BlogHer ’09, From My Perspective
I’m still trying to process the whole BlogHer weekend because, dude, it was a whirlwind. I arrived late on Wednesday, geared up and energized, then left early Sunday, totally drained, but motivated. I will only touch on the highlights of BlogHer because, seriously, there is just too much tell. Don’t get too excited though, it’s still a novel.
NETWORKING. My main mission in attending BlogHer was networking with online friends and new contacts. I went up to everyone I could, both big and small names, to tell them about myself and learn more about them. I was not star-struck or intimated by anyone, because, seriously, in the grand scheme of life, they are just people, like me, who like to blog. Lori, from @acowboyswife, told me at the Nikon party that someone was scared to approach her. We both laughed and thought it was silly that anyone would be fearful of introducing themselves. Soon after, at the next party, someone said the exact same thing to me, and I was shocked! So, please, never be afraid to approach someone, no matter who they are! On that note, there were a few who I could see as unapproachable, but I didn’t let it stop me. I met so many wonderful women and men, and I feel so grateful.
SWAG. I’m sure you have heard by now that there was all kinds of swag drama at BlogHer, and there was. There was miscommunication about who would get swag, then people who were taking more than one bag, and blah, blah, blah. It was quite comical and baffling, really. There were parties that myself and others were supposed to receive a bag of swag, and we didn’t. It was too bad that we didn’t, I guess, but my heart still kept beating, and that wasn’t why I paid close to $1000 to go to BlogHer in the first place, because I could have bought better swag with that budget. I will say that I agree with several others in that the parties with swag hand-outs needed a better system. I suggest that these groups use single-file lines and only give swag to those people who are on a strict RSVP list for that particular party. Also, there must be enough bags for everyone at each party in order to avoid the pushing & shoving that I witnessed. To place bags of goodies in the middle of the room for a free-for-all, is not fair, or safe to people just trying to have a fun, relaxing time. BowlHer did a GREAT job with their swag, in my opinion. (I’m assuming everyone got a bag there)
PARTIES. A few parties were weird, some awkward, but most were FABULOUS. I won’t go through each party specifically, but will point out my favorites as being EA Summer in the City, MamaPopRocks, BowlHer, and Nikon. Now, before you ask, no, I do not think Nikon hates babies, and it was a restaurant issue, not Nikon personally. It was so nice to let loose and just dance at the MamaPopRocks party because, really, how often do I get to dance? I was very sore the next day, but it was well worth it.
SESSIONS. Like the parties, some were weird, and some were fabulous. I only made it to 3 of the 6 sessions because of time issues and conflicts. Of the three I did attend, only one was truly beneficial to me, and I won’t name which one that was. I think since we’re all in different places with our businesses and blogs, sessions are a hit or miss, which is to be expected with such a large BlogHer attendance. I appreciate the panelists who took the time to speak to us, and some were extremely helpful and knowledgeable.
FRIENDS. I made new friends! I feel as if I created relationships that will last forever, which may seem hard to believe after a mere four days in Chicago, but it’s true. Most attendees were very friendly, and wanted to know more about each other, which I thought was great. My partner in crime, Tonya (@tjstaab), and I had a blast together, and I am soooo thankful for that. I have already talked on the phone with several others since I’ve been home, and I really, really miss them all!
CELEBS. Yes, there were celebrities at BlogHer, including Paula Deen (listened to her speak for a good 30 minutes), Carson Kressley (we mingled with him at the Nikon party & he was at our hotel), Rick Bayless (didn’t know who he was until I returned home, he’s from OKC), Tim Gunn (only took a quick pic of him), and President Obama. Well, okay, President Obama was just in town, and not for BlogHer, but we did go to the same hotel he was speaking in for the SocialLuxe party, so that counts, right?
SPONSORS. In addition to meeting several new contacts for potential future sponsorship, I have to give props to cozi.com for helping me with some of my BlogHer costs. It was exciting to find out that I received the sponsorship right before I left! I also need to thank Yummie Tummie for allowing me to be an YT Ambassador, as well as all of you who donated items for my swag bags (which were a big hit) and for myself. I appreciate you all.
CHICAGO. This was my first trip to Chicago and I was very impressed. I loved the feel of NYC, but yet it wasn’t as crowded as NYC. Everyone I encountered was very friendly, although I did see two cabbies almost knock each other out (which was quite terrifying). I took some amazing photos of Chicago at nighttime and didn’t even need a flash because it was all lit up. I can’t wait to return and do some more sightseeing.
Overall, BlogHer ’09 was well worth the money I paid for it. You can’t put a price on the friends and new contacts you make at BlogHer. Like I tweeted earlier today, “BlogHer is what you make it.” I have already received feedback and possible opportunities in just two days after coming home! I would experience it again in a heartbeat and CANNOT wait for BlogHer ’10 in NYC!!!
Please leave me a comment, telling me what you thought of BlogHer ’09, because I would love to hear it from your perspective.
Love & kisses,