BlogHer12. Been there. Done that. Will I do it again? Hmm.
BlogHer is an online community and they put together an annual blogging conference. This year’s conference was at the Hilton in NYC and was attended by over 5,000 women. Each day was filled with informational sessions, networking parties, and a vendor expo. Overall I would describe the entire experience as OVERWHELMING.
Rather then get into my day-to-day schedule at the conference I thought I would break down what I thought about the few days in my Yays, Mehs and a few Boos.
-I absolutely LOVED meeting all kinds of wonderful new bloggers. There is a really wide variety of subjects that were represented and I loved hearing how people got into blogging to begin with!
-BlogHer12 being in NYC was super convenient. I was able to stay at my buddy Meg’s place and also enjoy NYC after conference hours.
-Martha Stewart & Katie Couric! I enjoyed hearing both Keynote speakers for different reasons, but I really enjoyed hearing them sing the praises of blogging. Soledad O’Brien, Christy Turlington and Malaak Compton Rock were also there to talk about their charitable contributions.
-Voices of the Year session. Sometimes I forget that blogging can be a forum for professional writers to reach a large audience. In the Voices of the Year session several bloggers read pieces from their blogs that were touching, hysterical, cringe inducing, and cry worthy. All were beautifully written and a great example of what blogging can accomplish.
-The meals at the Hilton were quite good. I was impressed with the spread and appreciated all the veggies on Friday! There was also quite the spread of desserts. I *might* have had a little taste of a few.
-Private parties. I know these aren’t officially part of BlogHer but I like the opportunity to chat more with brands and folks that I had blogging commonalities with in a more intimate setting.
-The vendor expo wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be. I had visions of meeting brands and really being able to have a conversation with them about their products and how they might fit with my blog. For some vendors that was certainly the case. For others, not so much. Quite a few vendors were there to collect business cards for their giveaway, give you swag and that was about that. I kind of figured that was because MANY women were there to do the exact same thing. There were a few times when I was really interested in a product only to be kind of pushed off so they could move everyone through quickly.
-The venue vs. the size of the conference. There were 5,000 women at this conference but the Hilton was made for around 3,000. There were just too many people for the space. The sessions were packed (which is also part of my B0000!) because the rooms were on the smaller side. I was fortunate to find a seat at lunch but that wasn’t without a little luck on my side. I saw MANY women sitting on the floor outside of the Grand Ballroom because there were no seats. Oh, and they were sitting on the floor because for some odd reason there wasn’t a chair to be found around the conference. The people at the Hilton were super nice and I found the whole hotel to be lovely, but just not the right size for our conference.
-The sessions. I’m sorry to say but I didn’t find the information in the sessions (those that I was actually able to get into!) to be all that groundbreaking. All of the speakers were really knowledgeable but the mixture of beginners and pros just didn’t mix well. I know BlogHer tried to do tracks for Beginners and Advanced this year, but when there is only one SEO class or Vlog class then everyone is forced to be mixed together.
-BlogHer Parties. Oh how I had heard wonderful things about the parties! This is actually in my Yay! and Meh. category. Yay! because there was great food, booze, and fun people to interact with. Meh because they were all SO LOUD. I couldn’t hear anyone and it took away that opportunity to really chat with folks.
Ok,now on to the BOOOOs. I’m going to be a little negative but I’ve given you fair warning!
-The session size/organization. I was super irritated with the sessions. I paid a nice chunk of money to come to this conference and wanted to learn as much as possible. For some reason there was no one monitoring the doors so every.single.session was packed to the brim. If you didn’t get to the door about 15 minutes ahead of time then you weren’t going to get a seat. It is really distracting to be sitting on the floor in a dress when you are trying to take notes or listen. I know of several people who only attended 1 or no sessions because they just didn’t understand how to get around. I was also really frustrated that by the time I realized you had to sign up for the Geek Bar classes they were already all full.
-Pushy people. There were obviously MANY people who come just for swag and had no plans on giving up space or face time with the reps because they were getting free stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the swag, but goodness…you only have so many free tshirts or reusable bags!
-NYC in August. Heh. This isn’t BlogHer’s fault at all. It was just brutally hot in NYC and I was a little miserable at moments. It makes me really think towards BlogHer in Chicago most likely around the same time. Ugh. This Florida girl has had her share of heat and I’m totally over it.
Alright…negative part is over. Lets get to some random (and I do mean random!) highlights from the weekend.
Bowling at The People’s Party
Random sightings of The Pioneer Woman, Kate from Kate Plus Eight, and the Jimmy Dean Sun Guy!
A fun caricature of A Girl & Her Mutt! from the folks at Kuyam.
Insane giveaways with TONS of entries.
SWAG that did not require me to elbow one single person to get it.
So that is that. My overall experience of BlogHer12. So now the big question…will I be at BlogHer13 in Chicago?! PROBABLY! I love Chicago and have some fun blends that I could see there. Will I see you there?!
I’ll have a few more follow-up posts this week and then it will be back to normal. Thanks for following along with my crazy conference adventure!
See ya tomorrow!
Are you a fan of conferences?