boot Camp had around 70 attendees. I knew quite a few of them, but I made lots of new friends. I’ve gotten supportive comments from my new “tribe” on my blog just in the few days that I’ve been home. I hope to see any and all of them at future events.
8. Teaching newbies how to embrace Twitter: This was a byproduct of many questions, but I felt confident enough to teach a good group of ladies how to utilize my current addiction social media platform of choice. I was even moved to tweet “my testimony” of Twitter.
9.Tiffany and the Bloggy Boot Camp event crew: I am so grateful for SITS ladies for bringing this conference idea into fruition. It has a different feel than the larger blogging conferences I’ve attended this year. I feel a particular kinship with Tiffany and Julie, partially because they’ve been extremely supportive through my struggles of the last 6 months. A lot of time and effort goes into planning, obtaining sponsors, and organizing an event of this magnitude. And the SITS crew does it over and over around the country. I really hope I can hit a few of the 2011 Bloggy Boot Camps.
10. Driving back with @nativepilgrim: Karen and I connected the week of BBC, partially due to the common desire to find a roadtrip buddy. She is new to Twitter, and due to my encouragement she’s become a full-fledged member of the Twitterverse. And how could I not love her when she had a big Coke Zero in the cupholder when she picked me up? The four hour drive just flew by.
To those I’ve met at Bloggy Boot Camp, thanks for your friendliness and synergy. This weekend was extremely awesome for my happiness and mental health. To those considering attendance at a future Bloggy Boot Camp, I wholeheartedly advise you to go for it.