I could go on and on and on about BlogHer, rambling for weeks about a conference that lasted all of three days, but there’s already so much about it all over the blogosphere and frankly I think I might need to move on. You know, if only so I can unpack.
That said, there are quite a few things that I wanted to touch on, so I’m going to attack it all Amalah style and go with a nice long bullet point list.
1- The issue of the wifi
I’m sorry, but if you have been informed that you will be hosting 1600 bloggers in your hotel, and you promise free wifi, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that the blasted Internet connections work! It’s not rocket science.
I was at BlogHer as a liveblogger. My job was to take copious notes during the sessions that were assigned to me and upload them every 1 minutes so that people in other sessions could peek in and see what was going on. During my very first session everything went well until I tried to upload the first 15/20 minutes. Then the wifi crashed, taking with it my post.
I spent the rest of the hour frantically taking notes in Word, trying desperately to get back online, and texting the volunteer coordinator to ask her what I should do.
It wasn’t pleasant.
And that’s pretty much how the rest of the weekend went. So, dear hotels, especially the Sheraton, when bloggers descend, you might want to consider beefing up your wifi. Just a thought.
2 – The grabby horribleness
I can’t tell you how many women went around saying that they had just come to BlogHer for the stuff. To them I say: Get a grip. Or figure out your priorities. Because if you came just for the freebies, then you could have taken the $600 or so that you spent on your weekend in Chicago and gone on a kick ass shopping spree. You would have gotten everything you wanted and cleared the air of the nasty, grabby, envious, jealous air that you poisoned the rest of us with all weekend.
Oh, and also, grow up. If you’d been a toddler you would have spent the weekend in time-out.
3- The support and the love rocked
Do you know how amazing it is to meet someone and have them gush about how cute your girls are or how much they love your writing? It really doesn’t get much better than that.
I loved seeing bloggers meet for the first time and hug like they’d found a long lost friend. It embodied what the blog community means to me.
4 – I make no money with my blog and that’s so much more than just OK.
No doubt this deserves a whole post to itself, but oh well.
I earn no money with either of my blogs. OK. That’s not true. I earn a couple dollars a month. Nothing that’s going to help pay the bills. I could bust my butt and find a niche and write posts chock full of SEO terms, etc, etc, etc. But, uh, I don’t wanna. So there.
I want to keep writing what I want without worrying about how it’ll make the search engines react. I started this blog as a space to express my innermost thoughts and a place to work through my days. It’s going to stay that way, even if it means I’m unpigeonholeable and uncategorizable, and, oh yeah, completely and utterly unlucrative. (And I make words up. Because I’m cool like that.)
5 – People don’t always look or act the way you’d imagine
I have blog friends who don’t know me because I read them, but don’t really interact with them. I have twitter friends I chat with every day. I even have virtual friends I IM with on a regular basis.
This weekend I got to meet, and hug, quite a few of those. And uh. Well, it was an interesting experience. Some of them weren’t the age I expected to be. Some of them spoke faster, or slower than I expected. Some of them were bigger, or smaller, taller, or shorter than I had expected. I’m not saying any of it was bad or good, I’m just saying it’s fascinating to meet people and realize they look nothing like what you had expected them to look. It takes a bit of adjustment.
Also I wonder how I didn’t match up to people’s expectations.
6 – What I learned
Well, because I was liveblogging I didn’t get to attend all the sessions that I wanted to attend, so I learned a lot about writing Op-Eds, which I have about zero desire to do, but uh, if you’re a woman and you’re into that, go for it! It’s a very male dominated field and it could use some great female perspective.
Women have a tendency to undervalue themselves. And we should stop. Also, women don’t tend to think they have any expertise in any field. We should stop that too. We’re all experts in something.
Social Media can work for you. You just have to be smart about how to use it. Check out the popular posts on Social Bookmarking sites to figure out which one will serve your blog best.
If you want to see transcripts for all the sessions click here. And if you search around the BlogHer site I bet you can find video of the sessions too.
There’s one more thing I want to cover about BlogHer, but it will have to wait because this cold isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse, and I need to go sleep some of the fever off so I can make sense when I do tackle that last topic.