What I learned: BlogHer Style

by Elena on August 11, 2010 in blogging about blogging,technology

BlogHer, BlogHer, BlogHer…such a big deal to some, such a non-entity to others.

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For me, attending the BlogHer10 conference in NYC was such an impromptu surprise that I was fully unprepared for what to expect.  I knew that I wanted to learn, meet people, and have fun.  I did all those things.

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Learning:

I learned about creative writing from some of the best creative writers out there during the Stoke Your Creativity Session. One of the panelists, Rita Arens, inspired me with ideas that have led down a path, that I hope will be enjoyed.  Fridays at C.Mom will now be “Fanciful Friday.”  Creative writing—(no Principessa stories sorry–unless she is the one doing the writing) will appear….and I hope to encourage some of you to participate with me.

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I learned about brands like:

  • Simply Smart--the maker of a yummy, yummy milk. Seriously, I am not a huge fan of drinking milk straight- and this was good!
  • Hillshire Farms–making lunchmeats that will not deplete your entire daily allowance of sodium in one meal.
  • Ubisoft–have you “Just Dance“‘d… coming soon (October) a new Just Dance 2. More songs, more fun!  As if that was not enough to get you moving, the Golds Gym Dance Workout...oh my.  Can we just say, cardio???
  • Assets--Trust me, I never wear a dress without the protection of Assets underneath. Smooth lines, less bulge!

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Then of course, there are the people that made it all possible for me to attend BlogHer:  T-Mobile and BitMoms. T-Mobile had a quiz to rate your knowledge of text speak.  I am clearly a foreigner when it comes to texting.  Totally and completely clueless.

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Meeting People:

I got to meet the brains behind the Macaroni Kid operation at the oh so pink- Macaroni Lounge. Joyce, Eric, and Nicki became BlogHer gods for the swanky light up rings that started to adorn the fingers of all the bloggers.  So cool. So genuine.

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Then…then there were the women of room 2038. Three unknown women…who to the surprise of all of our husbands would share a space, a bed even without ever having met eachother.  Can I just say, Carabee and Shannon are two of the most amazing women. Not only are they kind, but they are master twitter aficionados & dancers.  Our room was even host to Nap Warden for one night–yes, the amazing Nap Warden (famous for the design of this site–and much much more)!

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Naming the many women that I met would be difficult.  I was able to spend real and quality time with local DC Moms like I’m Not the Nanny, Tech Savvy Mama, Urban Mama, Jodifur, and meet new friends like The Zadge, Carmen, MomRenewal, Jessica, Smarty Pants Mama, Gabriela, the Late Bloomer Bride, and Kate. Meeting the many faces of the From Left to Write book club, made up of former Silicon Valley Moms group writers from around the country was fantastic…and amazing.  We had the opportunity to meet author Karen Bergreen, whose book, Following Polly, we will be discussing later this month.  It is not often that you get to spend time chatting about parenting and day to day life with an author.  Everywhere I turned, I met hugely talented, witty, and thoughtful writers.

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Each person taught me something…whether it was how to laugh, how to use a twitter hash tag, how to eat frozen yogurt at 11:30 pm, or how to go into a party without an invite.  Truly special people.

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Having fun:

This is probably the most important aspect of what I took away from my time at BlogHer.  The truth of the matter is that it is overwhelming, especially when you are such a little fish in the big blue ocean of bloggers.  There were private parties every moment of every day–of which I went to two (thank you Simply Smart and AOL).  I did not mind the lack of private party invites (though the teacher in me would have loved to go to the brunch held by Scholastic).

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The key piece was the size. 2,40o women are enough to intimidate even the strongest of personalities– and I will go one step further in my honest confession:  I am not good at networking.  There were moments that it came more easily, but in many cases, I chose to walk around solo instead of chatting someone up and making the rounds in good company. It was my loss.  I am thankful that on Saturday night, I got up the courage to get dressed and head down to party central.  The good news was that even without a ticket, I was able to get in. The better news is that it turned out to be one of the highlights of my few days…because the end result was alot of chatting and laughing, with women that I admire immensely.

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BlogHer11 is in San Diego, next August.  Will I go?  I would like to…but there is a condition.  The condition is that I will set a goal of meeting and having real conversations with five new people each day.  Given the size, a BlogHer experience- like most other experiences in life, is only as good as the effort you put into it.  So…it is time. I need to buck up.  As I remember the many memorable moments, the inspiring conversations, and the laughter…it occurs to me, there is no reason to not step up.  Worst case, if I fall or fail…I will have something good to write about.  Best case, I will continue to develop friendships, self confidence, and hopefully even a little blogging mojo.

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xo

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C.Mom

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama August 11, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I loved getting to spend time with you IRL after all of our emailing and Twitter chats! I can’t wait to hear all about your return trip to NYC just a day after you got home. I bet it was spectacular and hope it involved a late night frozen yogurt trip!

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C.Mom August 11, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Trip was great– writing that post for Friday. :) There was no late night yogurt–but there was late night prosecco.

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jodifur August 11, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I had a great time hanging with you (your link to me isn’t working)

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C.Mom August 11, 2010 at 10:44 pm

likewise :) and I think I fixed it. Apparently I had more broken links than working ones. I now know what that the blue lines mean not working, purple mean working. Thanks for being such a good blog mentor! :)

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MusingsfromMe/Jill August 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm

I’m still not sure what I thought of BlogHer. I wrote one post, but I only skimmed the surface. BlogHer was SO big.

I purposefully chose to go it alone all 4 days. I knew I had events to go to, but knew it would be almost impossible to coordinate logistics. I took a cab with 2 women to the Simply Smart event, but other than that I kept to myself, too. We chatted very briefly at Simply Smart.

I found people to eat lunch with. On Saturday night I drifted from group to group for the Sparklecorn dancing party. Even though I chatted to people throughout the weekend, I spent chunks of time by myself.

The drawback for me to “going it alone” is that I miss out on the groups that form at blogging conferences. I know people who do everything together. As much as I would like to do that, I get antsy when waiting for others.

I hear people talk about late night PJ parties…that wasn’t my BlogHer. Even though my BlogHer was more solitary than I would have liked, I still had fun.

I tell you what…at the next BlogHer or another conference, we need to hang out!

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C.Mom August 12, 2010 at 8:08 am

I feel as if I have only skimmed the surface as well. Everyone was (is) so incredibly welcoming- I know that most of my solitary time (mostly during the afternoon) was my own choice. I think that sometimes I need quiet inside my head time to process. The reality is that though the quiet time is good for me, it is not good for meeting people at BlogHer. So I will do better next year. Would love to hang out with you!

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Kathryn August 12, 2010 at 8:45 am

This is a great re-cap, it absolutely describes what it feels like to be a small fish in a big, giant, 2,000+woman pond. I just posted my de-brief which was helpful in sifting through the three days I was there. It was great but I have to admit I may try a smaller conference before the next BlogHer so I know the differences. I also agree, you need a plan! So much great info and people, it’s hard to fit it all in.

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C.Mom August 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Thanks– and yes- it is definitely hard to get it all in. I guess the silver lining is that we won’t be newbies anymore. :)

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Pamela August 12, 2010 at 11:45 am

I’m glad you were able to attend! I don’t think a bash like this one is for me. I love people but I’m not a people person. I think I would find a corner and sit, or the bathroom like the Bloggess…. Loved reading about your experiences. And I loved following your story about going to the movie premiere.

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C.Mom August 12, 2010 at 4:35 pm

:) It was definitely a bit over the top….but quite a learning experience if nothing else for the people watching.

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Meg at the Members Lounge August 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Hey C. Mom, I saw my friend the Zadge link to your blog. Thanks for the recap on the parties and telling us how you were invited. I am finding now there were SO many outside parties by various sponsors that would have been much better places to network and have a more in-depth conversation. Some of us missed out on that, and like Kathryn of Coastal Chick (who I spent a fabulous several hours with Thurs!) I may seek out a smaller conference that can offer that kind of experience. I’m so glad you had fun!

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C.Mom August 12, 2010 at 4:39 pm

There were so so so many parties! I have no idea how I got the AOL invite- it literally showed up in my email box the day before. But yes, the smaller events were good for having genuine and meaningful conversations with people that I might not have otherwise met. I have heard great things about Bloggy Boot Camps- also EVO (though I don’t know the size of EV0). I think that the good news is that the world is realizing that blogging is becoming a force to be reckoned with and presumably more opportunities to interact will ensue.

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Suzanne Henry August 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm

It was so great to meet you at BlogHer. Thanks for the steller recap. Like you, I was a tad intimidated. For me it was by the sheer numbers of veteran bloggers. I look forward to San Diego next year. Are you going?

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