Jumping In To Bliss

I’m finally doing it. And I can’t believe it. And I wouldn’t be doing it if it weren’t for Ellen. I’m going to Blissdom ’12! I’ve been watching other blogging folk talk about, cry about, laugh about and tweet about Blissdom for four years. And this year, I get to be one of them!

Here’s the deal about Blissdom, it’s about inclusion. Inclusion of new bloggers, experienced bloggers, women who use blogging to express a hobby, women who make a living with their blogs, all races, all abilities, and more. Since the conference started the speakers have been invited because they are inspirational and educational. Blissdom attendees learn and network and grow. Partnerships are built and friendships are made. And, like other blogging conferences, Blissdom is often the only time when some online friends see each other in real life. Basically, Blissdom is awesome covered in glitter.

What do I hope to get out of Blissdom? It’s not as lofty an aspiration as some attendees have, but I’m most excited about meeting some of the people I’ve been talking with and reading about for years. I’m really hoping I’m not a total fangirl who completely flips out and makes a fool of herself. Or, if I can’t manage to keep it together, that my victims will take it in the spirit in which I flip out.

I also have a goal of learning. Many of the other attendees have been writing and blogging a significant amount of time and I am anxious to learn from them. Mistakes, lessons learned, whatever they want to offer, I’ll soak it up! The speakers this year are writers, lawyers, public relations counselors, life coaches, photographers, artists and business people. If there is a topic I could possibly want to learn about, it’s in this one (giant) conference area.

Like any good organization that learns from the years before, the Blissdom ladies change things up to improve the current year’s event. This year’s big change is the addition of Community Leaders.  From the Blissdom Conference site:

This year Community Leaders will help facilitate hands-on, small-group discussions during each session within all four tracks. They will use their extensive experience to lead round-table workshops based on the top-level professional advice given by speakers so attendees leave with practical take-aways that relate to a variety of niches.

Why is it a big deal to have Community Leaders? To me the answer is simple, to help take some fairly high-level information from the speakers and help attendees understand how they can apply it to their lives. I’m sure we’ve all been in situations where we’re trying to absorb a lot of information (especially if it’s particularly inspiring) and we feel sort of overwhelmed. I love that in the same session where attendees have heard all this fantastic information they’ll have a chance to digest it, brainstorm it and talk it out in a facilitated discussion with a small group and a Community Leader. Genius!

I’m honored that I’ve been asked to be a Community Leader in the Entrepreneur/Business/Social Media/Tech Niche. I’m excited at the prospect of helping other attendees (especially those who may be newer to blogging or social media) digest and absorb the information they’ve gotten. I hope I can make the Bliss Chicks proud!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’m also excited about getting to stay at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville; excited about getting to hang out with Ellen (an old friend from San Antonio who I haven’t seen for years); and excited about the Handmade Marketplace which will be at Blissdom for the first time.

I would love to hear about your conference experiences (whether work or fun). What should I make sure to do?