One More BlogHer ’14 Recap

blogher14review

Last week was spent in a mad rush to pack up for our beach trip and so thoughts on last weekend’s BlogHer Conference in San Jose has been swirling and marinating and percolating and other -ings in my head, particularly over our 17 hour drive to where I now sit in North Carolina. While there have been many recaps that pointed out the individual best and worst bits of the conference, I’m still going to add one more BlogHer recap to the interwebz.

To read Twitter feeds and Facebook posts and various blog reviews, it seems like the verdict was split on this year’s BlogHer conference.   This was my second BlogHer, and I much appreciated the “smaller” size of this year’s conference. Prior to last year’s conference I had only attended Cybermummy (2011) and CybHer (2012) in London, which were both a more intimate size, so I was overwhelmed by last year’s attendance.  This year there was definitely more elbow room in the expo hall and more time to talk to some of the reps and PR people there, when they were at their booth (more on that later).

My high points:

The EppaNamaste Sangria party was a lovely kickoff to the weekend and it was the easiest official event to chat with other bloggers. I do love sangria, and I adore Farrah Braniff’s (@FarrahBraniff) photography book that was included in the “goodie bag”.

Tip: One cannot properly hold yoga poses in a maxi dress for long periods of time (or at all) so it is imperative that you get someone who can work your iPhone camera app.

The Geek Bar. Probably one of the most overlooked opportunities at BlogHer. I wish I could have cloned myself as while Julie DeNeen’s (@jdeneen4 of Fabulous Blogging) WordPress session was priceless, I also would have loved to sit in on Christine Candelaria’s blogging session, and Stephan Spencer’s SEO session was still going strong at the end. (And SEO still confounds me a bit. I started blogging before SEO was a thing, and so I feel like someone’s granddad trying to get the thirteen year old to explain texting or Facebook or Twitter.)

The “I’m Enough” campaign, and the booth sponsored by the Mrs. Oh my word, I was expecting to hear a song by the Mrs or I don’t know what – there wasn’t any other bloggers at their booth when I arrived so I had no heads up about all the lovely things she was saying to me. It wasn’t even until they asked a question and I answered – and got a comment in return – that I even realized it wasn’t a recorded piece. Yes, I cried,  and I would really like to pack one of those ladies up to talk to me daily. (Particularly now that I’m seeing all those photos of me from the expo, all of which make me think I’m actually “more than enough” given how large I look in some of those dresses. I’ve GOT to learn my angles and best sides. And lose twenty pounds.)

Like I said, I could use those ladies whispering in my ear on a regular basis.

The Future of Personal Blogging session. Of all the sessions I attended, this one got the most vocal mixed response. I heard a lot of negativity in that it didn’t actually address the FUTURE of personal blogging, and that it was just three bloggers talking about themselves, and not so much the future. But what could these three ladies base the conversation on but personal experiences? (I went into it with that in mind.) There were a few comments that stayed with me and really made me think about where I want to go with my blog.  Of all the sessions, this is the one that touched me the most deeply and has left me looking deeper at where I want my blog to go, so I think it hit its mark.

The closing party with Rev Run of Run-DMC was epic. EPIC.

 

My “meh” bits:

Where the hell was the water? I’ve never been to a conference where water was so hard to find.  I appreciate a late afternoon coffee as much as anyone but my roomie and I were grateful for the water we bought at the local Safeway.

I confess: I had mixed feelings about the Selfiebration. I liked the idea at the start, but there were so many booths at the Expo that wanted you to tweet your selfie that all I could think of was “what is my Instagram/Twitter stream looking like?”  .

Miscellaneous bits:

Seeing the Skype booth and being overcome with guilt because I realized that I had forgotten to arrange a Skype with my kids’ former classmates in Wales before school broke for the holidays. I pledged then and there to be more consistent with scheduling Skype calls for my kids (and for me). Skype is going to become that much more important to us in the very near future, too.

My lunchtime twitter exchange with @AMotherLife, @DomesticPirate, @dazyladyblog and @LucyBall15 over the sadness of the salad, the meager amount of fruit for dessert and the general lack of water at the conference.  It made me laugh and forget how hungry I was. And really, it just emphasized the value of these conferences simply for both catching up with old friends, and getting to meet in person members of some of the tribes that I’m now a part of.

The bottom line: did I get out of it what I wanted/hoped for?

Mostly. I did get to meet women in real life who I interact with either via Twitter, Facebook groups and their blogs, as well as spending time with friends.

The stuff I took away from the WordPress session made up for what I didn’t get out of other sessions. And I walked away with A’Driane Nieves’ (@addyeB) words ringing in my head: “I knew what kind of blogger I didn’t want to be.”

I think that was the biggest takeaway for me: a motivation to take a deeper look at where I want my blog to go. I’ve been toying with a name change (tired of being pigeon-holed as merely a mommy blogger) and a logo change (as much as I love it, too many expo vendors once again thought I write about alcohol. While I do have the occasional glass of wine or Tito’s and tonic, I guzzle a lot more coffee, so….) Yes. I have a lot to think about, and came away with perspective.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Comments

  1. What, walking up 10 flight of stairs wasn’t a high point? lol Nice meeting you at BlogHer14!

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