BlogHer Recap

I'm back from BlogHer, I've snuggled with Alex and Blossom, and now I'm getting back into things.

(AND. Done with finals. I feel like I should write a post about school soon. But done for a whole month.)

I think this was the transition year for me. I'd been in a weird place with BlogHer, but then I got there and found out that EVERYONE was in a weird place. Maybe next year I'll just be able to go and not have all kinds of weird (and not normal-for-me) emotions about it kowing that it really isn't just me.

The actual conference itself is overwhelming, and seems to have veered a little out of control. I didn't sign up for sessions for the actual conference, just the expo hall and parties. But walking around the hotel to get to the expo hall I was shocked at how big and corporate it is now, and heard so many of the women there talking about how big and out of control it is. The expo hall was overwhelming, and there are products I never really needed to know about. (A lot of precooked foods that don't really beneffit from being precooked.) And some great things I hadn't seen before but am glad I saw. I ran into CecilyK and DEHausFrau (both IRL friends) at the expo hall, and then a very funny reader named Diane from Jackson Heights who recognized me and said Hi, and then we drank some EmergenC together at the EmergenC booth.

I went to one on-site party and one offsite party, but mostly just met with people I know and some new friends. I had dinner with Punky Mama and After_Words. I met Phd in Parenting (finally!) and Mochamomma (finally!) and a bunch of other Babble bloggers and staffers. The surprise of the weekend was meeting WoogsWorld and GoodGoogs from Australia. I wish I'd had more time and presence of mind to talk to them, but I'd managed to give myself heat exhaustion (zillion degrees, too much sun, subway madness that left me walking way too far in the blaring sun) so I kind of wasn't all there.

But pretty much all of us were freaked out by how big and weird and unwieldy the whole thing was. So what does this mean? Maybe I'm not the outlier?

Once again, the "No one cares what shoes you're wearing because they're too busy worrying about what shoes they're wearing" adage proves true.

UPDATE: Right after I hit Publish, I went and read Cecily's recap of BlogHer in which she had the same feeligns I did but wrote about them way way better. So go read hers, too.

Next year in Chicago. Who's coming?

25 thoughts on “BlogHer Recap”

  1. So sad I didn’t get to meet you. As a newbie I just thought it was always that big and chaotic, so maybe that was the plus side of being new to this? I felt that I learned a lot and never felt the anxiety of being such a small blogger at such a big conference that I thought I would feel.

  2. I think next year, since presumably I’ll have a grip, I’ll do some kind of specific meetup not scheduled against anything else, and just put it out here so anyone can come, big or small.

  3. A similar thing happened with SXSW, which was for a long time a small, intimate gathering mostly of bloggers and nerds. It’s grown so huge now that it’s basically a completely different conference, with a completely different mindset.It’s sad, but this is what success does to a conference. The real test is to see how Blogher handles the growth.
    The feeling one gets is similar to that feeling when an indie, undiscovered band you like suddenly gets huge. You’re happy in some whats, but a big part of you wishes for things to be the way they were.

  4. After going last year, I wrote a post that said almost the exact same things as you and Cecily said:http://www.sameoldshannon.com/2011/08/on-being-writer-vs-blogger-vs-schlub.html
    I feel like there are people who blog because they need a place to feel safe and accepted when expressing their beliefs. There are also people who blog because they love to write. And finally there are people who blog because they want to make money and/or get popular through social media. These groups aren’t mutually exclusive; people could be in two groups or even all 3.
    But for me personally, I like to write and share my feelings, but I don’t give a shit about social media. I mean, I use FB and I love it to keep in touch, but I’m not interested in constantly pimping myself up. And I HATE Twitter. I don’t even understand how people are using these side things like Pinterest and Instagram for their own self-promotion.
    So I had trouble with some of the people at BlogHer who were all about tweeting and hashtags and getting followers. Add to that the giant exhibit hall and late-night partying, and I was totally overwhelmed. And that was last year in SAN DIEGO. NYC must have been about 50 times more overwhelming.

  5. I write for a living, but I do not write a blog, and I have never been to BlogHer. I am an avid reader whose reading includes blogs.This discomfort extends to your readers. I want the blog authors I read to earn compensation for their work, yet I cringe at certain sponsored posts and ads. And all of a sudden one day came Babble Voices, which included many bloggers I read writing lighter, shorter, more sponsored, slideshow versions of their own blogs–and a few of the bloggers I liked on Babble disappeared.
    There’s a fine line when blogging about life becomes blogging about blogging, because the blog has become so successful and part of life that almost ruins it for this reader. I have yet to parse out what this all means–and can only express it on blog comments. 🙂
    Here’s a question for you: In the blogging world, what is the role of the reader? Some blogs I like to read the comments as much as the blog, and, in my world, that kind of blog is the best.

  6. I’m in Chicago and last time BlogHer was here, I met up with you and some readers. I would enjoy doing that again but I have no desire to go to an actual conference on blogging since I am more of Fan Girl.

  7. I had a lot of similar feelings about this year, and I’m curious what they do moving forward. I’ve told several people that it’s almost like the conference has gotten too big for them to control, or that it could be broken off into a handful of subsets (writers, expo, advanced track, beginner track).I only have last year to compare to, but this year felt infinitely more chaotic and sadly, a little less friendly. Not blaming blogher for that directly, the crowds + layout + mystical factors of women all gathered together…? Who knows. But you’re not the only one that felt weird.

  8. That’s how SXSWinteractive has gotten, too. So commercialized to the point where the attendees are the focus only because they are the commodity to the advertisers. It sucks!

  9. I agree entirely with what SarahB said. As a reader, I am increasingly exhausted with the relentless commodification of blogs.

  10. I’m so glad I talked to you – I struggled with talking to the bloggers I admire, especially those of you who are “famous” without seeming like a crazy stalker person.It was completely overwhelming, I was only there Friday and I didn’t feel completely back to normal until MONDAY!

  11. Hanging with you and After words was one of the highlights of my trip. The conference was completely overwhelming. I just bought in when I could and how I could and tried not to feel bad when I missed things.Great to see you. Quiet dinner in Chicago if I make it there!

  12. I am not a blogger and I’m worn out by what Sadie (above) calls “the relentless commodification of blogs.” While I want writers to get paid for their work I’m becoming more and more annoyed by the endless self promotion and tactics I see by bloggers to increase their traffic. The whole “Read more” thing at the bottom of posts to increase your clicking traffic (or whatever, I’m not up on the terms). Or referencing past posts that are only remotely related multiple times within the same entry. One blogger I read, and usually respect, did a post about saving money with Amazon pre-order. And then had a link so you could pre-order her book. Not to mention the Amazon affiliate link.I know blogging is a business for many people so I’m being cranky. I just don’t like feeling like I’m being manipulated.

  13. I was in the city on Friday for dinner and would’ve loved to have seen you, but I wasn’t at Blogher. While I read blogs, I don’t write one (I do write as part of my job, but that’s different) and I can’t imagine myself at a conference about blogging.As a reader, I agree completely with SarahB and BethB above.

  14. It’s such a struggle. The hours we spend blogging are mind-boggling, and there’s no way to get paid for our work that doesn’t seem like pandering to someone. I have Amazon links on this site, and I sell ads. I’d rather have a more transparent relationship, but can’t figure out what that would be. Here I get to write what I want instead of being assigned something an editor thinks is going to score clicks. So which is better? Writing what I really want and figuring how to make money on the margins? Or just giving up and writing what other people want to read and getting paid directly for it?There’s no way to win. The readers feel manipulated if links are quiet, but pandered to if things are obvious. So we’re left feeling guilty about wanting to be paid for the work we do. It’s a sucky system for everyone.

  15. @moxie, I’ve never felt manipulated by the way you run your blog. Nor do I think you do it in a way that cheapens your content. I don’t mind the way you do Amazon affiliate links or ads. They’re off to the side, rarely (never?) do you mention the products in entries, and I’ve never once felt you chose a topic because you were trying to increase traffic or had been paid to do so.And seriously, writing is a tough business. One thing I really love about blogs is exactly what you mention with regards to being your own editor. Blogging has given platforms to so many people who never would have been published otherwise.
    Maybe you’re more authentic or maybe just more saavy and subtle about self marketing. 🙂 Several of the other blogs I read are written by women who know each other, in real life and online, and it’s starting to get to me how much I see cross referencing and promoting each other’s books and products. Of course people want to help their friends and promote their own businesses but when weeks of entries for multiple blogs are clearly planned around someone’s book release I personally feel like it cheapens the message.
    But blogging is relatively new in the grand scheme of things. I’m curious to see what how it changes over time.

  16. BethB, thank you. I really try to be very direct when I’m sending people someplace that makes me money. I don’t personally mind being marketed to as long as I know I’m being marketed to, if that makes sense, so I feel like other people are the same.That’s so fascinating about the groups promoting each other. I feel so not part of that kind of thing, even though I am RL friends with plenty of bloggers. Maybe just not the “big” ones>

  17. Hi Moxie! Sorry I missed you–I only signed up for Special Needs/HealthMinder day since I didn’t want to spend so much money. It would’ve been nice to meet you in the flesh!!

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