Quickly I had to figure out train schedules, frantically work ahead so I could take off two days from work, and find a last-minute hotel in NYC. As all the BlogWorld hotels were sold out, and I haven't been to NYC in 15 years, I had no idea how to find a cheap but not crappy and also close to the convention center hotel. Long story short: I didn't; I bit the bullet and went with the reputable but expensive Roger Smith Hotel. It did not disappoint (except for the sticker shock, but even hotels on Hotwire weren't much less). It was fun, convenient, super nice and clean--and I felt very VIP with a personal note and bottle of wine waiting for me. Plus the sheets were delicious, the bed super comfortable, and a the tub perfect. Yes, I take baths in hotels--I am not a germaphobe and am obsessed with baths. I took 3 baths in less than 24 hours.
Things I liked about the conference:
- First off, huge thank you to BlogWorld for free pass!
- Hiring for Community Management panel --I will write a separate post about this session but it rocked. The only part that didn't rock was the fact that neither the wifi nor 3G worked so I couldn't tweet or follow tweets, and even Evernote wouldn't work so I had to resort to taking notes in Notepad.
- Audible (my fave app--LOVE audiobooks. Audible has affiliate and podcaster programs now (link is not an affiliate link, though I will be checking that program out).
- Livefyre--very helpful; I am going to have to bite the bullet and migrate from Blogger to Wordpress so I can get off RIDICULOUS Echo comment platform I'm paying for each month and onto Livefyre.
- Wordpress rep helped me with embedding video issue.
- Network Solutions took my photo with Cloris Leachman (sort of) and I got to say hi to the Kevin Bacon of the social media world, Shashi Bellamkonda. I met Shashi on the plane to BlogWorld in Vegas and I'm telling you, almost every person I've subsequently met is somehow connected to him.
- Mycroburst, who wins for second best swag of raincoat in tiny pouch. Audible wins for 2 free book download card--did I mention I'm obsessed with audiobooks?
- Meeting lots of "Internet friends IRL, especially Jim Storer of the frequently-revered-by-me Community Roundtable. I won't be a name-dropper, but suffice it to say it was very fun hnging with the cool kids. Also great chance meeting with college friend who, along with his girlfriend who turned out to be a kindred community management/social media Koolaid drinking soul, took me out for dinner at awesome restaurant in a chichi part of NYC I never would have otherwise seen. Lobster and frites? Yes, please.
- NYC is about my least favorite city for a conference like this. Expensive, not convenient like Vegas where everything was pretty much in one hotel--room, sessions, parties. Even when you have to take a cab it's quick and easy. Cabs in NYC are hard to get, hotel bellmen helping you are nowhere to be found,and for the bus you need change and not bills--which, if you're from out of town, you don't know till you're on the bus trying to jam dollar bills into the payment thing. It's dirty and gross and I heard horror story after horror story of dirty fleabag hotels. Vegas BlogWorld was paradise to me; NYC, pretty meh.
- Sessions super confusing--I totally don't get the Social Media Business Summit (SMBS) thing vs regular sessions. And after fretting about not being able to attend any sessions I wanted because they were SMBS sessions, in the end I was able to walk right in but felt like a cheater because I had a two-day pass and technically wasn't supposed to be in those sessions. I like rules and follow them, but would have been PISSED if it turned out all the sessions I wanted were unavailable to me after I spent a fortune on hotel/travel to the event. My suggestion is eliminate SMBS track because they totally let you in even if you didn't pay for it anyway.
- I think twice a year for this event is overkill. And while Vegas rocked and I would totally go back there, I don't feel compelled to go to LA.
- It's not BlogWorld's fault, of course, but as happened in Vegas, wifi either didn't work at all or was crazy slow and of course AT&T was as reliable as ever---meaning I had no connectivity from iPhone or iPad 99% of the time I was in the convention center. At a conference where half the learning/fun comes from sharing thoughts and reading comments from concurrent sessions on Twitter, not being able to do either just sucks and diminishes the value. Not to mention makes it incredibly hard to coordinate via phone or device to meet the people you come all that way to meet.