The Florida Bloggers Conference (#FLBlogCon13)

Saturday morning found me trekking it a whole 15 minutes to the Florida Bloggers Conference. First of all, can I tell you how happy I was at the commute? I have been in Orlando for a while and have heard of Full Sail (even reached out to them at one point when I was looking into MFA's). But truth be told, I'd never been on their campus. I never realized how much they've grown and though I know they are all about technology, I cannot tell you how happy to be in the blogger friendly environment I found myself in.

Pat Williams was the opening keynote and wow. Just wow. He's written a bunch of books and done a bunch of things in his life but there he was. Walking around the auditorium, looking us in the eye and speaking his truths to us. Here are his 10 principles:

  1. Think the right thoughts
  2. Say the right kind of words
  3. Be specific with your goals
  4. Control your attitude
  5. Seek out the right kind of friends
  6. Take your hurts, pains, setbacks & disappointments & turn them into strength!
  7. Go the second mile! Do twice what's expected of you
  8. Never give up!
  9. Character counts
  10. Live your life by the faith phenomenon!

If you've been reading my blog for any period of time, you know that these principles speak to my heart.

There was lots of learning with lots of awesome workshops including Twitter 101 taught by the FABU Brian Wilson and Blogging 101 taught by the incomparable Bess Auer who also spearheads the Florida Bloggers Conference.  I can't say enough about the great job that she did putting this conference together.

The day was amazing. From Bahama Breeze giving away THREE trips to the Bahamas (sadly, I did not win), to a great closing keynote by Pam Moore (lots of takeaways from her presentation).

I was happy to have been able to participate as a speaker along with my cohorts Yadira and Joscelyn. It felt amazing to be speaking in my own backyard and to see so many familiar faces.

But I will say though, there were tons of new people! That's one of my favorite parts of conferences. Meeting new faces. Of course, it's also my favorite to see old ones, like Christie and Brian (pictured below).

I also loved connecting on topics that we need to start speaking about but don't. I'm a big proponent of putting it out there because someone is going through it as well and this weekend was a clear reminder of some things that need to be addressed for our own sanity and our own support. Stay tuned for some of that in the coming month.

When was the last time you connected with your community?

If you'd like to download the presentation, you can go to the Florida Bloggers Conference SlideShare page to view.

My BlogHer Recap

“So, how was the conference?” I’ve gotten this question about 322 times since yesterday. And my answer was different yesterday than today. Why? I’ve had time to think and I’m no longer exhausted thanks to a killer nap around 10 a.m. I actually volunteered at BlogHer so I didn’t get a chance to go to as many sessions as I wanted to but I got to Mic Wrangle 2 of them and they were pretty awesome.

So where to I start? Everyone wants to know about the swag. I should preface this by saying I am not a swag whore. This means that I will walk away from your booth if there’s a long line & your product is not of particular interest to me. It also means I stop at booths that may not have “good” swag because I believe in the product (like books!).

Yesterday I would’ve told you that it was not worth my last minute sprint. That I did not get a chance to connect with new brands because with 5,000 bloggers there, that was pretty difficult. I did thoroughly enjoyed volunteering. I loved seeing new faces and old saunter up to me at the registration desk and my anticipation of pulling up their info on the computer and checking out their twitter handle to see if I followed them.

I was at what was probably one of the best sessions: Erotica Out In the Open. After I got past my fear that the attendants would tackle me for both the mic and the lube I was giving away when they asked a question, I was able to settle in and realized that the session was about much more than sex. It was about finding your voice, owning it, protecting those that you love and shedding your fear.

Today as I woke up and checked out my timeline, responded to tweets and closed FB groups I realized how much I loved it. I was able to see some friends that I hadn’t met before and others that I hadn’t seen in a while. If you don’t think that online friendships translate to real ones, I feel sad for you. If you don’t get that when someone says oxoxox or I love you on Twitter or FB they can really mean it despite never having laid eyes on the other person, you are so missing out!

I miss my friends today. I miss Tonia who is me in that over-confident “yes dammit, I look good and I’m hot” sorta way that few people get. I crave a hug from Frelle with her big rack and comforting arms. I’m sad I only got to see Julie’s smile a couple of times and didn’t get to sit and chat with her. I wish that Chrysula would record herself reading a book or something because her voice is so soothing to me that when I get an online message from her, I hear it in my head. I can go on and on and on! LaShaun, Tawanna, Migdalia who I met for the first time and fell in love with, Alex who has the bestest most flawless skin E.V.E.R! All of my Stiletto Media girls who I will tell you more about later on in the week. I miss them all.

I also miss the brands. There were two that stood out for me this weekend. Two that I already have a relationship with but that I felt were solidified even more by some face time. I tell you this: while there’s no doubt in my mind that social media connects us, I also know that having face time with someone takes that relationship to another level. I spent SO much time with The Blog Frog girls and I’m so glad I did. Most of the time I felt I talked more about them than my own blog (and if I talked to you about them, go to the site!).

And then there is Windows. There was Jessica who was so informative and helpful.  And Kristina let me fondle her Asus (wow, I just read that and laughed! Yeah, I’m 12!). Get your mind out of the gutter people! I’m shopping for a laptop and because of them, I am looking to convert from a Mac back to a PC. Crazy, eh? More on that later as well.

So, was BlogHer worth it? Hell yes! I made some new connections and continued to build on old ones. They may not lead to a big brand contract or the million-dollar book deal but they lead to friendships and I cannot put a price on that. Especially when my online friends have done so much to support me in the past.

All in all, I’m glad I went. I’m also glad to be home! In two weeks I fly out to my first every conference as a panelist (shameless plug: tickets are still available! Come chek out The Niche Mommy Conference in NOLA).

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a nap drink some coffee chat on twitter do some follow up. Did you go to the conference? If so, what did you think?