Okay, first of all, there were many other bloggers at BlogPaws and several of them are posting some great in-depth, thoughtful and practical (put-it-to-use) stuff on their blogs. If you're looking for detailed breakout session recaps, or the full, Thursday through Saturday experience, I urge you to go check out some of these other great sites!
On the other hand, if you want to see/read about what Jon Farleigh, Dewi and I experienced in 23 hours (of which eight were spent sleeping), please, stay here!
Still here? Great! Let's go!
The dogs and I arrived at the hotel after a three-hour, traffic-laden drive (during which the dogs were crated in the cargo area of the car). You can just imagine what they were like when I released them from their cramped quarters. Nevertheless, we made it through check-in and not one stranger got bowled over by a Corgi.
See the little "paw" on the carpet in front of Dewi? They were my assurance that I had not accidentally shown up at the wrong hotel.
Because of traffic, I conveniently [insert heavy sarcasm] arrived a few minutes before lunch. A fully catered, sit-down, eight-to-a-table, two-course, you-could-not-blend-into-the-wall affair. (Imagine the first day of 7th grade, but you don't know anyone, and you somehow missed first through third periods and had to go directly to the cafeteria without stopping at your locker. Yeah. That was me.) I debated skipping lunch, but I was starving, and I paid for it. And I saw this on the tables:
Cheesecake: "Eat me! Eat me!"
So I used a lifeline, and phoned a friend:
Laurie Eno from The Daily Corgi!
Jon Farleigh and Dewi refused to turn away from us.
To all my Corgi friends: Laurie is REAL and she only has TWO arms! And in addition to being a great writer, super-blogger and Corgi-lover, she is a super nice person! I'm so thrilled to have had the chance to meet and talk to her, in person, about dogs, cats, life and bloggy stuff. It was soooo cool that Jon Farleigh and Dewi got to hang out with her, too.
So, yes, Laurie saved me from my wallflower ways and not only did I get to sit down and eat, but I got to eat with Laurie, and several other really nice ladies (including my conference "shadow" Sarah) from Oldies but Goodies (OBG) Cocker Spaniel Rescue.
The hotel room to pee (me, not the dogs). Then, the dogs and I went outside so they could pee.
My first breakout session: The Wonderful Widgets of Oz, facilitated by the adorably capable Lauren Spencer of Fetching Communications.
Okay, so although the dogs were allowed (even encouraged) to come along for the breakout sessions, I quickly learned that managing two energetic (and happy) Corgis on leash, while also attempting to look in the direction of the speaker, listen and take legible notes, was impossible. So I just listened as best I could.
Meanwhile, the nice lady at the end of my row invited Dewi to sit in the chair beside her.
Jon Farleigh, don't even think about getting up here.
In case you're wondering, the session was about the benefits of and how to add popular (think Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube) social media widgets (badges) to a blog/web site.
Random fact learned: Did you know that YouTube is the second largest Web search engine, behind Google? Want to increase traffic to your site? Upload your pet's videos to YouTube and then add a YouTube widget to your site. (I have one in my sidebar.)
So maybe I did learn a thing or two at BlogPaws, but the best thing that happened in the "Widget" session had nothing to do with the presentation at all.
Unfortunately, though, I've run out of time! (boo)
Stay tuned for Part 2!