Truth be told, I'm not exactly an Alt expert. This will be my first time attending, and save for the fact that I have come to realize that it is THE blogging event of the century, I know very little else. During their last conference, I watched with unbridled envy as every fabulous lifestyle blogger on the Internet shared their glittery, glamorous pictures from the event. Everything looked so beautiful, so pristine, so inspiring, and I was filled with determination to make it to the next one. When the opportunity presented itself to speak about Blogging With Comedic Voice, I was like, girl yes please.
In the weeks leading up to Alt, I was invited to a Facebook group along with every other upcoming Alt attendee, and it has been positively lighting up with discussions -- posts about what to wear, what to bring, who to connect with. I am constantly getting notifications from people, and it's been a fantastic resource for me.
I have especially loved the honesty of some of these folks. From experienced Alt fanatics to wide-eyed newbies, several have expressed that while they are super pumped, they are also kind of nervous. These are individuals who have built brands, crafted their own business models, endured childbirth, yet the idea of going into a room full of strangers to "network" still triggers a slight anxiety response in their brains. Good to hear because the same is true for me.
It makes me long for the days of kindergarten. Back then, when you would meet someone who shared your same favorite color, or who lived on the same block, or had your same proclivity for scab-picking -- boom, you were friends. Instantly. Maybe even friends for life.
|But honestly, if you're a kindergartener who is this cool, do you really even need friends?|
As adults, however, with all of our self-awareness and baggage, it's just not that simple. But what I already love about Alt is that it doesn't seem like a stuffy place for people to just force connections. From what I understand, Alt can be a lot like kindergarten if we let it be. I mean, it's honestly just a bunch of humans who are enthusiastic about similar things, and maybe we can just let that be enough. "Oh, you like crafting? I like crafting too!" "Oh, you have a lifestyle blog? Me too! Me too!" "Oh, you're super nervous? Phew, good, me too!"
It seems like the people who are attracted to an event like Alt are just genuine, kind, and ready to have a great time. I'm confident that they would still accept me and be perfectly lovely to me even if I showed up wearing a potato sack and handed out my baby pictures as business cards.
Still, I'd like to do this whole thing right. These are some things I've learned so far regarding how to make the most of my Alt experience. If you've been before, feel free to tell me if I've got it right.
1. It's important to come in with a goal in mind.
A lot of Alt regulars have encouraged the idea of starting the conference with a concept of what you want to get out of it. For me, my goals are simple: I want to facilitate healthy dialogue about connecting with readers through humor, and I want to leave with new insight and editorial inspiration. Oh, and obviously, I want to win. There's a winner at Alt, right?
2. Business cards are, like, kind of a big deal.
I've seen the word "tradition"used a lot to describe the business card exchange at Alt. Apparently some people show up with cards that aren't even cards at all, but rather paper cranes or cookies or toys with their name on it. In the spirit of this tradition, I have been racking my brain trying to come up with some way to make my business cards more clever, but fortunately there have been plenty of regulars who assure me that as long as my name is written down on some scrap of paper, I should be fine. Will a gum wrapper suffice, though? We'll see.
3. Dressing up is fun and encouraged, but it's not live-or-die.
Look. Ever since The Spice Girls introduced me to platform shoes and The Golden Girls introduced me to high-waisted pants, I have felt fairly confident in my ability to make bold fashion statements. Still, my level of concern with style never borders on the obsessive. I usually just throw a belt on an a-line dress and call it a day. From what I understand, though, Alt is full of the world's most stylish gals, and chances are they are the kind of homespun geniuses who make their own clothes. In imagining this fashion frenzy, I started to get a bit overwhelmed, but then I read this post from Hilary from Dean Street Society. She's a stylist, and even she admitted that dressing to the nines didn't need to be the main focus of Alt. Phew. Sounds good to me.
4. There's going to be swag.
This Alt checklist from Capella Kinchelo explicitly states: Leave room in suitcase for swag. I am unabashedly excited for this aspect of the conference.
5. There's going to be food.
The first night of the event, Alt attendees are invited to sign up for dinners hosted by sponsors of the event. I'll be at a dinner put on by the good people at Silhouette which is being held at THE MELTING POT! I'm so jazzed to dip assorted items into melted cheeses while asking my hosts every question under the sun.
6. It's all going to be fine.
Even though this will be my first time attending this conference, I am certain that this point is 100% true, and that's because it's true of most things in life. I may be bugging out now wondering how to structure my discussion or which day I should wear my new pineapple crop top, but in the end, everything will be just fine. Probably better than fine, honestly. Like pretty fantastic, probably.
So those are my assumptions about this thing called Alt, but again, I'm no expert. Have you been before? If so, give me the skinny!
Will you be there in a couple of weeks? Ooo, me too! I hope to snag your business card, see your pretty face, and of course, chat with you at my roundtable!