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 Mom, A 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.
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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