BlogHer 09 Recap
If you’re following Twitter or the Blogosphere, you know that there is a LOT being said, in support of and critically speaking about the conference. And that’s ok. Unlike BlogHer Business, which I covered here, it was a really good experience. I’ve come up with a few points I wanted to share, but really want to reserve the right to add more to the conversation.
First off – BlogHer will always be a must go for me, personally and professionally, because of the quality of the attendees there. This year continued that tradition.
The people – without a doubt, this is the best part of BlogHer. Where else can you find a group of 1500 women where you are almost guaranteed to have something in common with every one of them? Case in point – the birds of a feather lunch. I saw that there was an empty slot, so I wrote in a lunch topic – “Special Needs Parents.” I returned about an hour later, expecting to see me sitting alone, but it turned out that the table was about full. I had a lovely lunch with some amazing women and enjoyed learning all about their cool kids. I’ll blog more about that in a separate post, but that’s the kind of thing that is just waiting for you at BlogHer. You need to come out of your shell a bit and reach out – believe me, people will be right there with you, and you never know where a conversation will lead you.
Another case in point – sitting in the back of the Blog To Book session, I met Rock and Roll Mama (well, she came over to me when I was shaking my head about something a panelist said). We got to talking, and she’s got some stuff brewing that I was certainly interesting. Plus, she was a really cool chick.
I remember expecting this when I went to SXSW last year. I loved the people I met, but I hated the sessions. Of course, everyone told me when I got back from SXSW that it’s all about the conversations. The panels are not where the action is, it’s in the interaction between attendees. In return, I always used to say that the reason BlogHer kicks ass over SXSW is because it has great panels. This year, not so much. It seemed weird that the main tracks were divided into “Mommyblogging” and “the Business of You” and that was it. The more diverse, interesting panels became Rooms of your Own. This is a little hard to get across to someone who wasn’t there, but previous BH conference have had 4-5 main tracks, increasing the diversity of the conversations. Most of the “Business of You” sessions didn’t strike the right chord – they either didn’t engage or were for someone looking for a 30,000 feet explanation. I felt the Rooms of Your Own were the most interesting, yet the choice of the smaller, hotter, totally crowded rooms made it harder to attend and participate. I hope that will change next year. Kelly from Mocha Momma ran a GREAT panel that deserved a bigger audience. Oh wait, she HAD that bigger audience, they were just in the hallway between that room and the Men of BlogHer session.
I heard great things about the International Activist presentations, but it was at a conflicted time so I didn’t attend. Regretting that.
I didn’t attend many of the Geek Lab sessions – I went to one for WordPress, but the woman was talking at such a high level and getting frustrated when people didn’t understand what she was saying that I left for the beginning WordPress session. This of course was too beginning as they were showing how to sign up for an account. Something in the middle would have been nice, but hey, they were both carried out as advertised, so I cannot complain.
Swag = I am so sick of hearing about this. Yes, I am a swag whore. I got my coupon for a free pair of GAP jeans, several jars of P-Doh (what my son calls Play-Doh – too cute), and more. I don’t judge anyone who takes it or hands it out. I do wish the recycle suite were a true recycle suite, not just a handful of tables in a dark corner of the expo hall. Last year, Swaggle ran it, and they took the time to organize it neatly. I held up BlogHer as a model of progressive conference going in this regards. This year, it was a messy dumping ground. Go back to what it was, you were doing much better then!
The venue – good side, the hotel had some of the best food I have ever had at a conference. Bad side, it was really do it yourself when it came to almost everything. Call for bellman…call again for bellman….visit belldesk downstairs to hope and pray for bellman. I had a problem with my room and it took MANY visits to the front desk to straighten that out. I certainly do not blame BH for this – in fact one night when I was down there at midnight, I ran into Jory Des Jardins who kept apologizing to me for my problems. SO NOT HER FAULT, but that was sweet to hear that from her.
Overall, it was a good conference. I could also see this conference being expanded to 2 1/2 or even 3 days to get everything in. I know that would up the costs, but I really felt like I was missing out on stuff, whether it was chit chatting with the other bloggers or a cool session.
Again, because I cannot say it enough or as clearly, BlogHer will always be a must go for me, personally and professionally, because of the quality of the attendees there.
But enough about me…what did you think?
*** In the spirit of full disclosure, my company was a BlogHer sponsor for the past 3 years and sponsored BlogHer Business in 2008*****
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