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9 Reasons I’m not going to BlogHer this year

standard July 30, 2012 23 responses

I’m pretty sure that any other year before this one if I’d been sitting at my computer watching Twitter and Facebook blow up with mentions of what people are packing for BlogHer, what they’re working on to get ready, what they’re excited about, or making plans to meet friends I would have been sad.

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.

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23 responses

  • I wasn’t going to go but my sister lives in NYC so I bought a ticket. Now I’m regretting it because I have no desire to go for a lot of the same reasons you mentioned (and a few that probably plant me firmly in Bitter Betty territory).

    I am really looking forward to BlogHer Food in my hometown next year though.

  • I get it, and I haven’t even been to BlogHer yet.

    I’m reserving final judgement until after this week, but I think I’m a smaller-conference girl.

    That way when I meet Jessica Rosenberg three times, I’ll know it’s the same Jessica Rosenberg.

    I’m still excited about BlogHer because I’m rooming with one of my best friends. She lives in California, so it’s a rare treat to see each other for three days.

  • You know I’ll miss seeing you there, but I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. For me I still make connections there that I don’t elsewhere, though the sessions and the networking are very, very different than smaller conferences. I’m going b/c it’s close-ish to home, and because I have meetings planned, friends to see, and things I want to do. My reasons for going are very different from many other people’s reasons, and I’m ok with that.

  • You will be missed. I was looking forward to catching up with you. But I totally understand.

  • I liked reading this since I have not been to a blogger conference due to money constraints but not sure they are for me anyway EXCEPT that I would love to meet fellow bloggers in person.

  • I can totally get where you’re coming from. San Diego was a very different experience for me than NYC. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of experience I have THIS year. I’ll miss seeing you too but I support and applaud all your reasons!

  • I agree with A LOT of the things you are saying here. I am going this year, and one of the main reasons is because it is NYC. It is my third blogher, and I’m thinking this might be it for me.

  • As if I’m not crying already about things today. I’ll miss you so much, Jessica. SO so much. It won’t be the same without you. But I totally understand where you’re coming from and am thinking this might be my last blogher for a while.

  • Anonymous

    There are THOUSANDS of women bloggers? WEll, that explains everything…! ha!

  • Being in Hawaii traveling anywhere is out of the question. I do family trips. That is it. And I am really glad you wrote this since I was wondering if I was missing out. I think I am fine where I am and can connect to great people, like you, this way! This is why I love blogging….not the chaos part.

  • Many of your reasons are the reason why I decided this year will be my last year at BlogHer. I realized it’s not a big deal to change and move on after reminding myself many of the people I want to see already live close by. And those that don’t.. do come visit. Maybe I’ll meet you at a smaller conference sometime soon 🙂

  • I am with you and have already decided that this is my last blogher as well. I am hopeful that this year I will be able to make the most of my time, as busy as it is, to be intentional and focused….but having said that, I know that focusing on smaller venues and maybe even non blogging specific events next year will be where I spend my money. (also? Swooning over the pic!!) xoxo

  • I’ve always had to think long and hard about ROI and conferences as every conference I go to has really high travel expenses (because of where I live…the actual center of the country), and BlogHer unfortunately just doesn’t do it for me any more. I think I’m like you. I’ve outgrown it. I haven’t gone since the first time they went to New York. That was a great one to end on for me.

  • Our reasons are somewhat different but the result is the same: I’m not going and I’m mostly OK with it, but I’m sad because of the people I won’t get to hang with/meet this year.

    Maybe we should make some time to have a coffee or whatnot right here at home while they’re out there BlogHer-ing it up. 🙂

    P.S. I wonder why people with the name “Anonymous” are always assholes…

  • Great post. I don’t have a blog and I’ve never been to BlogHer, but I suspect I’d feel the same if I did/had. My thought, as I was reading about your positive experiences w/Type A and Evo, was what if they get that big, too? We all start businesses to grow them. So, how would you suggest this growth be best managed by conference organizers AND attendees. Maybe sticking with that magic number limit of 150 and having more conferences around the country? Your thoughts?

  • I so get it. I have many of those same issues with BlogHer, but… I’m still going this year. Next year, if it isn’t in Chicago, I’ll be reassessing. We’ll see. I’ll miss you – though I’ll see you at a smaller conference where I’ll really learn something next year, right?!

  • Personally speaking, I felt the same way after BlogHer ’10. I invested a lot of time and money in going and didn’t have much personal return on that. In fact, when I got home, I vowed not to go again. But with it back in New York (close to home for me), I decided to give it one more try. This time I am going with clear goals and plans. And hopefully it will result in some great connections. But I also totally understand why you’d choose not to–I felt that way last year too.

  • I’m with you. I decided last year was my last BlogHer for the foreseeable future. It’s just too much of everything I’ve come to not like about blogging. I live in the NYC area and the expense wasn’t the problem; it’s just the events and the lack of learning anything at the conference that have driven me far, far away.

  • Thanks for this. I have never been and am not going this year, even though I’m on the East Coast, because I can’t afford to go. Since I’ve never been, and can’t afford, I feel all the more vexed by all the Twitter about BlogHer12. But, deep down, I think the only reason I really feel I should be there is because, well, “everybody’s doing it.” Kind of an emperor’s new clothes sort of thing. I’m sure there are things to be gained, but, alas, I’ll be home this weekend, keeping the footprints small.

  • What a great post – thanks! I was so sad about missing BlogHer this year I made my own hashtag #sadlymissingBlogHer !! But the reasons you listed are pretty much the reasons I didn’t go (except for the distance, I’m in Montreal so it is close for me). I attended ShesConnected last year and loved it. It was the perfect size too. Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

  • These are lots of the reasons I didn’t go this year, but I felt odd saying it. Disloyal, somehow. Next year I will definitely be making the smaller events a priority.

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