Tuesday, July 30, 2013

You went to BlogHer '13 and all I got was a bunch of lube?

BlogHer 2013.  What is it?

Kate made this darling badge.  I heart Kate.
First off, if you are not familiar with the woman-owned and operated blogging platform known as BlogHer -- and you write a blog . . . and are a woman -- I suggest you get to know it.  BlogHer is a blogging aggregator that features hundreds of blogs written and designed by women for the purpose of sharing and promoting blogs with a massive audience.  It's easy to sign up and once you do, you have the opportunity of being one of the featured blogs of the day.  I've held that honor twice and am angling for space in the BlogHer Publishing Network, which PAYS for blog posts.  Applications and your first born child are involved in that process.

Okay, so now you kinda know what BlogHer is.  Onto the BlogHer Conference.  What is that all about?

BlogHer has been convening a two-day conference since 2009 in different cities across the U.S.  The company features speakers who provide advice and inspiration (or irritation, depending on your perspective), and break-out panels, round table discussions, and writing labs for the over 4,000 bloggers who attend.  Oh yeah, and there's an Expo full of corporate and nonprofit booths peddling their wares and hoping to make connections with bloggers who might scratch their back if the bloggers scratch theirs.  In other words, I came back with a ton of swag.

I won this plant
By far the most popular booth was the Trojan "Wheel of Pleasure" game where bloggers spun and won prizes such as lube, and more lube, and different colors of lube.

But I don't need anymore lube . . . 
Probably the best question for me at this point is: Why did I go to BlogHer '13?

Initially, I hoped to learn a bit about technology and design, maybe network with other bloggers as much as my cynical and introverted self would allow, and meet the women with whom I've become friends through blogging over the last year.  Those were perfectly reasonable goals.  I did meet some lovely women and have a two-inch stack of business cards to file.  I also attended two excellent break-out sessions, one with journalists/bloggers Tracy Beckerman from Lost in Suburbia and Rosalind Cummings-Yeates from Farsighted Fly Girl about pitching to newspapers and periodicals and another with Jen Phillips April, social media trainer, about rockin' your social media.  Meeting my online friends Chris, Jen, and Cindy, and spending time with the ever-wonderful Kate was also worth the price of registration.


Me + Jen + Kate = Yay!
The Voices of the Year Awards was another highlight of the conference.  Overall, the women were good writers, had excellent stage presence, told funny, moving, and important stories, and were well-deserving of their recognition.  Here, I'm going to point you to two of my favorite posts:

1. Raising Colorado: DIY Is Full Of Danger
2. Ann Imig from Listen To Your Mother and Ann's Rants (can't find the link, but I adore her)
3. (I lied, 3 faves) Life with Roozle's I Got Saved at Jesus Camp

You may have heard (or not) that Queen Latifa hosted.  She seemed completely confused about what she was doing and why she was there for the entire event, but she was very enthusiastic.

Other speakers included Ree Drummond, the hilarious and impressive creator of The Pioneer Woman  (Her story of success is inspiring because it was unexpected, plus she seems genuine and charming.), Sheryl Sandberg (The Lean In lady -- jury is still out on this one;  I liked her better the first time around when she called herself Gloria Steinem and wasn't pulling in six figures), and Gale Ann Hurd, producer of The Walking Dead, Aliens, and The Terminator.  I'd link to the famous names I've dropped, but Google can find them, no prob.  I'd rather highlight the names you may not have seen or heard of before.

I'm just giving you a run-down of the conference because it was a lot to take in, in a short amount of time.  Also, I perpetually felt like the awkward new kid.  And I had sincere moments of doubt -- Why AM I here?  I want to write and publish my writing and EVEN GET PAID for my writing, but I'm not so sure about putting an ad for Pillsbury or Jamba Juice on my blog and I certainly don't want to do product endorsements.  I'll ho a little, folks, but I do have some dignity.

My thoughts are this: I'm not sure if I'm heading to BlogHer '14.  I'm just not sure.

Now if Wild Ophelia chocolates returns with their free bars of exotic chocolate (Um, Beef Jerky Chocolate?  Yes, yes I will try that.), I'm in.

18 comments:

  1. Great run-down of something so huge, it's a bear to condense to a readable post. But somehow, you did it.
    I loved meeting you!Even if you call yourself an introvert, you were funny and charming. So there!

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    1. Thanks, Chris. I really wanted to get this bear of a post written so I can focus on more important and interesting things, like lice and emergency room visits.

      Btw, you sooo need to contact Dyson with your idea. I see big bucks.

      And I loved meeting you, Chris. Funny and charming back atcha. Rest up.

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  2. You are hilarious. And you put into words exactly what I'm feeling about the blogging world. Hope you are finding a good use for all the lube. Keep up the great writing.

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    1. Thanks, Carrie. Do you have a URL yet? Please send it to me!! And let's chat about this blogging adventure some time.

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  3. I can't believe I didn't get around to the Trojan booth... one of life's greatest regrets... le sigh.

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  4. I love the social aspect of blogging, but I often find myself wondering where exactly I want to go with my blog. Do I want to go ANYwhere? I used to blog for fun, but now my perspective has been skewed by how "corporate" blogging has become.

    I'm still curious to learn about ways to maximize my blog though, and I'm very curious about using BlogHer as a resource. Thanks for the recap of the show. I like going to conferences, so I think I'd like to go to BlogHer's expo at least once to check it out.

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    1. Hi Christine,
      It's nice to have a local voice pitching in. Thanks for the comment.
      You should definitely check out the BlogHer conference some time and see what you think. I don't think I got enough out of the experience, but some of that was definitely my fault and some of that was not having enough time to go to all of the sessions. It's nice to know I'm not the only one with mixed feelings about blogging for cash.
      Heading over to your blog now.

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  5. I admire your honesty. I think most people would say that socially, BlogHer13 was a success--many wonderful women were there and many new friendships were made and online friendships were strengthened. But as far as how many careers were sent into the stratosphere? That remains to be seen, and I'm not sure how may bloggers will readily admit the truth about that one.

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    1. Thanks, Mindy. I truly appreciate your comment.

      I do agree with you that making genuine contact with other bloggers was the best part of the experience, especially the bloggers who I've made virtually friends with over the past year.

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  6. No lube here either. For shame.

    I did get some cookies though!

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    1. Ha! Were they the cookies in the vacuum pack? I was afraid of those. I did get some pudding and Girl Scout crackshakes.

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  7. I'm with you about the cash. Not sure about that. I'm a new 72-year-old-blogger. The most fun I had was truly meeting new people. Including a young man at one of the parties. ( who remembers the names) I will go back just because of the people involved. That's what did it for me. I will also go ahead of time so that I can spend time touring the city,no matter where it si. I think the expansion of my visions was the best part. Maye we'll meet next year.

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    1. Sandra,
      I love that you're a new blogger at 72! I'm a mid-life blogger and there are dozens of me out there. Congratulations on taking the leap, and for heading to BlogHer '13. I admire your open-mindedness. Hope I didn't offend you. I'm a cynic at heart and such an introvert that I tend to be one of those people who doesn't participate, but does criticize. I tempered that the best I could over the weekend and had some good educational moments, nice connecting-with-others moments, and some just plain silly moments.

      I hope we do meet next year (if it's on the East Coast, I'll go).

      Thanks for your comment.

      Amy

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  8. "You may have heard (or not) that Queen Latifa hosted. She seemed completely confused about what she was doing and why she was there for the entire event, but she was very enthusiastic."

    That is the best description I've seen of our illustrious VOTY emcee so far.

    My first BlogHer was in 2007. Every year I say I'm not going back because I don't make money blogging. And yet, I still go. I love it so much for the connections, the inspiration, and the community.

    And lube.

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    1. Thank you, Marty. I am so afraid I'm going to catch hell for saying that or criticizing Sheryl Sandberg (or misspelling her name).

      You're right about the community. If I can promise myself not to be shy again, I'll go next year.

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Comments for me? Thanks a bunch!