Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BlogHer Report 2--Wrap up

Well, BlogHer is over, and I didn't get a chance to post anything else while I was there. The event was alternately enlightening, fun, tedious and exhausting. I met some really nice and interesting people--but had I been feeling less shy, I probably would have met more. I think there were about a thousand attendees--most of whom were women. . .who knew what a force we are? I guess I should have figured that out when I saw the huge amount of swag, as well as all the other things the exhibitors and sponsors prepared for us. For goodness sake. . .there was a Sesame street lounge--with a set-- where we got to be taped (or dvd'd, as it were) with one of the muppets (Grover or Abby Cadabby). They also had the best food. Quite a spread at all times. Ostensibly the Street folks were there to draw attention to new parental features on their website. That's all fine and good, but how can you really compare that with a conversation with Grover? You can't. No competition.

Because I am, as always pressed for time, here are a few random thoughts I had about the event:

1. One of the coolest things about BlogHer was the age-range of the attendees. The youngest I saw was a girl of 15 (I eavesdropped on a conversation she and the woman beside me were having at one of the panel discussions). At the other end of the spectrum, there were also a significant number of women in attendance who could have been grandmothers. And we were all there together, mixing it up, with more in common, perhaps, than we might otherwise have known.

2. You don't have to go to all the panels and forums. Some are boring, some are helpful--but I learned not to feel guilty about not hitting everything. Quite frankly, it was exhausting enough as it was. Anyone who thinks she is getting a nice relaxing break from home life when she attends one of these conferences may have another thing coming. The first day, I took my lunch and went to my room to eat and take care of some things. And to be alone. I decided I'd close my eyes for a few minutes, then head to the next panel. Well, 2 hours or more later I awoke. At first I felt panicked and guilty. Here I'd paid all this money for this conference. I came to learn--and yet I (unintentionally) ditched class. Ultimately, I decided it was probably better that I slept if I was so tired. In the end, there was only one panel I missed that I regretted not attending. And surprise, surprise, the world did not come to an end.

3. Like any other conference, BlogHer is as much about networking as anything else. I need to get my skills up to date. My poor husband had to fed ex my business cards to me, as I accidentally forgot to pack them. And if you don't have cards--woe unto you.

4. There is a whole commercial side of blogging that I was not aware of. Whether I choose to go that route remains to be seen. I started this blog because I wanted to write. Would I like it to lead to other writing opportunities? Perhaps something paid? Absolutely, yes. But I don't know if I want to invest the time it takes to fully commercialize my site. (Not that it particularly lends itself to that at this point anyway). Some people actually make their living from their blogs. Go figure.

5. There is so much out there on the internet and in the Blogosphere that I knew nothing about. I'm slightly more well-versed, but I still have a long, long way to go.

6. It was immensely ironic that the wifi internet connection worked so poorly at BlogHer. After all--we were all there BECAUSE of the internet--and yet, there were times we could not access it to post to our blogs, answer e-mails or whatever. Very frustrating.

7. You could tell the event was planned by women: Among other things, childcare was included and there was a Lactation Lounge. It was also extremely well-organized. Now how hard does it have to be for others to follow suit?

8. The folks who run the Silicon Valley Moms blog and their sister publications are fantastic, give great swag AND know how to throw the best parties. They arranged so many wonderful things for us to do, parties to go to, etc. My personal favorite was the makeover and headshot at Saks. Each and every one of us in attendance (there were over 100 of us, I believe) could participate in that event, free of charge.

9. I am too old for loud music and nightclubs. I am also going deaf in my right ear.

10. I am more creative when I don't drink. Ask the folks at Chevrolet.

11. There are a huge number of impressive women out there--who apparently never sleep if they do all the things they seem to.

12. Not everyone in attendance was bright or a good writer. Whew. And some folks clearly forgot their lithium.

13. As with many things in life, luck and timing probably play a large role in who is super-successful (whether you define that from the standpoint of numbers of readers or money made) in this sphere. There are some folks who are talented, but who are not clearly that much more talented than many other unknown bloggers out there. Right place, right time--it still means something.

Okay, that's enough randomness for now. I will hopefully have something more interesting and better written for you in the near future. Of course, I am going out of town for a week starting Sunday, and I don't know whether I'll be able to even access a computer.



Florinda said...

I'm definitely probably going next year.

Regarding some of your random thoughts:

3. Guess I'd better get some of those (business cards unrelated to my day job).

4. I definitely have mixed feelings about the commercial side of blogging too. Like you, I can see it as a springboard to other writing opportunities that might make some money, but not a moneymaker itself.

12. & 13. That's a relief :-).

Thanks for sharing your impressions!

R... said...

I was sorry to miss it so appreciate your thoughts on the experience - random or not!