wine on the keyboard

BlogHer 08 in Review

by Kay~Kacey on 7/23/2008

Okay, I’ve gotten comments and email asking me to talk more about the BlogHer conference. Now that I’ve been home a few days and some of my brain cells seem to be working, I’ll give it a shot. I’ll do a general one today, and then talk about some workshops I went to in tomorrows post.

union square san francisco

Blogher08–a review, some suggestions, a few random comments.

First off, it was amazing to see the energy of this many bloggers in one place. All excited about one topic. Blogging. Similar to other conferences you’d go to…like writing, photography or whatever the conference was about. It’s nice to immerse in a topic dear to you for days on end.

I thank all the women involved with pulling off this conference. You did an amazing job. Really amazing. I know a lot of time and effort goes into planning these.

This conference was mainly women, mainly younger women. I don’t know the statistics on ages…but I was in the minority being over fifty. Lots of mommy bloggers. Foodie bloggers. Photography bloggers. BlogHer did some awesome things at the conference. First off, I thought the hotel handled the crowd really well. I’ve seen some reception desks come to their knees when trying to check in people for conferences. The layout of the conference rooms was nice and convenient. No walking for miles to get between rooms.

They had an eclectic mix of sponsors and companies at the exhibitor hall. CafePress, Picnik, LeapFrog, Zivio, Wii with two wi-fits attached. Bare Minerals Makeup from Macy’s, Smilebox and lots more that I’m forgetting.

They had a lactation room and child care. I’ve gone to years of Romance Writers of America conference…which is mostly women, and they have never had anything like the accommodations that were made for mom’s at this conference. It was great.

They had an awesome newbie mixer for first time conference attendees. A great chance to meet new people, exchange business cards, and, well, drink. :beer: So by the time you went to the breakfast they had the next morning, you already saw friendly faces. As an aside they had continental breakfast each day, box lunches, and drinks/appetizers each evening, along with cookies, boca burgers, soda, and water during the breaks.

They had a ton of special interest meet-ups. Just a few: Home/Garden. DIY. Children with special needs. Boomers & Beyond (but I missed it–I was at another workshop), travel, fashion. I thought that it was really cool that there were so many small meet ups to get to know people who blogged about similar topics.

san francisco cable car

A few things that could be improved:

(please note what I said above that I appreciate all the work that went into this conference and think the organizers did a great job)

The conference brochure was sent as a PDF file…all 30some? pages of it. Nice way to save on postage and on paper. Wish they would have made the links to websites clickable though, so you could have clicked through from the speakers’ bios directly to their websites. Why not exploit the medium that you’re using?

That said, you could add yourself to the list of attendees at the BlogHer website, but it was tortuous to get from the list to the actual blog of the attendees. I wanted to go around and look at some blogs before I went and “meet” people so I’d know some bloggers before I went. It was almost an impossible task. A simple blogroll, maybe divided into blog type/topic would have been nice. Really nice.

People were allowed to save seats in the workshops. Like 20 seats, two rows. So if you were part of these “cliques” you got some good seats. Irritated me.

The workshops were in tracks, and maybe I just don’t think that way, but they were divided into tracks like “Who we are” “What we Do” “What we believe” “How we communicate.” So if I were interested in the photography workshop was it who we are, what we do, or how do we communicate? Like I said, I just didn’t get it. :crazy2: But then, I’ve been told I don’t think exactly like a normal person… :wink:

There was such a wide variety in the level of experience of the bloggers. It sometimes made the workshop questions over the head of beginning bloggers, or a lot of time was spent on very basic questions. Going back to RWA conferences, maybe they could mark their workshops as “tracked”. Just starting out. Beginner. Experienced.

Oh, and if someone could explain to me…why are the sessions I really want to go to always scheduled at the same time?? :mrgreen:

(photos by SuperGuy, just so you know he doesn’t always take them out of focus)

If you have any questions about the conference, or want to know anything about it, just leave a comment, and I’ll try to answer it tomorrow. And, please! Some of you just HAVE to come to this conference next year. I so want to meet you in person!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Mental P Mama July 23, 2008 at 6:25 am

Great post! You should give them your feedback. I bet they’d welcome it. I am very curious about the boomer blogging one…for obvious reasons, I am really thinking about going next year. :blah:

Suzanne July 23, 2008 at 9:32 am

Can’t wait to hear more!

Tori Lennox July 23, 2008 at 11:51 am

It sounds like it was so much fun!!!

Kate July 23, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Hmmm, first off, good post and very informative. I’d consider going next year, too!

Kate July 23, 2008 at 2:34 pm

Well, I hit the submit button without the rest of the comment. So you’ll be getting two. two. two comments in one. I don’t know why, but that commercial is now stuck in my head.

Secondly, it would be great to view the blogs of the people who are attending the conference. I’m sure that if you let them know this sort of feedback, they’d work on it for the future. I mean, having lactation rooms and child care, you’d think they’d want to make it the best conference ever!

MamáChanga July 23, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Wow! Your review really explained a lot. Being a mommy on a budget, I’m wondering about how much everything cost. I know you won your trip, but if a person didn’t win what would be the costs involved, like are there fees for conference attendance, etc. ?

Bonnie Buckingham July 23, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Came to see who you are from leaving a comment on my blog!
Great to meet you! What a fun site and all those
faces above make me laugh! I need it at the end of the day, although today was one of those summer days that time
became endless in place! :coffee2:

annbb/TSannie July 23, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Was it worth your time? Are you going back next year?? Sounds like something I’d be ready for 3 or 4 years from now IF I keep going….

Beth from the Funny Farm July 23, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Some great suggestions.

And, I did not go to the conference. Glad you enjoyed it.

Krista July 24, 2008 at 3:39 am

Totally agree with your comments. As a single gal, I felt a little outnumbered by the mommy-bloggers, but they were all lovely people, for sure. I really liked the “Birds of a Feather” session I went to (Travel blogging) and would love to see that expanded next time around…the 40 minutes we had was too short!

Great meeting you at the conference!

Krista

colleen July 24, 2008 at 11:02 am

Did you make some new blog friends? I enjoyed reading this and fantasizing going someday.

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