BlogHer 2011: Decompressing

Wow.

BlogHer was just… wow. I guess never having gone before, I really didn’t have much by way of preconceived notions of what to expect. There was everything one might expect- just MORE of it. More women bloggers, more vendors in the expo hall, more swag, more drink tickets… it was like everything that my brain could concoct times 10.

As I mentioned, I didn’t get a lot of pre-planning in before arriving, and I’m actually glad that’s how it went. Jenny and I did our best to be as laid back as possible and just go with the flow. To me, it was just as much a fun girl’s weekend catching up with one of my BFF’s as it was anything else so nothing really could go wrong from not having a set agenda. My only improvement on that aspect would have been having gotten the inside track to more parties. Those were really where we had some of the best times.

So what was good? People were kind, equally as enthusiastic, and excited to network. The sessions were helpful, the keynote speaker was inspirational and the food was good. Oh, and there was a crapload of free stuff and if we’re being honest that’s pretty rad.

What was not so good? Part of me left a little disenchanted. I suppose it wasn’t anyone’s fault, but there were more than one occasion where I looked around at the crowded rooms and hallways and realized that ALL of these women are bloggers. ALL OF THEM. Having been writing in an online journal in one respect or another since 1997, I felt little bit like an extremely tiny speck in an infinitely expansive universe. Part of me used to feel unique for blogging- when I told people they were intrigued, and it was a great conversation starter. Now, having a visual representation of how many of us there are out there, it’s changed my perception somewhat.

Also, the topic of monetization stirred some emotions I didn’t expect. Part of what I love and appreciate about the way the internet as evolved over the last decade is it’s honesty. I am personally completely ADDICTED to reviews- I barely buy a tube of mascara without checking makeupalley.com. I spent the better part of a year reading every consumer report and rating before buying a car. I depend on blog subscriptions to learn what the next great launches are in the beauty world. What was surprising was how absolutely guarded so many bloggers were with what they would say in the interest of maintaining good brand relationships. What was said in so many words was “What is more important to you- getting future paid assignments or saying something negative?” It made me wonder if because so many brands have become aware of the marketing power of the almighty blogger, is the platform now losing that same power that was once seeded in authenticity? Is blogging as a profession defeating what it was all really about in the first place? I guess this is coming from someone who DOESN’T make a living off reviews, giveaways or sponsored posts.

That being said, this is really all just me thinking out loud (figuratively) and I’m glad I’m in a position to review products I like and genuinely want to share. Being a polite and professional person by nature, I could probably count on one hand the number of times if said anything negative on the internet about a company or product- and that’s a pretty good track record for upwards of 15 years of blogging.

Overall, BlogHer was a great experience and I now see how people said that you get out of it what you put in. Next year my goals will be:

* to make more connections with women PRIOR to the conference as well as during
* get into more awesome parties (although Instead SoftCup and iFabbo really set the bar high!)
* don’t skip lunch because I filled up on expo hall samples
* make awesome MoreThanHeels shirts!

Did YOU go to BlogHer ’11? What did you think?

 

  • http://twitter.com/loveMaegan …love Maegan

    I can’t believe you’ve been blogging for 15 years! What’s funny, is 1997 is the year I began designing websites & learning graphic design. And what I realized very soon trying to freelance and “get gigs” was that I wanted something that was my own, where I could share style and beauty tips, talk about fashion, decor, DIYs and anything else that interested me …but it took me until 2007, 10 years later to finally realize I COULD DO JUST THAT!  If I only knew I could do it then…

    This too was my first BlogHer conference, and mostly I went because I felt obligated to support BlogHer now that I am their Style Editor. But I learned so much and had a great time and met so many wonderful women {like you} but it was a blur of sorts really.

    As for reviews, I totally agree with you.  I get paid for some reviews, occasionally, but honestly, I don’t love doing them because I feel pressure to make sure the review is positive even if I wasn’t 100% happy with the product, and that I really am not on board for. Mostly, I make a living through ad revenue. And though I don’t always like the way it looks, it affords me to keep getting to do what I love.

    Sorry for the novel 😉 Nice to meet you!

  • http://www.classycareergirl.com Classycareergirl

    So glad you had fun at blogher! I have never been but would love to go someday!  Maybe next year?  I will definitely use your tips! :)