I worked for a blog/social media conference for three years and whenever I saw people calling bloggers unprofessional or making fun of “mom blogger vacations” I’d cringe. If anyone knows how seriously bloggers take what they do, it’s me.
Most of the bloggers I know are professional and take their conferences in the manner in which they’re intended. They use their time away to network, learn and collaborate. However, there are also bloggers who ruin it for everyone else. They have a strong sense of entitlement or have no clue what it means to be professional. Sometimes through their words and actions they inadvertently become a case study on what not to do.
This morning I received a link via Facebook messaging leading to a blog post at The Martha Project entitled, “So you’re going to be hosting BlogHer at your hotel...” I thought I was going to be treated to a funny and entertaining post about people tweeting in the lobby and photographing food. Instead, I found a post filled with nothing but entitlement. The blogger, whose name is Jen, posted an open letter to the Sheraton Chicago who will be hosting BlogHer in a few weeks. She wanted to prepare hotel management for what’s to come.
After explaining what a blogger is, because apparently hotel staff aren’t hip or in touch enough to know, Jen goes on to tell the hotel what to expect if BlogHer attendees aren’t treated super special.
3) What should I expect from bloggers? You should expect from them as you would any other customer unless you piss them off. Then? Expect your social media to BLOW UP LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. You should warn whoever* runs the twitter and or Facebook page now. Really. And buy them a bottle of vodka for each of the 3 nights that the conference is going to be there. (*feel free to tweet me @thenextmartha to say thanks for the vodka I just got you)
Of all people bloggers especially should know that this is not what social media is or what it should be used for. In essence, Jen is using what I like to refer to as “social media blackmail.”
Do you know what most professionals (and yes, that includes bloggers) do if something isn’t satisfactory? They discreetly take it to the front desk. If that doesn’t work, they discreetly take it to management. However, it’s all handled person to person and not brought out into the general public.
I ask you, if bloggers tweeted all day in a negative fashion about their host hotels, how difficult will it be for blogging conferences to find hotels to hold their conferences in the future? Very difficult. This attitude and entitlement can make things awful for BlogHer moving forward. If anything, Jen should be buying the vodka for hotel AND BlogHer after putting them all through so much crap.
Listed “under other stuff to know” is this gem:
Swag. What does that mean? It means that there are corporate sponsored parties that donate items to get them into the hands of this shopping powerhouse of the family. How does this affect you? Housekeeping. At the end of last year’s conference my room had ½ a closet stacked 3 feet high with stuff we decided to not pack and bring home. We left a note explaining that we were leaving housekeeping with any of the stuff we left. A lot of this stuff is NOT junk. It simply cannot all be taken. Please come up with a policy for items left behind in the room for housekeeping if you don’t already have one.
Here’s an idea: instead of putting the onus on housekeeping to find a home for your left behind swag, how about you don’t take it all back to your room? I assume you know how much luggage you brought with you. I assume you can eyeball everything you’re carrying back to your room. If it doesn’t fit, don’t bring it upstairs. And if you did bring it upstairs and it’s looking like it won’t fit, bring it to BlogHer’s swag exchange room where you can leave it for someone else or the people at BlogHer will donate it.
Way to get out from under the “swag whore” myth, there.
I once requested late check out from my hotel room after a blogging conference. I left the door of my hotel room open as I worked and the conversations from housekeeping left me furious. Rooms were left in shambles. Room service trays, food spilled all over beds, glasses and booze bottles all over, but what bothered them was the waste.
Bloggers think they’re doing housekeeping a great big favor by leaving all this swag behind, but not everyone wants your left over squeezeballs and shampoo samples. So get over yourself and clean up your own dang mess. And leave a good tip too, because the staff deserves it.
Don’t water down the coffee you serve us. Don’t. We’ll hunt you down and kill you with hashtags. #WheresTheCaffeineSheraton?
Really? You’re going to accuse them before you even get there? And you’re going to create a whole social media campaign to slam the free coffee, coffee that cost a ton for the conference organizers to put out there? If it’s not to your liking find a Starbucks. Chicago is sure to have more than a few within walking distance.
Here’s the thing…
And when it’s over? You can thank me for giving you a heads up.
Or bloggers can thank you for setting them back and proving the myth that they’re entitled, unprofessional, and special.
Bloggers, if you’re going to write posts like this and let others know that you’re special cases deserving of special treatment, and if you’re going to tell brands that if they don’t make you happy you’re going to get all hashtaggy on them, be prepared for the repercussions. Don’t get all outraged when the Wall Street Journal paints you in a less than favorable light or people don’t take you seriously in what you do. If you want people to see you as a professional, act professional. You can’t have it both ways.