I just got back from the best weekend. I am still exhausted and curled in the fetal position from all that socializing (which I learned was OK from Susan Cain, author of the New York Times Best Seller, Quiet) , but I had to recap my thoughts ASAP.
First off, BlissDom is a conference for women (a premier conference for women, according to the BlissDom website :) ) who choose to publish online. So, the majority of the conference helps women be the best blogger they can be. There are four tracks: Business, Writing, Photography, and Life Development.
I typically hang out in the Writing and Life Development tracks. I NEED the photography tracks because my photos suck (see below) LOL!, but it's not my passion so I have never attended a photo track...yet.
BlissDom is the only social media conference I have ever attended, and this was just my second year, so I don't have a lot to compare it to, but overall, I think it is pure awesomeness!!!! It inspires, encourages and lifts me up. I am also very exhausted once it is over. This year it was held in Dallas, Texas at the Gaylord Texan ( a big BOO! for that since I live in middle Tennessee where the previous BlissDom's were held).
I have a group of friends that I generally hang with and make the weekend extra-spectacular. I truly believe going to BlissDom last year, was a gift from God. I have Ah-mazing women in my life now because of it. Most of those ladies were able to return to BlissDom this year, two of them actually speaking at the event. I really enjoyed hanging with my friend Tami, Sue, Michelle, and new friend Shannon. I briefly got to see Alli (one of the founders of BlissDom) and Dedra, who was part of our group last year, but she works the conference so we got to see her in-between her breaks, which were few and far between.
So, here are my top four take aways from a great conference.
1) The speakers. I heard Jon Acuff, Tami Heim, and Annie Downs. I heard a few others here and there but these are the three that stood out to me. I was challenged, inspired and moved by all three for three very different reasons. Jon kicked our butts into gear about getting things done (instead of wasting time). Tami taught us leadership skills and helped us find out what our inner strengths are. And Annie, Annie inspired me and pushed me to write with authenticity and realness. I like to do that anyway, but she really encouraged stepping out of your comfort zone and talk about the things you know you need to be writing about, and sometimes they might be the things you don't want to write about, but people need to hear.
My friend, Tami Heim speaking on leadership skills
2) Community. Overall, everyone is super friendly at the conference. There are plenty of opportunities to meet and mingle, pass out business cards, talk about your blog, etc. There is just a fun spirit at BlissDom and plenty of opportunities to get to know other people without feeling like you are networking all the time.
3) The Free stuff . Each day of the conference there were kick-offs, happy hours, give aways at the sponsors and multiple vendors booths which were all centrally located. I still haven't gotten over the fact that I DIDN'T win the free mattress at the National Sleep Foundations room, but hey, I learned about how to get a good night's sleep and if I had gotten there early enough, I could have signed up for a free manicure.
4) FUN!!!!! We had Girls Night Out, Girls Night In, all paid for by sponsors. We had music, dancing and some had drinks. We were able to tweet to help fight child hunger in America while we were being serenaded by Chris Mann and we had yummy dinner and dessert given to us by Con-Agra foods.
Here is a picture of me with a minion. They were promoting the new Despicable Me 2 movie...
They even had free boxes and shipping for BlissDom participants to ship all their free swag home without having to go over the weight limit of their bag at the airport. SWEET!!!!!
So, next year when you hear me talking about Blissdom, and you are involved in social media, blogging, writing, etc. in any way, then you better get your ticket and be there.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it comes back to Tennessee where it belongs. Other than that, I hope Blissdom never changes.