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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… 😉

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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BlogHer Conference 08

by Kay~Kacey on 7/20/2008

Truly an amazing conference. I knew not ONE person at the conference when I showed up. I KNOW, but I so wanted to come anyway. I wish some of you could have been here with me. We would have had so much fun, a few drinks, lots of laughs. Maybe next year. But I met like a TON of bloggers!

It was at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square.

union square

Really, I love this shot. The old fashioned sculpture and the neon bright ipod billboard. Such is the eclectic mix in San Francisco!
Westin St. Francis

SuperGuy and I stayed in the older part of the Westin St. Francis. The “historic part.” Well, we loved it. But then we try and say in older boutique hotels when we travel anyway.

private elevator

Look, I even had my own private elevator with my own private elevator man! Now that is service! Isn’t he handsome? :love: I’m ashamed to admit I hit on him! (I do NOT know why no one else seemed to know about this elevator tucked in at the end of the hall in the old section. It let us out right outside the door to our room. Sweet.)

And the swag! Look at THIS. A bluetooth headset from Zivio. The “beta” version. Not quite for sale yet. So much nicer than my motorola headset that drives me nuts. (no, they did not pay me to say this!)

zivio bluetooth headset

There were some sharp companies there. Knowing that they were targeting a ready made market. Ones comfortable with technology and ready to talk about it. Agencies that represented clients looking to partner with bloggers to reach their markets. A variety of speakers on every topic imaginable regarding blogging. Oh, and a photography for bloggers workshop! Really, I’m just about overwhelmed with blogging thoughts and ideas for my blog running rampage through my over loaded brain. I’ll be sure and tell you more as my brain settles down…and I get some sleep!

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So we got to San Francisco a day before the Blogher Conference started. So, of course, we decided to do the touristy thing.

cable car turn around

We rode the cable cars. As an aside, all you people who said the cable car lines aren’t bad and they move quickly? Well, here in the midwest, we think 10 minutes waiting in line is too long for anything… Let’s just say almost an hour in the wind and cold is not “trust me, the line moves quickly.” Not to mention they ran out of passes at the ticket booth and closed up to go get some more…so we had to wait for that too.

Lombard Street

Top of Lombard Street…nice, but I really need to get to the bottom and shoot up the street!

For the record, I’m not an ugly tourist…but I’ve seen more efficiency at my local Department of Motor Vehicles than at the cable car turn arounds. So, you say don’t catch the cable cars at the turn arounds. Nice hint. But they weren’t stopping to pick up people because the cars were so full. Not to say the cable cars weren’t fun and had great views. They were, and they did! Just saying…we have a different definition of long lines in the midwest than San Francisco people have.

So we went to Fisherman’s Wharf so SuperGuy could get real live sea food. (’cause he was so upset about losing the Carmel Competion Photo Contest. :rofl: ) Not so much of that in the midwest, I’ll give you Californians that! Here was our view out the dining room window. Truly amazing. SuperGuy picked a great place to eat. :love:

Alcatraz

Alcatraz

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge. So you Californians have the midwest beat, hands down, on sea food, gorgeous views, and no smoking inside. We really do outdo you on waiting in lines though… Oh, and you WAY have us beat on sourdough bread. We should be embarrassed to call the bread we serve in the midwest sour dough!

As an aside…I was well prepared for the C-O-L-D weather…tshirt, sweater, jacket. I still froze my butt off. (which, I guess, if you’re dieting is a good thing. :mrgreen: ) I’ve beeen warmer in the dead of winter in the midwest, than the summer in San Francisco!

But your views are wonderful. The hill streets and architecture are just lovely. The clanging of the cable cars is quaint. The people are nice. The lines at the Apple Store waiting for the new 3G iphone are long, but at least they still had some! (no, I didn’t get one, but I do lust after one, does that count?)

So now I did this whole post without even talking about the conference. I’ll do that tomorrow. I’m staying up way too late in this fake time zone…you do know the real time zone is Central Standard Time, right? :crazy2: (though, I’m not complaining, I did talk to a very tired blogger who flew in from London… 😯 )

It is amazing to talk to all these women who blog. The different kinds of blogs they do. The different stages of blogging they are at…from not started yet to blogging for years. So cool to immerse yourself in the whole online community. After I get home and settled in, I’m going to introduce you to some new cool blogs to check out.

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