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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Debunking BlogHer Myths

Like any good analyst, I read quite a lot about BlogHer before I attended the conference this past weekend. In fact, I've been reading pre- and post-conference posts for a number of years, and I've seen many, many advice posts. Here's a list of what I now know, since having experienced it this one time only makes me truly an expert. ;)
  • You will meet a lot of people in the lobby of the hotel: TRUE! I was positively stunned to meet Colleen in the lobby approximately 14 seconds after picking up my conference registration. I've been following her for years, from when I first complained about missing BlogHer back in 2009. She joined Kimberly and me for lunch, and finding her was an excellent way to start our trip. After lunch Kimberly and I spent even more time in the lobby, meeting Casey and many more in the process. The lobby rocks.
  • You will see the same people over and over again: TRUE! I realize now that some of this is due to "like choosing like"--that people who gravitated towards one type of session might also show up at a similar session (hi Danielle and Tabatha!). But I met Lea looking for the shuttle back to the hotel and saw her a million times, and we met Ashley at the very start of a day and saw her again at the very end. We checked out the Serenity Suite early in the conference and met the amazing Kelli, Sarah, Heather, Ellie and Stacey there, and basically ended the conference in the same place, with the same women. Real relationships happened.
  • You need to bring lots of snacks and a surge protector: In the words of the MythBusters, BUSTED. I did this and just ended up with sore shoulders and a heavy suitcase. I never opened my surge protector, despite using someone's at some point each day, and was able to find a close outlet whenever I needed one. I thought there were plenty of snacks available too, and announced to the entire Storytelling session that I had brought a giant bag of Skittles with me that I did not want back. And I was even more thrilled when Jenni and Vikki then wove the topic of Skittles in to the session.
  • You should dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes: TRUE! Yes, yes, lots of people say this, but it's absolutely true and I listened. I never ended up removing any of my layers (denim blazer one day, sweater cardigan the next), and my feet never hurt (sparkly Toms and Naots to thank for that). 
  • Voices of the Year and the Fashion Show are amazing: TRUE ISN'T A GOOD ENOUGH WORD. Yes, it's awesome to be in the same room as Queen Latifah and Wendi McLendon-Covey but I assure you that they spent those evenings feeling more like sideshows than the main event. The bloggers showcased in these programs were truly phenomenal. For once I gave arm-straining claps and standing ovations, not just "likes" and tweets. You can see the full list of those honored and a glimpse in to the fashion show.

In a future post, I'll be sharing some of what I learned from the sessions and keynote speakers, and talking about the big brand question...once I do a little more soul searching on that part. There has been a lot of quick-to-pounce criticism floating around about the event this year, particularly by people who chose not to attend. I'm here to tell you that I have very little to say about BlogHer that isn't overwhelmingly positive. I took exactly what I wanted from the experience, and sailed through it on pure adrenaline and a love for what I was doing. And I already can't wait for next year.

17 comments:

  1. I am about to write odes to the comfort of my Naots too. Great minds have comfortable feet, apparently.

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  2. Hooray! So glad you took the time to write and post this. I've been thinking it. But my thoughts don't always leave my brain except by way of drool.

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    1. I'm kind of shocked I was this coherent myself.

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  3. It was a true pleasure to meet you ... and running into you on the escalator on Saturday night gave me the boost I needed to not crawl into bed at 9:15 ;-)

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  4. STILL can't believe I didn't see you again after that first random meeting! But... that meeting is absolutely one of my favorite times at BlogHer13.

    Can't wait to see you again at BlogHer14!!!!

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    1. Definitely! Thanks for getting pizza with us!

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  5. I think the negativity gets out there every year, an inevitable backlash because the event is SO big. I had felt like I didn't "need" BlogHer this year and yeah, I was so wrong. This is going to be a must-attend for me every year. End of story.

    (Also good to hear about the outlets. Cuz that was not so fun last year. And I hear the wifi WORKED. Miraculous!)

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    1. I can't wait to go with you next year. And yes, the wifi held in most places, except for the real basement-y parts.

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  6. That cab picture cracks me up.

    You guys are so much fun. I'm glad you were the Serenity Suite crew this year.

    Here's to next year! *raises glass of ginger ale* ;)

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    1. Especially because you tweeted me from the other side of the cab. Miss you.

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  7. Great post! Thank you for sharing! This was my second BlogHer annual and I echo many of your reflections. :)

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  8. Meeting you was an absolute highlight of the conference for me! Thank you for getting your serenity on with me. Look forward to seeing much more of you in the future!!

    -xo

    -Ellie

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  9. It looks like you had a lot of fun at the conference. I hope that I am able to go in a few years. I know that you always learn a lot from others when you go to events.

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