Many of my fellow authors are off to the Romantic Times convention. I went a couple years ago when the convention was in Pittsburgh. It's quite a show. I'm following this year's via Twitters and blogs.
Reading the various posts and tweets it occurred to me that those reports are similar to press reports of the Oscar hoopla...in that they don't bear the vaguest resemblance to what is actually going on.
I remember reading various blogs about the RT convention I went to and thinking Where was I when this was going on? Clearly, I wasn't in the same location. Was I even in the same hotel?
For new attendees, it's a huge blur of people, events, colors and experiences. I suspect it takes years to actually know enough authors and movers and shakers to experience the events as reported. If the new author isn't prepared for that, it can be a disappointing experience. My take on conferences and conventions?
Go for the fun of it. Go with no expectations. Go to meet your fellow authors. Gawk and take pictures like a tourist. Try not to do anything you don't want to see on a stranger's blog. Relax and enjoy.