Why You Should Attend Blogger Interactive 2014

29 Oct

BeccaLogoTX_largeThe very first installment of Blogger Interactive has come and gone. What started as a casual comment in a Facebook thread turned into something of which I am very proud. I’m glad I was a part of the planning process because if I hadn’t been, I wouldn’t have gone.

It isn’t that I don’t have the resources (vacation time, money, a child-free weekend) to do something like this. On the contrary, I live a very “no strings attached” lifestyle. The only thing that would have gotten in my way would have been myself.

I spent so much of my life invisible that being visible is a very hard thing for me to do. I don’t like meeting new people. I don’t like being in social situations without at least one friend there with me. I don’t like people knowing enough about me to have expectations because that could mean I disappoint them when we do meet.

Blogger Interactive forced me to go outside of my comfort zone, and I’m really glad it did. I learned that all of my fears were irrational, and would have caused me to miss out on a great time. If you could have gone, but didn’t, here’s why you should reconsider for next year.

It’s not as scary as you think it’ll be.

You know those people who are great at peer interactions? Yeah, I’m not one of them. I get sweaty palms, dry mouth, and my hands shake. That goes up tenfold when I’m with people I’ve never met before. While I definitely experienced that before getting to Austin, it disappeared once people started arriving. I’m not known for being a hugger, and yet I gave multiple ones this past weekend. I didn’t have to force a single conversation, and if hadn’t been for that pesky sleep thing, I probably would have talked to some people all night. It was easy being there, that’s the best way I can describe it.

It was fun.

That’s an understatement. I was exhausted the whole weekend because everything was at a level 10 when everyone was together. Several conversations were going on at once, people were dancing, there was loud laughter, the venues (and their staff) were incredible, and I was blinded several times by the flash of a camera. Having a group of people who’ve never met before come together for the first time, especially after knowing each other online for some time, creates an energy worth experiencing.

You will make connections.

I detest networking.  I hate shaking people’s hands and telling them a laundry list of things I’m good at. This is an un-networking networking event if I’ve ever been to one. Lauren from Key + Arrow mentioned to me that she was afraid to ask people if she could guest post, and I said I knew bloggers who would love to have her. Julian Gallo, one of our speakers, was able to connect with John from SocietyRed to talk about self-publishing. I have some ideas I’m tossing around that I’ll be approaching attendees about in the near future. This event made seemingly inaccessible things/people/information more accessible, and that is what networking is really about.

You will be inspired.

Between the guest speakers, and interacting with other bloggers in a more personal way, my creative juices are flowing hardcore. I want to self-publish a book now. I have several projects I want to start. I have dozens of post ideas. I want to revamp my blog. I want to take a more active role in community building here on WordPress. This weekend reminded me of why I was a writer.

“But Jen, this is all so easy for you to say. You’re one of the organizers. This wouldn’t apply to me.” Uh, yes it would. Do you want to know how I know that? Because other attendees echoed these same sentiments to me several times throughout the event. If it applies to us, it applies to you.

There will be an official wrap up post over at the Blogger Interactive site coming soon, but for now, I wanted to give you my “fresh from the trip” thoughts. Hope to see more of you at BI 2014!

I want take this moment to personally thank the bloggers (and blog supporters!) who attended the event, and encourage all of you reading this to visit their sites.


A Rich, Full Life In Spite Of It

Ardent & Awkward / in Austin

Brother Jon

Julian Gallo

Key + Arrow

Michelle Stodden


The Grey Tales

The Indie Chicks


87 Responses to “Why You Should Attend Blogger Interactive 2014”

  1. stephrogers 10/30/2013 at 12:18 am #

    I wish I could have gone, but Texas is such a long way from Sydney *sigh

    • Jen and Tonic 10/31/2013 at 12:32 am #

      I am in favor of having a Blogger Interactive in Australia as long as you promise to keep dingoes away from our babies.

      • stephrogers 10/31/2013 at 2:47 am #

        Hahaha ok. Let’s stay out of the Northern Territory. You’d be hard pressed to find more wildlife than a few rats and pigeons in Sydney. Oh and the Ibis. They’re kinda scary.

  2. rarasaur 10/29/2013 at 10:02 pm #

    I wish-wish I could have come. I think the husband is secretly glad we couldn’t– not because he doesn’t (probably) love y’all, but because he’s an introvert — but I’m bummed. It was a real possibility till the last second, too, and then work stuff. La!

    I’m glad you guys had an awesome time– though with Austin + fantastic bloggers there was really no doubt. 🙂 Kudos on all the efforts to make it happen!

    • Jen and Tonic 10/31/2013 at 12:30 am #

      Tell Mr. Rara that I demand he go next year. Tell him if he doesn’t comply, he shall be on the receiving end of a VERY sternly worded e-mail from me.

      • rarasaur 10/31/2013 at 12:37 am #

        Ha! 🙂 Oh, he’ll go if I go– we’re one of those annoying couples that does everything together. Now I just need to arrange work for it. 🙂

  3. List of X 10/29/2013 at 9:31 pm #

    I wish I could have gone. Alas, Austin is just way too out of my way. Any plans on having the next event somewhere around Northeastern US?

    • Jen and Tonic 10/31/2013 at 12:29 am #

      We were planning on holding it in your backyard next year. Is that okay?

      • List of X 10/31/2013 at 4:25 am #

        My backyard is a cemetery…(ummm, let me clarify: it was a cemetery BEFORE I moved in). So it would be nice to have a blogger convention for a change.

  4. writerwendyreid 10/29/2013 at 7:12 pm #

    Sounds like you had a great time Jenn. I will consider it for next year although it will depend on how far it is from me. I’d have to apply for a passport as well….god I feel like I’ve lived such a deprived life.

    • Jen and Tonic 10/31/2013 at 12:28 am #

      You don’t have a passport? I assume that’s because you’re a sexy little minx who is on a few “do not fly” lists.

  5. georgia + darlin' 10/29/2013 at 5:46 pm #

    If social events are a huge leap for you, I certainly couldn’t tell! You were great! I suppose Michael & I might be the ones you are referring to that were not a part of this community and braved it! ha! It wasn’t at all scary because, as you said, everyone was so inviting and kind. When I was writing on my other blog about a year ago, I interacted with quite a few people who were there, but had lost touch when I changed to a different blog. I’ve tried to reconnect with my previous readers and new ones and gain new followers for my new blog (& find the blogs again that I had in my reader!!), but I’ve been so busy with this new school year… I need my summer back!!! However, this was a great opportunity to reconnect, and it truly lit a fire under my butt. A MUCH needed fire. Thanks for putting this together. Michael and I are glad to have met and talked to everyone. We only wish we had MORE time to get to know everyone even more. We’ll definitely keep in touch and can’t wait until next year rolls around!

    • Jen and Tonic 10/31/2013 at 12:28 am #

      The one thing I’m hearing so much of is how people feel motivated to write again. I think a lot of us get bored or uninspired or feel like we can’t make time for it. This event really did remind of why I love writing, and how important blogging is to me. I’ve seriously neglected this blog in the last year, and I want it to be better than ever.

      I also wish everyone had more time to hang out. I was sad the day I left, I must admit.

  6. GiggsMcGill Jill 10/29/2013 at 4:03 pm #

    I wish I could’ve gone so badly!! My time off request was denied – someone had already asked for the weekend off 😦 NEXT YEAR! 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 5:04 pm #

      Hey, I totally understand. It would have been awesome if you could go, but we understand work is a priority. When we announce the dates for next year you request the time off IMMEDIATELY. You gotta be there.

      • GiggsMcGill Jill 10/29/2013 at 6:17 pm #

        🙂 will most certainly do!! Can’t wait to read everyone’s stories about it!!

  7. RFL 10/29/2013 at 1:41 pm #

    It was such a great weekend! I seriously could not tell that you felt nervous about any of it, I was actually in awe of your composure and social skills.
    I walked away feeling so similar though–energized, inspired, and with a lot less fear of reaching out to people.
    Bravo to you and Becca, and my post today echoed so much of what you’ve said today.
    Can’t wait for next year!

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 2:05 pm #

      HA! We must have been thinking about each other because I just read your post. Loved it!

      Honestly, I can’t believe how comfortable I was either. The only explanation I can give is that people were really nice, and it wasn’t an intimidating group to be around. I really did enjoy that we got time to talk, and get to know each other better than we had before.

      I can’t wait for next year either!

  8. saradraws 10/29/2013 at 12:06 pm #

    I will go anywhere you are. Anywhere. *creepy face*

  9. Melanie 10/29/2013 at 11:40 am #

    So no one died of dehydration from sweaty palms or heart attacks from nervousness? This is good. Maybe I could actually silences the self-doubting voices long enough to make it next year.

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Nope. We didn’t have one person pass out, or have a panic attack. Really, everyone is even better in person than they are online. I’ve never met a group of people I instantly liked more than this one. Please consider next year!

      • Melanie 10/29/2013 at 1:34 pm #

        Oh I considered this year. I considered, decided, changed my mind, considered again, decided, changed my mind…lather rinse repeat. I’ve met two bloggers in real life with a 50/50 success rate on them being absolute awesomesauce. That should have been good enough to go to this, but alas, the voice in my head telling me no one would know me and no one would talk to me even if I got the courage to talk to them and everyone would wonder who that crazy lady who crashed the party was won out.

        • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 2:07 pm #

          I assure you NOBODY would have been like that. We had a couple of brave souls who haven’t been actively involved in this community who showed up, and they fit right in. I never saw anyone trying to make conversation, and were turned away.

          Hope you go next year. I promise you’ll have an awesome time.

          • Melanie 10/29/2013 at 4:45 pm #

            My logical mind knows this. I am so glad it was such a success for you guys. What I’ve read so far has convinced me next year has got to be a go.

          • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 5:02 pm #

            YAY! We already have a few preliminary locations we’re thinking about, and they’re all FUN. We definitely want you to be there.

          • Melanie 10/29/2013 at 5:11 pm #

            There are so many fun places to choose from. I just know it will be more awesome next year.

  10. oopsie23 10/29/2013 at 11:07 am #

    I am SO upset that I didn’t get to attend this year! But I am going to do my damndest to get there in 2014!!!

  11. Carrie Rubin 10/29/2013 at 10:46 am #

    So glad to hear you had a great time. I’m sure it was fun to finally put animated faces and bodies to still-life Gravatars. 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 12:05 pm #

      It was surreal. Becca mentioned on Facebook yesterday that she’s now reading everyone’s comments in their voices.

  12. Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 10/29/2013 at 10:44 am #

    You & Becca should be so proud – you made something amazing happen! It’s funny how many people are so nervous about meeting people face to face. And yet, we’ve all disclosed so much about ourselves already through out writings. I love meeting people, but am always shy about hosting a party that no one will come to; or having awkward pauses and whatnot – which mostly does NOT come to fruition. We are all so insecure about ourselves, is that what makes us good writers? 🙂

    I am hoping to make it next year – it sounds AMAZING!

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 12:00 pm #

      That’s the funny thing! We say so much about ourselves, and yet we’re afraid to have a personal interaction with others. Perhaps it’s because we’ve done that. It’s easy to be vulnerable online. I believe I spoke to Rachelle (A Rich, Full Life) about that at the event. In the end, everyone was COOL AS HELL.

      Also, I’d come to a party you threw.

  13. The Bumble Files 10/29/2013 at 10:20 am #

    Ah, I wish I could have gone!! Next year, next year. I didn’t have the resources this year. Hopefully, by next year I will have my act together, Jen. I picture you as such the social butterfly so I’m just a little surprised reading about your apprehension. I think I would feel that way, too. You think there’s an expectation about who you are and you want to be able to live up to it. What a wonderful way to be inspired. This is what living is all about! Congrats on a successful summit. May you have many more in the future.

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 11:55 am #

      I am NOT a social butterfly. I get warmed up and can talk and joke around, but I don’t put myself in these situations often. This was a huge deal for me, and one I needed to do at this point in my life. I’m hoping any hesitant people will make the leap next year.

      I hope you can make it to the 2014 event!

  14. Kylie 10/29/2013 at 10:06 am #

    Ah, that sounds great! I’ve definitely got the “socially awkward” criteria down. Unfortunately, I don’t have time, money, or child-free weekends (hahaha) so the next one damn well better be in Portland.

    (Congratulations on a successful event.)

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 11:53 am #

      There will definitely be an opportunity for you to participate in future related events, I promise.

  15. Katie 10/29/2013 at 9:32 am #

    Congrats! It sounds like it was a lot of fun and a great opportunity. Next year, I’ll make a solid effort to convince myself to be less of a miser.

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 11:52 am #

      DON’T BE A MISER. I’ll send you pictures of kittens in soft focus lighting to put you in a more generous mood.

  16. Maggie O'C 10/29/2013 at 8:43 am #

    So wish I could have gone! I hope it becomes an annual event, because eventually I will be there. Great job Jen!

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 11:43 am #

      We do hope to make it annual! There are also some other things we’re working on and I’m SURE you’ll be able to participate.

  17. Ned's Blog 10/29/2013 at 8:43 am #

    Jen, I so wish I could have been there. Truly. I remember when Becca at 25tofly first mentioned it. I started planning immediately, which was my first mistake. I’m better at spontaneous. Next year, don’t tell me until the night before. Also, I sent a cardboard cutout of myself to Becca so I could be there by proxy. She promised to keep an I on “me” and make sure I didn’t end up in a compromising position or as part of some kinky cardboard threesome. Please tell me “I” still have my virtue. Or at the very least will be invited back.

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 11:38 am #

      There’s a warrant out for your arrest in Austin, and you may have a cardboard child on the way. That’s all my lawyer will allow me to say.

      • Ned's Blog 10/29/2013 at 11:45 am #

        UPS said it had a special delivery from Austin. I had no idea it was going to be a cardboard child. Because I didn’t know who it was from, I sent it back.

        I’m a terrible father.

  18. daniheart21 10/29/2013 at 8:30 am #

    You know how much I wanted to go Jen. For me, it just wasn’t in the cards this year, but I have high hopes for next year. I am so glad it went well and that everyone had such a good experience. I think it’s an awesome thing that you helped to start. I am working on my 3rd self published book of poetry. It is my love. It would be so cool to see a book from you. 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 11:33 am #

      I really do hope you can come next year! Bring Noelle! John’s (SocietyRed) wife went, and she had a blast. The more the merrier.

      Self-publishing, here I come…

  19. Soul Walker 10/29/2013 at 8:29 am #

    Glad to hear it went well.

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 11:32 am #

      Thanks! We’re also glad everyone had a good time.

  20. The Waiting 10/29/2013 at 8:25 am #

    I deplore networking in its traditional form too. Not even kidding, I went to a networking event last week where someone asked me what I do and I told them I am a parenting blogger and I write a lot about my toddler. They then talked for a solid five minutes about their kid and then asked me, “Do you have kids?” So yeah.

    So glad that BI went well! Kudos to you for helping put it all together, Jen!

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 11:31 am #

      That’s another issue I have with networking! Some people are only there to talk about themselves, and aren’t at all interested in what you have to say. Forget all that. Everyone at BI was genuinely interested in each other.

  21. Burns the Fire 10/29/2013 at 7:45 am #

    Congratulations and mazel tov, Jen! All respect to you and your co-organizers for taking the bull by the horns and wrangling it into joyous submission. Wish I could have been there and surely hope to be next year. Any chance of holding it in Montreal? I’d be more than happy to help out…

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 11:30 am #

      We definitely want to work with bloggers in the Montreal area! Becca and I will write down your name, and be in contact with you when we get the second phase of this going.

  22. Jueseppi B. 10/29/2013 at 7:24 am #

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 7:32 am #

      Thanks for the reblog!

      • Jueseppi B. 10/29/2013 at 7:51 am #

        Interesting post, thank you for sharing. Have a good Tuesday. 😉

  23. TJLubrano 10/29/2013 at 7:21 am #

    So glad you had an awesome time! I loved seeing the pictures on FB and instagram. I can’t wait to read and see more! 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 7:32 am #

      We’ll be putting together a slideshow soon so you’ll have LOTS of pictures to look at.

  24. donofalltrades 10/29/2013 at 7:19 am #

    Were I not saddled with kids and responsibilities, this sort of thing would be awesome. I didn’t notice you mention an open bar though…

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 7:31 am #

      Are you volunteering to pay for it next year? You’re so sweet!

  25. MakeWayForLindaJ 10/29/2013 at 7:12 am #

    If I can ever get passed the teeth-sweating-stage when I think about attending a blogger convention, I’ll probably sign up.

    • Jen and Tonic 10/29/2013 at 7:16 am #

      I assure you, you have nothing to be worried about with Blogger Interactive. It’s free, it’s a smaller group of people for now, and it’s people you’re probably already familiar with. Besides, if you go, I’ll make sure to stick by your side until your teeth stop sweating.

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