This year? I'm not sad.
Since the month of April I've traveled four times, three of them out of state. I feel like I've been living out of a suitcase for months, packing, unpacking, doing laundry, repacking, and not bothering to put away the suitcase because I knew I was just going to have to pull it out again in a couple of days.
On Sunday I put my suitcase away. And I heaved a sigh of relief.
Today I'm watching my friends on Twitter and Facebook get progressively more anxious and excited and I'm just sipping my tea and breathing deep sighs of relief that I'm not getting caught in the whirlwind.
Before I start my list of 9 reasons I'm not going to NY this year to celebrate BlogHer'12, I'm going to say one thing. I love the women behind BlogHer. I ooze with admiration for them and for what they have created. Just because BlogHer the conference is no longer a good fit for ME doesn't mean I don't still think it's put on by an amazing organization. Also, I'm sad I can't hug you too.
10 Reasons I'm Not Going to BlogHer'12
1) Last year was a total, utter, personal bust for me. I spent the whole time thinking about home and the chaos that awaited me there. I wasn't there mentally and therefore had absolutely no return on my rather sizable investment despite being a panelist at an amazing ROYO session.
2) New York is far. And it's expensive to fly to. And the hotels aren't cheap either. Plus, my sister doesn't live there any more. If I'm going to spend over $1500 to be at a conference I need to know that I'm going to recoup that money somehow. At BlogHer I'm one in over 5000. Hard for me to shine and stand out. (Last year a girl bragged on her FB page the day after BlogHer that she'd met 3 Jessica Rosenbergs. I had to break it to her that she'd met me three times. Sigh.)
3) The sessions target less experienced bloggers. I've been blogging for 8+ years. I've worked on every platform out there. I've been part of a collaborative blog, personal blogs, corporate blogs. I've run social media for companies and for myself. I've handled blogger outreach for Splash and for companies. Sadly there's little I can learn at BlogHer sessions that I don't already know.
4) The conflicting events are overwhelming. Since I can't learn much in the sessions, I used to look forward to BlogHer for networking opportunities and chance encounters in the hallways. The conference has gotten so big and the extra-curricular events so plentiful that last I year I spent more time alone than networking. Everyone I knew was constantly running off to this or that event, dashing from one party to get to the next one.
5) There are just too many people for me. And I'm an extrovert, so that's saying a LOT. It used to be that you'd run into the same people over and over again and by the end of the weekend you'd feel like you really knew them. With thousands of people running right and left that just doesn't seem to happen any more. (See #2 for proof...)
6) There is such a thing as just too many niches being represented. I adore getting to know bloggers from different niches. Craft bloggers fascinate me, as do food bloggers. In a smaller space you get to see what your niches have in common and how your skills can overlap. At BlogHer the only thing that seems to happen is a blatant segregation of the niches. People are expected to hang out with their kind and even gregarious types like myself find it challenging to cross-pollinate.
7) The swag-whoring. Does it even really need detailing? I remember what it was like to be a newbie blogger and to love having companies just want to give you stuff. Call it maturity, call it overflowing closets, call it whatever you will, I no longer want to receive countless items I don't really need. I'm happy to meet brand reps, to talk about how I can help them meet their marketing goals, but no, I don't want to be signed up to receive stuff I won't use, I don't want to stand in line to get bags of things, and I most definitely don't want to pay $25 per suitcase to shlep it home.
And, no, I don't want to be lumped in with the people who will do anything to get that stuff and who give bloggers a bad name in the process. They might well be the reason #6 happens...
8) I really, really, really, really, really, can I say it again?, really like the smaller, more intimate conferences. At TypeA Parent this year I learned so much and made great connections with brand reps and bloggers. I got to know people on a deeper level and attended sessions that challenged me intellectually and emotionally. EVO'12 brought more of the same all while pushing me out of my mommy-blogging comfort zone by allowing me to really interact and get to know bloggers from different niches.
Again, I think this has more to do with my maturity as a blogger and less to do with anything that BlogHer is doing, or not doing as the case may be.
9) I just want to be home. To honor my youngest's 5th birthday tomorrow without feeling rushed because I'm packing and stressing. To prepare for my upcoming 10th anniversary. To help the kids enjoy the last 3 weeks before school starts. To get work done and process the last four trips I just took. To write. To recover from the already hectic summer we've had. To not push myself to my breaking point like I did last year.
And the one reason I'm sad
My friends are going. The ones I love and talk to every day. The ones I've already seen twice this year. And the ones I only ever get to see at BlogHer. There are people I could have met. There are virtual friends who I could have hugged. There are opportunities I will not grasp. There are photo ops that I will miss.
It's hard to sit out the event of the year, but I'm proud of myself for sitting it out for the right reasons. It makes it easier to watch all those Tweets and posts float by without feeling regret even as I lament the missed hugs and laughs.
|Elena, Grace, and I at BlogHer'11. Moments like these are what I'll miss.|