BlogHer, Not My Thing

I wanted to like BlogHer. I did. A conference about blogging for women. I’m a woman. I’m a blogger.  Perfect.

But as a first-time conference goer, I found myself unable to tap into the enthusiasm many attendees seemed to genuinely possess.

Maybe it was the fact that in almost every session I attended, someone in the audience asked what SEO is (I’m not saying this is bad, it just illustrates there were a lot of newcomers to the web and blogging in attendance). Or maybe it was every woman I met (who were all friendly and welcoming) happened to be a “mommy blogger.” Or it could have been the Expo Hall felt way too much like a 1950s cliché, dominated by packaged/prepared food, cleaning supplies and kitchenware vendors. Or it could have just been that unlike many of the women who were repeat attendees reuniting with friends, I was out of my geographic comfort zone without a posse to hold court with. Whatever the case, I didn’t fall in love the experience.

In BlogHer’s defense, I don’t typically go gaga for conferences (with the exception of my maiden voyage to SXSW), for the same reason I don’t like smorgasbords: a lot of broad, general content, without a lot of nuance and quality. While the speakers I heard from were knowledgeable, it felt like too often, they catered to the lowest common denominator. Not really the speaker’s fault, more a consequence of the format, but less than satisfying for me nonetheless. Perhaps if there were beginner, intermediate and advanced tracks, this would have been less of a problem. And perhaps if I had gone to any of the parties (I heard the parties are a big part of BlogHer’s appeal), I would have gotten more out of the networking aspect. But I didn’t. And I also didn’t go nuts for the swag. I heard a lot of women talking and tweeting about the swag. I’m not really a swag kind of gal.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I failed to mention one obvious aspect of the conference…men (or lack thereof). I missed them (although there were a few in attendance). As someone whose been one of a handful of woman at similar-sized conferences comprised of mostly men, it feels unnatural to me to have just one gender talking about issues and content that are not gender specific. My motivation for going was to increase my knowledge of blogging. The fact that I’m a woman was secondary.

So while I understand the value of BlogHer, whose mission since 2005 has been “to create opportunities for women who blog to gain exposure, education, community and economic empowerment,” I’m more interested in focusing on the blog over the her.

To each her own.

6 thoughts on “BlogHer, Not My Thing”

  1. Interesting post. I had wondered if I was missing out on a lot more than the nice SoCal weather. Doesn’t sound like it, though. Wonder how the conference will evolve…or not. xoxo

    PS Owe you an email :).

    1. @0a64b698e2069ada232f01397c783cc4:disqus Maybe if I had a group of friends at the conference, I would’ve enjoyed it more. But to be honest, I hope in the future there won’t be a need for gender-specific conferences, unless it’s about ovaries or something truly gender specific.

  2. Whoo…I’m not the only one. 

    This was my first conference ever.  I was overwhelmed at first but got the hang of it within a few hours and a margarita.

    I went to learn and network.  I did a little of both.  I wish they had sessions labeled “beginner” or “advanced” blogging.  There were times I felt I knew more than a speaker OR I was wasting my time.  I sat in 6 sessions and 3 were VERY useful and 3 were not.

    Networking.  Where do I begin?  At meals and any one on one times, I had amazing conversations.  But when I ventured to any party, alone, I felt, well, lonely.  It was click heaven.  I even tried to talk to women and they seemed indifferent.  Maybe it was timing and approach.

    I am by now means saying I did not like Blogher 11.  I found speakers and the women I met inspiring.  I even spoke to one of the sponsors and HIS story inspired me.  I got great swag and I only took what I liked. 

    I learned a lot and will take that knowledge to the next conference….with men, lol.

    ~Allie

  3. Thanks for the comment. I did glean some nuggets of wisdom out of the sessions I attended, just not enough to make me want to go back again. I’m thinking of checking out BlogWorld Expo in LA this November: http://www.blogworldexpo.com/2011-la/

  4. I think I would feel the same about your experience to BlogHer to attend. I have never been compelled as it just seems to me pushing more of the separation of technology integration and representation of women and minorities that helping our cause. I am convinced now, I will never need to go, unless my trip is comp’d, I am speaking, or I win free groceries for life!

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