Though I haven’t been blogging that long on DontMesswithMama.com, I have kept a blog for my family since 2004. I work on social media for my day job. I’m a Twitterholic and love reading parenting and homeschooling blogs instead of watching TV.
I’ve known about BlogHer for years, so when I heard it was coming to San Diego in 2011 I bought my ticket as soon as I could. I didn’t know what to expect but I was hoping for insight on how to write better content and be a better blogger.
Here’s my recap:
- I think the biggest benefit of BlogHer was the networking. I made a lot of connections with other bloggers. But the trick is to align with like-minded bloggers. I found myself enjoying conversations with other eco-related bloggers like @kindercycle and @greenbacksgal. I also related to social media moms like @_themaven and family travel bloggers like @glennia.
- The meals were fantastic – honestly, I think only a conference for and hosted by women would be as detail oriented about offering vegan and gluten-free options. I also loved the networking at the tables. I had the liveliest conversation with interior design bloggers @JennBrouswer and @paintalifestyle from Canada. They cracked me up.
- In some ways BlogHer felt like high school. You could spot the fashion bloggers a mile away, along with the celebrity chatter about who’s who that came along with it. There was a flash mob, which was interesting to watch from a distance but felt a little bit like watching the cheerleading squad before a big game. Then, there were the exclusive parties that only some bloggers got invited to but you still heard about them all over Twitter.
- The content of the breakout sessions were hit or miss. Maybe it’s because I partly do social media as my day job, but most of the content wasn’t new to me. There were lots of questions from the audience about how to use SEO on a blog, how to become a social media marketer, and how to pitch to a brand or PR company. I think it’s great content for newbies to blogging and working in the business. I would love if BlogHer created beginning, intermediate, and advanced sessions to cater to the experience level of the audience.
- My favorite session was about the future of food. It’s a topic near and dear to my heart. You must check out FedUpWithLunch.com and DianasaurDishes.com. I was really inspired by Diana from Dianasaur Dishes and her work in teaching her local community how to eat healthy on a budget. I still can’t believe that some people eat fast food 3 times a day and think salad dressing can only be bought from a store. I hope one day to be able to do more advocacy work in helping more family eat healthy.
- The other session I enjoyed was about blogging about imperfections. It included @brenebrown - whom I’ve heard before and absolutely loved. @mrlady was inspiring to hear as well – especially about her journey in figuring out what to blog about and what was off limits. I could feel her raw emotion about blogging her kids and her husband. Kudos to her work.
- The session about cyberbullying downright scared the crap out of me. I only stayed a few minutes but what I heard about the threats @queenofspain was getting was heartbreaking. I can’t wait to download the full session transcript when it’s available.
- There’s a ton of swag. Like seriously, so much I brought a rolling duffle bag on day 2 to help me get around. Don’t laugh. I saw some bloggers with a rolling laptop bag on day 1 and was tempted to swipe one. This pregnant lady can’t carry around 2 bags of swag.
- For some reason, there were a lot of wallets and purses getting stolen. At one point, I heard about 10 or so had been stolen. So watch your stuff next year.
- There’s a ton of parties. At 8.5 months pregnant, I just wasn’t interested in attending any of them. I was so tired at the end of the day and couldn’t drink anyway so I didn’t attend. But I heard they were fun.
- By day 2, I was so tired from walking that I only made it half the day. I really tried to stay but my back and hips were not having it. Plus, I missed my boys and didn’t want to spend the entire weekend without them.
More about the swag and brand sponsors in my next post.