BlogHer10: Pros and Cons

The swag is put away (mostly), the business cards gone through (totally), the laryngitis fading (sorry, hubby, I can talk endlessly again). Yes, it  was my first year at Blogher, and now it’s time for a little post mortem.  Just how was it?

I went into BlogHer thinking that how I felt about BlogHer would pretty much determine whether or not I continued blogging at all.  I had kinda lost my groove after the unexpected demise of SVMoms, and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to feel groovy again. You know, what with the requisite fringe vests and all.

I’m still not quite sure how I feel.  So I’m going to make a list of pros and cons, bests and worsts, and see what wins.

Pro: The conference was in NY. For me, that meant no travel or lodging costs (I live here). For many, it meant a first trip to the Big Apple.

Pro: It was nice to be in a community of women who speak blog-ese.  Most of my IRL friends have no idea what I’m talking about half the time.  And they certainly wouldn’t wait in a restroom to have an audience with The Bloggess. Not that I begrudge The Bloggess her little corner of fame.  She’s truly  funny and she’s worked for it.  But the bathroom?  Really?

Con: The conference was ginormous! 2400 women (mostly, anyway). Which made it feel less like a community and more like a bunch of cows being herded into over-air conditioned pens.

Pro:  I got to hang with some of my favorite people: beccarama, Selfish MomA Child Grows in Brooklyn, MamaKnows Breast and ChefDruck.   And I got to meet some new, smart, funny bloggers, like isdisnormal, VodkaMom and Single Gal in the City.

Con: The overall vibe of the conference – at least for me – was not all that warm and fuzzy.  People were a little clique-ish, and defensive.  A simple “where are you from?” practically got my eyebrows singed off from the darts the person I’d asked was shooting at me with her eyes.  When did “Where are you from?” become fightin’ words? At Blogher10, that’s where.

Pro: There were healthy choices at all three meals.  (courtesy of Tropicana)

Con: There wasn’t enough time to eat – much less make  it to too many of the sessions. There was too much happening at once,  no way to go to all the things you might want to.  Maybe that’s a sign of a good conference — so much you want to do.  But I thought it was a sign that maybe less is more.

Pro: There was a lot of swag.

Con: There was a lot of swag. So much swag, that I suffered from Swag Shoulder for two days, living on Motrin and borrowed time.

Here’s the thing about swag: no one really needs another mousepad. Or another button with the logo of another company.And please, please, not another eco-friendly reusable bag.  Because when you have 57 eco-bags, they stop being ecological and start being a big ole pain in the ass.  But it is swag, and we all like to get the stuff.

Some of my favorites:

Got Milk’s portable cereal container, useful and not too heavy to carry around.

Oscillococcinum. Because once cold season starts my family and I practically live on the stuff, and now I won’t have to buy as much. A freebie I would have bought anyway? Excellent.

The Wheaties t-shirt.  Just because.

RCA Music, Video and Photo player. Small enough to stick in your pocket.  And free, so I won’t be too upset if one of my kids loses it. (when, not if.)

Avery‘s thoughtful NYC survival kit from the Social Luxe party. It may have just been bandaids and tissues and stuff, but it was well thought out, thoroughly useful, and cleverly packaged.  Go Avery.  Way to make portable toothbrushes fun.

Also from the social luxe party – Foxy Blunt’s gift cards. Hysterical.Sophisticated. Kinda evil. And totally bitchin’. And Mabels Labels cord labels. I think I’m officially a groupie.

I love the Assets tummy control panties – because anything I can do to look thinner without actually having to work to get thinner…consider it done. And the FULL SIZED samples from Eucerin. Love the new fragrance and trust Eucerin not to make my skin look like I just spent three days in an air-conditioned over-sized land-locked cruise ship peopled by swag frenzy housewives.

And, of course, we can’t forget the Sex Toys from Eden Fantasys.  Hey, laugh all you like, but I didn’t see any of those vibrators on the swag recycling table, did you?

Pro: The inspiring international bloggers: www.mideastyouth.com – wicked funny, incredibly brave. www.humanityashore.org – beautiful, moving photos from a brave photo journalist who manages to get what she wants, even in a country where women don’t get too much.  www.awwproject.org – a place where the mostly illiterate and unheard women of Afghanistan get a voice. And mujereslibres.blogspot.com – paying tribute to Latin American women who fight for the rights of others every day.

In the end, it was this last pro that mattered. Those brave women who were risking their lives to blog – they were inspiring.  They made me think about blogging giving people a voice, effecting change.  They made me thing of the  2400 attendees not as swag-swilling women, but as a collective voice that can be used for something other than naval gazing and product reviews.

So in the end, BlogHer did matter.  It was inspiring to hear those women.  It was reassuring to see that so many other women are blogging just like me.  And I guess I’ll keep on going.

That is if all the swag I’ve piled up doesn’t tip over and crush me on my way to my computer.

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Comments

  1. says

    Just when I’m sure I can live without attending a blogger event…darn you!
    Sounds like fun AND you met THE BLOGGESS?
    I was doing important stuff too… Just give me a minute to make it up! LOL!

  2. Deb Feyerick says

    I’m still in mourning about SV Moms. I miss finding the words that explain why I do what I do and what it means in the grand scheme of things. I wrote a blog the other day just for kicks. Maybe I’ll start saving them up for when a new moms blog comes along. Not to mention I miss reading the talented cooperative of writers. As for the 2400 people — that’s considered a mid-size cruise. Now 4000 people, that’s large. Dios Mio. xo

    • says

      There ARE some new places already. Check out TheSmartly.com and I know that some others are out there too, starting up. I’ll keep you posted. You’re too good to be writing and keeping it all in a drawer!

  3. says

    Exellent recap. I saw three people with SERIOUS bruises on their shoulders from carrying around bags of swag. Crazy. I did hit the exhibit hall, just because I was a newbie, but I would totally skip it next time.

    There were some amazing moments that made up for all the overwhelming that made it worth it for me. But I definitely have a different set of objectives if I go next time.

  4. says

    Great summary of it all.

    The swag shoulder I got turned into neck and back pain- went to my chiropractor tonight. When he asked me what happened I was totally embarrassed to admit I had swag shoulder so I told him it was yoga…um, right!

    My favorite moments were hanging out in hotel rooms, going to the parties, running into you and others in the hallways, going to the exhibition hall and finding the real in it all through hanging with new and old friends.

    I would liked to have seen more emphasis on blogging and less on consumerism. I thought there was an unhealthy balance.

    Having said that I was glad to connect with a lot of brands. I learned some new things (Earth’s Best now has flushable wipes) and the new hemrroid ice packs (not for me of course!).

  5. says

    Great post! But question: did you really go to the bathroom to meet another blogger? Say it isn’t so! I have seriously convinced myself that there is something terribly wrong with me, terribly, terribly wrong, when it seems so many people cared little about the fact that this was what needed to be done to meet someone. But what the hell do I know, I don’t read half those blogs anyway!

    • says

      OK – first – did you really read this post at 2am? Get some sleep, honey! Second – no I did NOT go to the bathroom for an audience with the Blogess. Who, I understand, is a perfectly normal, if more funny than anybody person who can’t help it if her celebrity in the blogging world makes her feel like she has to hide in the stalls!

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