This will be my last BlogHer 09 Post. While I will be doing some select reviews of products I received, those will be shuttled over to my review site, Queen of the Free Bees. That is, as soon as I can quit making love to my Land's End Eco-Friendly Backpack. Ahem. (Hat tip to MomSelect and I did not even have to pummel anyone out of the way for it.)
I feel compelled to point out that this Blogging-Conference-For-Women-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named was actually a great conference. Meaning, nearly all of the shenanigans that folks are ruminating over like cows on hay actually happened at outside events, not the actual conference itself. For example, the Swag Bag Smackdowns were happening at parties, not at the registration table. Furthermore, Nikon hates babies, not BlogHer (Dude, JOKING. Nikon does not hate babies. Rather, it was the Chicago's Flatwater club, the venue in which the party was held, who hates babies.)
I think it does a great disservice to the founding ladies of BlogHer and to the conference itself to wrap up a few greedy grubbers into the single moniker of "BlogHer". I am seeing loads of wide-sweeping, grand-standing statements written to the tune of ".....and this is why I would never go to BlogHer." Which is quite sad, because the conference is fairly well-organized with a plethora of topics on the agenda. A person would be hard-pressed to not find something in which she was interested.
So. While I had a fantabulous time at some parties (most notably, CheeseburgHer, Mamapop, the People's Party and BowlHer), I did enjoy the conference, too. What, pray tell, did I like the most?
First, the Community Keynote - the Keynote is a selection of posts read aloud by their authors (posts are chosen by committee.) It is the type of event that will make you laugh, cry, laugh and cry again, just short of rending your garments. You will walk away inspired by the voices out there. You will want to better yourself and your writing style and become one of those voices. We all have a story lurking deep within our souls and everyone's story has the potential to touch someone else's soul - the Community Keynote drives that statement home.
Second, the Expo - no, it was not just about grabbing free stuff. I actually was able to sit with some vendors and learn something. For example, I am going to be purchasing Picnik Premium - I was able to sit with one of the reps and she showed me the tools. While I do use the free version of Picnik with my Flickr account, it turns out that the Premium version is the perfect, low-cost solution for my photo-editing needs that I have been pondering for months now. Also, at the Elations booth, I was able to sit with the lovely Andrea Metcalf and explain some health issues I have been experiencing. Seriously, I thought I was headed down the path of arthritis, which runs deeply in my family. However, after speaking with Andrea, I have some new things to consider and some dietary adjustments to make that may very well help with my problems. These are just a few of the examples from the Expo.
Third, the lunches and the cocktail hours - at all of these BlogHer related functions, I had a fabulous time sitting with new people and expanding my universe a bit. It does not take a lot to meet new folks - just a "Hi, my name is Kelli. And you are?" will do. As it turns out, folks love talking about themselves. And I enjoyed listening.
Fourth, the panels - Duh, right? If you attended BlogHer 09, what was your favorite panel? Why? My favorite panel was "MommyBlogging: “Balance” is a Big, Fat, Lying, McLiar LIE for Moms who Blog (and the rest of us too)". I have struggled with finding balance in the past - as I suspect many other "online" mothers have. It is a very tiny line between connecting with folks and becoming obsessed with my email, Twitter and feed reader. This panel was informative because there were a great number of gals from the audience sharing their stories - it was not just the panelists. The panel I wished I had gone to? The panel titled "Room of Your Own 2: Blogging as Storytelling" I have heard fabulous things coming out of that panel. Maybe next year?
Speaking of which....... I have registered for BlogHer 10. Economically, it works out best for me - I had the money anyway. And with my registration fee now paid, I can concentrate on strong-arming some folks into bunking with me while simultaneously saving up for the rest of the incidentals. With the exception of 2007 (darned those babies born in July.) I have been going to BlogHer every year since its inception in 2005. And every year it just gets better.
New York City has no idea.