Ten Similarities Between Sorority Rush and Blog Conferences (BlogHer)

This is the time of year for Blog Conferences, or a certain very large Blog Conference known as BlogHer.  This will be my 3rd BlogHer conference.  I learn something new every year, but many things are always the same.  I was never really worried about attending blog conferences, because I have survived formal recruitment, or for the non-Greeks, Sorority Rush.

Every summer before school started at our University, we would have workshops, and practices. Sororities are very serious about formal recruitment.  By the end of the summer, we were polished in our speaking, interview skills, and theme songs.  Seriously, even my husband still knows my Sorority songs.

Angry Julie vs. College vs. Sorority LifeAngry Julie Circa 1993.

Top 10 List on Why Blog Conferences and Sorority Rush Are Similar

1.  Name Tags

I wore a name tag throughout Sorority Rush. Luckily my name is pretty easy to pronounce, and my maiden last name is plain.  It was always hard for me to pronounce people’s names.  For potential new members in my sorority, I had to pay attention to their names and relate them to “what they were wearing, where they grew up etc”.

Everyone will be wearing those “Official Name Tags.” You know the kind, where you are staring at someone’s chest, trying to figure out who they are. I’ve met hundreds of people at blog conferences and I still forget people’s names. Don’t be embarrassed. It happens to everyone.  Many people do not use their real names in the blog world. Their name tags may only have their blog name or Twitter ID on them.  People never call me by my real name anymore, I get called “Angry Julie” mostly.

2.  Your “Best Clothes”

During Sorority Rush, I wore dresses every day.  I didn’t wear formal dresses, but more in the line of “business casual” with cute shoes and accessories.  I didn’t show up in my usual jeans, t-shirt, and flip-flops.  I was trying to give a good first impression.

Although you may be blogging from home in your sweatpants, and dirty t-shirts, those are probably not the best things to wear to a blog conference. If you blog for business, or want to blog more professionally, dress the part.  I suggest wearing something along the lines of “business casual” with some accessories, and brushing your hair. People will remember what you wore, and you will most likely be photographed in these clothes.  I’m one of those shutterbugs, and I take LOTS OF PICTURES at blog conferences.

3.  Conversation

During Sorority Rush the most common questions are: What is your name? Where are you from? What high school did you go to? What is your major? Why do you want to join a sorority?  These questions begin simple, and they get more involved once you spend more time at a particular sorority.

At a blog conference, you hear these questions: What is your name? What is the name of your blog? What is your blog about? Why are you here at BlogHer, or other conference? You need to have your “Elevator Pitch” ready.

When you really need to be ready for is “Awkward Conversations”.  There are a ton of things to do and see while at a blog conference.  You need to make the most of your time there. It can be hard when you get stuck in an “awkward conversation” with someone. Come up with a plan ahead of time. Make a signal to your friends that you are attending these events with.  I’m not trying to be rude, but I’ve spent 30 minutes talking about randomness when I missing a dinner event, etc.

4.  Parties

When I talk about Sorority Rush parties, I don’t mean the kind that comes with red plastic cups and kegs of beer.  I’m talking about intimate events where you meet the members of the Sorority.  These parties have a certain frame, and you need to make the most out of it.  Find people who you can have conversation with, and make sure to ask lots of questions.

I’m sure everyone has heard about “parties” or those special invite-only “brand events” at BlogHer.  I’ve been invited to many in the past three years, and I did not attend every party that I was invited to. Just because you are invited, doesn’t mean that you have to go.  Pick the invites that relate to you.  It doesn’t make sense for me to attend a brand event that caters to diapers. I had the most fun at an event last year held in a penthouse (ok it was private) with a small group of people.  I formed so many friendships from just two hours sitting around chatting at that event.

5.  Name Droppers

In College Life, these are the people who say: “My dad paid for the library to be built” and”My mom is an alumna of this sorority, and I’m guaranteed to get in.” You might just want to smack them.  I know I did.

In Blog Life, these are the people who say things like: “I invented blogs”, “I’ve been blogging since 2004″ and “I’m in the Top 10 List of This Website XYZ”, and “I’m so awesome on the Internet that I have 50,000 Twitter Followers and I only follow 20 people”.  It really makes me want to PIMMAL (Puke In My Mouth A Little).

Honestly, you never truly know everything about someone. Some of these little bloggers or lesser known peeps, they may have their PhD or be a rocket scientist.  So the phrase, “I’m big on the Internet” works in this case. I wish I had some t-shirts to hand out to all of the name droppers.

6. Food and Drinks (Drinking)

During Sorority Rush, you will be given finger foods and desserts.  You will have the choices of water, punch, sparkling cider, or sometimes lemonade to drink. These type of things don’t sustain you.  You have to make sure to get some food in between events.  Although alcoholic beverages are not allowed during Official Sorority Rush Events, there will be parties during the week, thrown by the Fraternities.  You really don’t want to get wasted drunk and make a fool of yourself in front of your future Sorority Sisters.

BlogHer will feed you breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday, if you purchase a Full Conference Pass.  Please make sure that you take advantage of these meals.  With the hustle and bustle of speaking panels, brand invites, Official BlogHer Parties, showering, and well, sometimes sleeping...it can be hard to intake food or even find it. Seriously, I need more food than a vegetable platter to make it through the day.  Jill and I walked several miles in New York City last year, to get food, and ended up with pizza. Take the time to make REAL dinner plans with your blogging friends. Research restaurants and places to eat in advance. Make a list of choices.  A hungry blogger is a cranky blogger.  Oh, and the alcohol is flowing.  I’ve observed one too many drunk mommy blogger. It is not pretty. People, slow down on the booze.

And it takes me like a WEEK to recover from any and all blog conferences. I have a condition, which Casey has dubbed as “Conference Colon”, it is not pretty.

7. Networking

In College, joining a Sorority or Fraternity is a great place to network.  Seriously, alumna(e) are great for job opportunities, mentoring and internships.  It was awesome finding a fellow Sorority Sister who has already taken a certain class and can give you some pointers.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said as an adult: “So and so is a Sorority Sister or Member of my Sorority, in professional situations.  Plus if you move to another state, you always have an instant group of friends with your local Alumna Chapter.  The Alumna are great for finding the right schools, doctors, and anything else you might need while transitioning.

One of the main reasons to attend a Blog Conference is for networking purposes.  It is the perfect time and place to talk to brand, Public Relations (PR) Representatives, and fellow bloggers.  You can make lasting connections through this networking.  I can email back and forth with someone for months. But meeting face-to-face and having in-person conversations is PRICELESS. While you are networking, think of the experience as a job interview, and act appropriately.

8.  Cliques

There will always be cliques or intimate and exclusive groups in school.  I don’t think that there is any way of preventing them.  While in my Sorority, some of the cliques in our Chapter were based on the Fraternities that we hung out with, and whom other girls were dating.  During Sorority Rush, it is easy to spot the different Cliques of girls within a Sorority Chapter. They usually dress or do their hair similar, and are grouped together. As a Sorority Advisor, we tried to make the cliques less obvious, but you can only try so hard with 18-20 year old girls.

Blogging and Blog Conferences bring out the cliques. Some of the cliques are based on niche, geographical location, time blogging, or certain blog networks.  Of course, I’m a total wanderer.  I’m pretty good at working a crowd, and try to fit in amongst all of the different cliques.  I can try as much as I want, but I will never fit in the: homeschooling bloggers, or male bloggers.  Moral of the story: find your people, they are out there.

9.  Gossip

I am woman, hear me roar. I am woman, and I gossip.  I cannot tell you a lie.  I do.

When you are going into or joining groups in college, gossip can be used for good.  It is always good to hear the reputations or gossip about the Sororities that you are potentially joining.  Would you want to join a Sorority that has a reputation as being slutty? Me thinks not!  You need to go into things educated, but you are also free to make your own individuals choices. Even amongst the best of friends, and Sorority Sisters, there is gossip.

Bloggers are a gossipy bunch…. Conversations such as: “Blogger XYZ is sponsored by big multi-million dollar company”, “Blogger XYZ is writing a book or is going on TV”, might occur at BlogHer.  So what! Seriously, I work hard as a personal blogger.  It takes time to come up with this mindless dribble the I post here. Can you imagine how much work that it takes to write a book, or get featured on TV? I can’t even fathom it.

10. New Friends

I made some of my best friends during Sorority Rush. I found people who I had things in common with, and even met my Sorority Big Sister, the first day of Rush.  My best friend, Stacey, and I met during Alumna events via our Sorority.  We bonded over painting the Sorority House, and getting checkbooks in order.

I’ve made some wonderful friends through blogging and blog conferences.  I’ve really secured these connections while sitting on the floor or talking in a hallway in between events at BlogHer, Blissdom, and Mom2Summit.  My friendship was forged with Tauni last year while taking a taxi from the airport in New York last year at the beginning of BlogHer.

But seriously, I love BlogHer….and I will be wearing all my fanciest dresses, headbands, and shoes just to meet you!!

If you made it through all of my rambling, you might enjoy previous posts that I wrote relating to BlogHer:

78 comments
Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)
Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)

How interesting to hear about Sorority Rush. I've never belonged to a sorority or even known anyone who was in one. Here in Canada, it is not as common. I went to the University of British Columbia and I guess there were Sororities, (my brother was in a Fraternity I think) but I think it was mostly about partying.

liz
liz

You totally work a room. You're awesome like that. Also? I'm going to start using #PIMMAL on Twitter. That makes a fab hash. I hope you have a kick ass time at BlogHer! I think this is a great post and I think your comparison to Rush is spot on.

Jess
Jess

While, college? Say wha?! is sort of my stance on the sorority rush portion of this post, the conference comparison is dead. on. I've only been to one BlogHer and a handful of smaller blogging events/conferences and I can vouch for every square inch of writing you've done on this topic. Goodnight woman you are brills!

Sabrina
Sabrina

I just saw your Lego table project at "Skip to my Lou".. I like your blog, i'm a new follower:)

Ashley
Ashley

Thank you for this... It's awesome! I'm kind of scared about Blogher, but when you put it that way? I loved rush :) this will be fun!

Tonya
Tonya

This was hilarious! I wasn't in a sorority nor did I Rush, but it was still funny. This will be my first BlogHer, second blogging conference and I'm really enjoying all the posts. Got one of my own going up tomorrow and another one next week. :)

Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity
Shan @ Last Shreds Of Sanity

Conference Colon...ROTFLMFAO!! I'm sure it's not pleasant, but it's funny as hell. One day I will make it to a Blog conference. Hopefully soon.

Jen Burden
Jen Burden

This is brilliant, and after reading this...I must meet you!! I can sooooo relate to this. And, now you're making me really think about my outfits! lol I love this line: "During Sorority Rush, it is easy to spot the different Cliques of girls within a Sorority Chapter. They usually dress or do their hair similar, and are grouped together." I can just picture it back in college!! lol! Seriously, let's chat at BlogHer. Jen Burden

Cat Davis
Cat Davis

I gotta admit Julie, you're making Blogher sound like a shy girls worst nightmare. LOL In 3 years blogging I still haven't been to a conference and probably won't until it comes back to Chicago.

workout mommy
workout mommy

I love this post! So very true, especially the part about the drunk mommy bloggers. :) I'm missing it this year again (sigh) but hopefully I'll make it next time!

Mo
Mo

I'm going to BlogHer for the first time this year and I was nervous enough about meeting people and not coming off as socially inept and then you throw in the thing about actually dressing for the conference. Oddly, it never occurred to me to wear anything other than some nice jeans and a cute top. Oy. I think I need to rethink my wardrobe.

Trish
Trish

Oh Lord. I hope not!

The Sweetest
The Sweetest

Well, now I have officially had the crap scared out of me. I went through sorority rush 20 years ago and cried every day of it. Screw sororities. I'll be at BlogHer, hiding in the corner behind a ficus tree with a glass of wine in my hand. Someone please come rescue me.

Andrea Fellman
Andrea Fellman

My favorite part of BlogHer last year was sitting around and in the gigantic tub in that Penthouse Suite party and just talking with a tub of smart women! I am excited to see you again:) Its been a very long time!

Scary Mommy
Scary Mommy

Yes, yes and yes. And, we ARE getting pizza again this year, right?!

NotJustAnotherJennifer
NotJustAnotherJennifer

What a great reference point! I've not been to a conference yet (maybe someday), but it seemed a bit out of my league, overwhelming, mystifying even. But from one sorority girl to another, now that I know to prep for it like rush, I'm less intimidated. :) Fabulous post!

Jennifer K.
Jennifer K.

Awesome post! This will be my first Blogher, and I'm VERY excited. I've also been devoting a lot of time in to picking out my outfits for the entire fete. Day outfits, evening outfits, the 5K outfit. It's madness! But hey, at least my new stock of business cards has arrived. Can't wait to see you there, Julie!

Mama Kat
Mama Kat

First and foremost? More pictures like THAT please!! SO funny!! #2 You are incapable of having an awkward conversation. #3 LOVE this post and love being a part of this sorority.

Jen {Tiny Oranges}
Jen {Tiny Oranges}

Love this post...BlogHer this year will be my first conference. I am now prepared for some flashbacks to Sorority Rush in 1992!

Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy
Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy

I was one of the two first girls even in the history of my small private college not to get invites after rush week. BlogHer better be WAY better than a sorority lol Actually after attending a small conference last week I am so not worried about the social element. I am worried about the food part and scheduling. And I'll need weeks to recover from it all

Cheryl @ Mommypants
Cheryl @ Mommypants

I'm sorry..you lost me in the beginning when you said YOU were in a sorority. Never would've guessed that. Although that picture of you? Classic. Also, I forgot how many pictures you take. I was planning on wearing the same stuff I wore last year, so if you could use those pictures when i was a year younger, I'd appreciate it. xo

Jen-Eighty MPH Mom
Jen-Eighty MPH Mom

You've hit the nail on the head! Last year was my first time at BlogHer and I learned so much (more from the social side). I was also shocked at how little I ate. Your advice to plan meals is good. It is so incredibly busy, and very little down time. Carrying a breakfast bar or snack in your purse is a good idea too. I hope I will meet you this year!

Sherri
Sherri

This is perfect! You know your way around a BlogHer conference, for sure! This is my first conference for blogging at all, and this post is the best I've read!

Marcela
Marcela

This is great! So funny, perfect for me, will be my first BlogHer!

Average Jane
Average Jane

Aagh! I'm guilty of #4. Sometimes it takes the form of "I've been blogging since 2004" but at the conference itself it's usually, "I've been to every BlogHer Conference since they started." That *is* kind of obnoxious, now that I think about it.

Debbie Goldberg
Debbie Goldberg

Hi Julie - Love PIMMAL. Make the shirt! Hope to meet you at BlogHer. Debbie

sharon garofalow
sharon garofalow

Awesome Julie!! Thanks for sharing! Especially the pic of you in the doorway. ;)

Sarah Auerswald
Sarah Auerswald

I want a PIMMAL t-shirt! Now go and make me one. I will buy it.

Jen
Jen

I am definitely more prepared for Blogher this year than I was last year. I was a wide eyed freshman who got rejected during rush and was blindsided. Not this year. I know what I am getting into. I was always more GDI and it suits me well.

Amber
Amber

I never did the sorority thing (quite frankly, they scared the crap out of me), but I can totally see how BlogHer is like that. I tend to be clique-less, so if you see me wandering...

Toni Spilsbury
Toni Spilsbury

Good information to know. This will be my first year attending BlogHer. Thank you so much for your post; I learned as much if not more from it than the actual conference manual. Looking forward to meeting you, Angry Julie!

Danielle Smith
Danielle Smith

As if I didn't love you already..... *sigh* I can't wait to hug your neck. This made me laugh. I love the picture. And it gave me serious flashbacks to rush. Serious. I *might* have started singing sorority songs in my head. I promise not to force you to listen. xoxo

Angie
Angie

Great advice - I'm taking notes for future conferences. And while I won't be going to BlogHer this year, I'm fresh off my first ever blogging conference and it was a really good experience. There were a few name droppers, but the biggest faux pas I witnessed (in my opinion, of course) was one blogger whose entry into every conversation was "So what's your klout?" Ouch! I totally didn't want to spend even 5 minutes with that person!

Jen
Jen

I am so excited to be going to BlogHer for the first time this year. I can't wait.

Tracy
Tracy

....but is there a night when everyone retreats into a room, pictures of rushees/new conference attendees are flashed onto a screen and everyone votes yay or nay? For our sorority we silently held up green, yellow or red cards. If you wanted to comment on the rushees you could ONLY use adjectives from a formal list of words that had been handed out at the beginning of the meeting. Like, "Heidi is confident, fast and simple"= Heidi is a dumb ho that thinks she's hot sh*t. ;) 1993 RULED!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Susan, my sorority is actually at University of British Columbia. Yep, and so very similar to blog conferences.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

PIMMAL is the most awesome word ever....I'm sad that you will not be at BlogHer, so that I can't take totally inappropriate blackmail photos of you.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Really, you don't need a visual of conference colon. It involved me with bloat and very tight pants. This is like the closest a blog conference will ever get to you!!!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

LOL...I'm a lot more entertaining in person, I promise!! Doesn't it totally bring back memories.... Yes, I will be floating around at BlogHer.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Of course, and we won't wear painful shoes.....right? I can't wait to see you Jill!!!!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

No problem! And if you need help with your wardrobe (saw in your tweets), let me know. I'm only a few blocks away.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

I love that term "GDI". Last year was my second BlogHer so I was much more prepared. It is really hard to describe BlogHer to some people. I'm sure you will be fine. And seriously, having it in San Diego this year is so much less stress than New York City was.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Wandering is always good. I'm a wanderer. BlogHer is also some really entertaining people watching too.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

I try to make you laugh always Danielle. And yes, I save up really terrible photos of myself for posts like that. Although, I might have looked at the picture and thought, "wow, my thighs look quite nice and thin there"...yes I'm a freak. Can't wait to see you and talk about odd things like white sandals.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Someone seriously asked you what your Klout was? That makes me laugh...

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

You made me laugh so hard. My favorite word was "cliniqueable". As in, if you put some Clinique make-up on her, she might be cute.

Sherri
Sherri

Yours made me laugh and relax about my clothes; this one sort of tied it all together for me...and now? I think I've read enough BlogHer11 conferences posts! On with the show... And you KNOW I love me some Cheryl...

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