BlogHer’10: Bullet Points and Shout-Outs

I’ll warn you again, in case you’ve forgotten – my BlogHer’10 experiences will, once again, be the subject of several posts. I’ve already talked about a couple of sessions in detail. This time, I’m sharing some of my more general impressions in the ever-popular “bullet points” format. But sadly, I don’t have pictures this year, because I couldn’t bring my “good” camera with me – it’s not so good right now, and I just sent it off for repairs.

  • When I arrived at the New York Hilton, it felt like I’d just been there – probably because I had, since we’d stayed there during our vacation six weeks earlier. Not much had changed since the last time. However, now that I’ve been in the City twice in one summer after not being there for at least twenty years, I’ve told Tall Paul that I really don’t want it to be another twenty years before I visit again!
  • If you take a red-eye flight to New York City and arrive at your hotel a couple of hours before your room is ready, there are certainly worse places to wait than the New York Public Library. It was an easy walk from the Hilton – on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, just one long block east and eleven short blocks south – and in addition to being a beautiful building, the Rose Reading Room is air-conditioned and has free Internet. I only left because my laptop battery was getting weak and so was I – it was time to find some lunch! When I returned to the Hilton, my room was ready.
  • When you attend a conference in New York City, there are a lot of things to tempt you away from the conference. And since the lack of seating in the Hilton’s lobby didn’t make it an appealing place to hang out, there was even more incentive to get out. However, I confined most of my escapes to times when I wouldn’t miss sessions; I was more interested in avoiding the parties. That hasn’t changed from last year.
  • BlogHer, however, did make some changes to the social side of the conference. All parties held on-site at the Hilton were officially made part of the conference (and “sponsored” as such), and only official sponsors were allowed to have a presence in conference space. In addition to adding more parties to the program, BlogHer also created a “Chill Space” on Saturday night, where those who just wanted drinks, snacks, and conversation – or who simply had no desire to be overwhelmed by Sparklecorn (which sounds like an introvert’s nightmare, but is a hugely hot ticket) – could hang out for as long as they liked. I had every intention of going to the Chill Space, but didn’t get down there until after 9 PM. I found a friendly table pretty quickly, though, and had a great time. I just wish I’d made it down there sooner, and I really hope the Chill Space returns at BlogHer’11!
  • The popular “brand events” – the usually swag-heavy product shows and parties that are the major draw for some BlogHer attendees – were all required to be held off-site this year, and they went on all day long and into the night. As a result, I suspect some BlogHers didn’t spend much time at the hotel except when they went back there to sleep. Last year I might have been more judgmental about that, but I’ve realized people come to BlogHer for various reasons, and sometimes those reasons are swag, socializing, and marketing activities. I probably missed the chance to see some people I really hoped to talk with because they were off-site so much of the time, and that was disappointing. However, those events really don’t hold much appeal for me personally, and don’t relate to my blog content, so I didn’t mind passing them up (and for the record, I did get invited to a few of them). After all, BlogHer is what you make of it, and I made mine an experience where I’d feel comfortable and enjoy the things I chose to do.
  • Not going to brand events is only one reason I didn’t come back from BlogHer with much swag this year. I meant to go to a few of the sponsor suites and spend more time in the expo hall, but I never really got around to doing either. However, my suitcase was a lot heavier when I went home…because I went book shopping! However, I’m saving that story for my Sunday Salon post this weekend.
  • I didn’t come home with as many blogger business cards this year either, but I’m not sure exactly why. I don’t think it’s because I didn’t talk to as many people. I think it was partly because in some cases, I was seeing people I’d met last year – which was one of the nicest things about NOT being a first-timer at BlogHer – and we had exchanged cards then. Not attending brand events probably cut down on the card-collecting opportunities as well. Also, I skipped out on the speed-dating event at Friday’s breakfast – it’s just a bit much for me!
  • Every year at BlogHer there seems to be one person I see wherever I go – and it usually turns out to be one of The D.C. Moms. Last year it was Stimey, and this year it was the brilliant and inspiring Susan (Whymommy), whose piece at the Voices of the Year Community Keynote was on of the most moving and memorable of all.
  • At Saturday’s breakfast, I got a chance to catch up with Donna of SoCal Mom and Liz Rizzo from Everyday Goddess, who was also one of the featured speakers at the Voices of the Year Community Keynote. On Friday morning, before I slipped away from breakfast, I met fellow Ventura County blogger Suebob from Red Stapler. Yes, I had to go to New York to see some of my local bloggers – that’s how LA-area life goes sometimes.
  • One of the many reasons I loved the Chill Space was that I was relaxed and comfortable there, and actually able to talk with (and hear!) people I’d just met! I hung out with some new-to-me folks in there on Saturday night: Carrie from Kablooey (I think her blog will become a favorite very quickly), Karen from Mignardise (a food blogger who is considering starting up a book blog), and Marcia of the kid-lit blog The Diamond in the Window – part of the teeny-tiny book-blogger contingent present!
  • Speaking of book bloggers, it was great to meet one of my favorites, Gayle of Everyday I Write the Book, and talk with her at the From Left to Write Book Club meet-up on Friday evening! Unfortunately, I missed out on the chance to hang out off-site with her and NYC book blogger Nicole from Linus’s Blanket later that night, but I needed some sleep! I was glad to run into Sassymonkey a few times during the weekend, too.
  • And I can’t talk about book bloggers at BlogHer without mentioning my roommate, Melissa from The Betty and Boo Chronicles. We didn’t go to all the same conference sessions, but in between them, we had some great conversations about books and other things, a few adventures on the subway, a fun Friday evening taking photos of the city from Top of the Rock, and way too much fun scouring bookstores downtown on Saturday afternoon!

Good sessions (in addition to the two I’ve already blogged about, I went to a Geek Lab session on online security and a discussion about lines and limits in personal blogging), good conversations, and not too much of the kind of socializing that overwhelms me – all in all, it was a good BlogHer!

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