I’m so excited, BlogHer12, one of the biggest blogging conventions for female bloggers, is taking place in just two weeks. Last year, BlogHer was held in San Diego, CA, just a quick 1 1/2hr. away from my home. This year the destination is in New York City. NYC is one of my towns to visit, my family’s too. We love all the lights and sights in Times Square. There was just no way I could pass up the opportunity to go to New York. And with help from my sponsor, Kazaana (formerly PixyKids), a new safe online community for tweens, I have most of the funding I need to go. So I say, “why not???!!!”
Yikes! How to Organize!
But, as with any big conference, a little organization goes a long way. I have a very full schedule with sessions to attend, lunches to dine at, power morning workouts to crunch through, and parties galore scattered throughout New York City. Fortunately, I have an app for that, or several, to help me organize.
I know that I’m going to meet many wonderful people – bloggers and brand representatives alike. In fact, by the end of the trip, I’ll probably end up with nearly 100 business cards. I usually file them in a drawer at home but when I need someone’s phone number months later, ugh, there’s no search button for that! Thankfully, I have an app for that.
When I enter a crowded room of full people and I don’t know a soul, I know that I have power in my pocket(book), with the help of social media. I’ll tell you how…there’s an app for that!
After reviewing the Titan II Windows phone from HTC, it was apparent to me that my phone platform of mobile choice for BlogHer was going to be a Windows phone. I asked the kind folks at Windows Phone* if they could provide me a phone for the big event and they happily obliged. I am now using an HTC Radar Windows Phone.
The Three Main Reasons Why I Chose A Windows Phone:
- Up-to-Date Tiles – on the front of the phone readily show me how many texts, e-mails (from various accounts), phone calls received, and social media references I have. LOVE this!
- Dynamic Tile Pins – I can pin very precise bookmarks to my Home Tiles screen to make it easy to get to a page within a website, a favorite app, a particular document, my BlogHer notebook from OneNote, etc.
- OneNote – You can use the OneNote app on any platform. OneNote is similar to Evernote but more robust. I use OneNote on both my Android phone and my iPad, but it simply renders more beautifully on a Windows Phone. Practically my whole life is in OneNote and having the ability to get to any or every OneNote notebook is beautiful.
Although Windows now has over 100,000 apps in their Marketplace, there are well over 600,000 in the Apple store and 500,000 in the Google Play store. That being said, you won’t find everything you want within the Windows Marketplace, but there’s enough of the main apps I need to take to BlogHer. Nonetheless, the apps I will discuss here are available on multiple platforms, unless otherwise stated.
Scheduling – How to Keep Track of What & When and Who & Where?
Planes, trains, and automobiles, oh my! Sessions, meetings, off-site parties galore, oh no! Your head is probably floating with the scheduling nightmare you created around BlogHer. Double booked? Most likely, perhaps even triple booked! Well, although there’s no app for helping you magically appear in two places at once, there are tools to keep you on your toes and not in a “where am I supposed to be” quandary.
Here’s Your Plan…
FIRST: Download the app of the airline you are flying and enter your flight information for your flights.
Using your airline’s app helps to:
- Make check-in the night before a snap
- Helps you bypass getting a printout of your ticket, as many airlines allow you to use the digital version of your ticket in the app (a great time and line saver!)
- Have connections? Many airline apps provide maps of the terminal you’ll be landing in and you can see how far your next gate is.
SECOND: Download Tripit to schedule your trip, transportation, and events.
Use Tripit for to keep track of:
- your travel info – flights, hotel, car/bus/subway info., etc.
- any parties or off-site events you are attending
- restaurants, musicals, or tourist attractions you want to see
I created a trip called NYC which houses all my airline, hotel, and transportation info – including that of my family’s, who is traveling with me. I used the online Tripit from my PC to enter in all my info. In fact, Tripit will do a scan through your inbox for any travel information and automatically add what it finds. Cool. It didn’t find everything of mine, but it did find a few things which eased up my task of inputting them. Be sure to input all the addresses of your hotel, parties, and off-site meetings. When it’s time to run off-site to go to an event, you can click on the event in Tripit and quickly get directions via walking or subway. This is a GREAT timesaver.
THIRD: Update your Calendar with all of your meetings, parties, etc.
- Set reminders on your calendar events, they will help you when you’re entrenched in a conversation. They remind you it’s time to bolt.
- Put all the information for your travel (airline ticket info, sightseeing info, etc.), session, event, person you’re meeting (their e-mail, phone number, website, etc.) in the Notes section of the event in you calendar. If you’re running late, you’ll know quickly who to contact.
- Copy and paste e-mails you’ve had with a person or about an event into your calendar event so you have all the details you need. Unfortunately, many calendars don’t accept graphics of invite details
- Don’t forget, BlogHer built an app just for us available on both Android and iPhone platforms. Downloading this app is a must as well. It has the full agenda, information about Sponsors, Attendees who self-add themselves, a twitter button for following #BlogHer, and a built-in barcode scanner.
FOURTH: As you receive invitations for parties, update OneNote or Evernote on your desktop (which links to your phone via the cloud) to keep track of all of your events. Basically, keep the same info. as in your calendar, but OneNote/Evernote is a good place to keep more detailed info. like questions you want to ask people/brands, your thoughts from the party and conversations, etc.
Use OneNote/Evernote for:
- graphics of invitations for party details
- all information about parties
- information about people you want to meet, what parties you know they’ll be at, etc.
- BlogHer schedule
- agenda of BlogHer events/parties you will be attending
- travel plan details
- sponsorship commitments
- information about brands you hope to talk to at BlogHer or an event
I’ve Arrived! Time to Meet People.
Have you ever gone to a party that you’ve been so looking forward to and find that you don’t know a soul? I have. It’s not fun. But with social media and your smartphone, you’re never alone again. Tweet your entrance using the party’s hashtag. There are probably people there who know you from being online. If no one bites on your tweet, tweet again saying “I don’t know anyone, please introduce yourself!” or “I love the latest fashions, tweet if you’re a fashionista too!” Get creative.
Often times, there are several hashtags associated with an event or party. Using a tool like TweetDeck or HootSuite allows you to keep track of multiple hashtags and people very easily. Want to know more instantly who’s in the room? Try FourSquare to see who’s checked-in.
Don’t forget to document your good times by uploading pictures to Twitter or using fun tools like Instagram to add some extra interest to your pics. Uploading pictures to your social networks allows your followers and friends to “join in” on the fun and interact. If you do it right, you’ll create a buzz at the party and in the blogosphere!
Not sure how to add a picture to Twitter or Facebook? Take a picture with your phone and open it after it takes. Tap on the picture and you should get a menu. On that menu there should be some sort of share button. Click on that and you will see the options you have for sharing. Choose your option, add your text, upload and you’re done.
- Before you arrive, open TweetDeck/HootSuite and pre-load it with the #hashtags of the party you’re attending
- If you are aware of other people who will be attending the party, add their @ handles to TweetDeck to listen for their tweets
- Make sure you’re logged into Instagram so you don’t have to do it at the event
Organizing – You’ve Met 500 Wonderful Contacts, Now What?
OK great, you’re meeting some great people and making some great contacts. You’re having such a fun time, you’ll worry about card organization later! What if you could organize your cards as you meet people? There’s a great app called CamCard that allows you to take a picture of the card instantly. The information is than scanned and all of the contact info. on the card is put in a database.
You can than save the card’s info. to Google Contacts. I’d recommend this step if you use Google Contacts (which most Android users have) because at that point, you can add a picture. Why not take a picture of the person while you’re standing right in front of them. In today’s mobile focus world, the person you just met more most likely be more interested in the app you’re using rather than irritated at you for taking the pic.
After scanning the business card, you can put in details notes of your conversation – though it might be better to do this after you’re done talking with the person.
Be sure to scan in YOUR business card ahead of time. With the Android app, you can create a QR code of your business card, or any other card you have scanned. Than you can allow others to get your details by using a QR scanner on their phone. Handy, simple, and fast.
- Before you enter the convention center or party, get your cards ready and make sure you have a pen handy
- Write “BlogHer12″ on every card so later you know where you met the person
- Jot down any brief notes you don’t wont to forget on the person’s card
- Ensure you’ve thought ahead where you put cards you receive versus where you keep your cards – you don’t want to handout someone else’s card instead of yours! (I’ve done this!)
- If you download CamCard, be sure to create folders to help you organize your cards. You can place cards in multiple folders. For example, one folder could be labeled “BlogHer” and another “SocialLuxe Lounge.” This will help you remember later where you met the person.
Phew! That about does it! If you’re going to Blogher12, have a great time. Be sure to tweet me at a party, I’d love to meet you!!! @wellconnectdmom
Know about other great apps out there you’ll be using for BlogHer? Leave a comment and tell us!
* Microsoft Windows Phones provided me with a Radar Windows Phone in exchange for my honest opinions. All thoughts are my own.