I've been to a few blogger conferences. I even went to Blogher '12 this year... which was epic! There is Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged, Blogher, Type A, Aiming Low NON CON (which I am a part of the executive planning team!), Blogalicious, and soooo many many more. I gotta say, though, if you are comparing blog conferences you cannot put AWBU or Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged in this line up. AWBU is in a league of its own. So what is #AWBU?
Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged Conference is a conference for Arkansas women who blog, who are taking time to unplug, and who are willing to be intentional.
Intentional? What does a conference have to do with that?
AWBU plans their conference from the food, to the setting, to the classes and events offered in a manner that encourages women to reconnect to each other in a face to face way.
Cultivating relationship, both online and off, takes intentional investment, and intentional investment is what this stripped down conference is about.
I attended last year and made a fool of myself by bedazzling my Chacos. To.this.day I am great friends with amazing women I met at this conference, and those who aren't as close still support my work as a blogger. We are all competitive, for sure... but the level of caring, I think, is unique.
Sure there is swag (we are even getting Country Outfitters BOOTS this year)
At AWBU there are classes/sessions, there are fun giveaways and party time with other bloggers, and there is copious amounts of inappropriate penis jokes (mostly told by me), but what you'll find MOST at AWBU is a sense of purposely slowing down the pace and being present with each other. Bloggers, Social Media mavens, and all the persuasions therein are plugged into the internet continually. It wouldn't be out of place for us to tweet each other while sitting in the same room! This pace is vital for the ever changing inter-webs, but isn't always the best for human...er....webs. We humans in our human-web crave balance and connection. In a lineup of go go go go fast paced blog conferences, AWBU changes the direction and literally UNPLUGS us from the rat race. If you go to Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged you'll find women, mostly from Arkansas, unplugging, unwinding, and reconnecting to each other- intentionally.
Are there negative aspects of AWBU? Yep! You'll meet people you don't jive with, go to sessions you don't benefit from, or maybe even get served food you don't like. Like anything else, you'll experience parts you aren't a fan of--- but I think, in large, what you will take away is the impression that these women, the women who plan and operate #AWBU and the women who are drawn in as attendees, are made of something special... something different...and something very intentional.
So come to Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged! I'll be there working hard to be intentional and only tweeting in the bathroom stall when TOTALLY necessary!