Talk about a pawty! The 2012 BlogPaws Pet Blogging & Social Media Conference was a gathering in Salt Lake City of the most motivational, inspirational, educational, completely crazy pet fanatics in the country! Over 1,500 pet bloggers (some with their pets) came to learn and network in the most casual, fun conference environment I could imagine. Being my first conference EVER, I had no idea what to expect. Would I fit in? Would they view me as a professional? Would they like my blog...my photos...ME? Geared with my opening line (or awkward silence filler) "How do you like Salt Lake City? It's funny...My dog's name is Utah!" I dove right into the mob.
The three-day event opened with Tillman The Skateboarding Dog. Now, to some, this wild little English Bulldog may seem like just another dog who rides a skateboard. But, in fact, he holds the WORLD RECORD for Fastest Skateboarding Dog! And let me tell you...he is FAST! He's even been known to knock kids off their boards, hop on and ride away. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen! Check out the video on my Facebook page to see for yourself. You can also see him ALL over YouTube. Laughing for half hour straight had worked up an appetite, and just in time for the opening dinner that followed Tillman's performance.
Between the keynote speakers, educational sessions, vendor booths, activities, entertainment, food and furbabies, there was something interesting around EVERY corner of this conference. Co-Founder of Petfinder.com, Betsy Saul, brought an in-depth look to animal welfare. Dr. Daniel Aja of Hills Pet Nurtrition filled us in on helpful information regarding pet diets. Songwriter and singer Sarah Donner performed quirky songs about cats. Lena West of Influence Expansion opened our eyes with no-nonsense advice. And Ken Bell had us all sobbing during his screening of the most emotional film about dogs I've ever seen, "Hero Dogs of 9/11." The television channel Who Let The Dogs Out conducted interviews of attendees to here more about their blogging journeys. Oh, and let's not forget the Flat Pet Flash Dance that was performed by BlogPaws community members who brought flat versions of their pets along with them instad of the real deal. Too funny! A TON of prizes were raffled off, including a Cat Encyclopedia which I won...Yippy! The conference wrapped up with the First Annual Nose-To-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards as well as several huge checks donated to various shelters and foundations throughout the country.
Picking which sessions to attend may have been the most difficult task during the conference. With so many options and overlapping schedules, it was hard to choose. Among the list were: Monetization, Getting Creative With Social Media, Cash In On Your Content, Wordpress 101, Google+, Make Your Blog A Traffic Magnet, How To Get Your Book Published, The Power Of YouTube/Pinterest, Taking Your Blog Local, Analytics... Those are just a few of the amazing classes offered. The committee also scheduled after parties in downtown Salt Lake City for the attendees to get a breath of fresh air.
Not only did I gain a TON of insight from this conference, but I also gained knowledge, inspiration, a boat load of swag and some new friends who I look forward to keeping in contact with. The entire experience was something I'll never forget, and I can't wait for next year's BlogPaws conference! If you have a pet-related blog, I highly recommend joining the BlogPaws Community and attending their annual conference. Next year's will be held in Tysons Corner, VA. But, before you do, leave a comment below to let me know so we can be BlogPaws buddies :)