The fact that the 2011 BlogHer Conference starts today in San Diego may not mean much to some folks who read here, particularly those who don’t blog at all, blog only about books, or are guys (all four of you). But there are others who read here – and whose blogs I read in return – for whom this is A Very Big Deal.
I went to BlogHer’09 in Chicago and BlogHer’10 in New York City, but I’m sitting out this year’s conference, despite the fact it’s literally just down the road (or the train tracks) – a few hours’ trip south to San Diego. Yeah, in that context, it doesn’t make sense to me either.
I think BlogHer puts together a terrific conference, and when I look over the agenda, there are sessions I’d be sure to attend if I were there, and I’m a bit regretful about missing them. (Then again, maybe I won’t have to miss them after all – there’s always the Virtual BH’11!) There are also people that I don’t get a chance to see in person anywhere else – including, sadly, some of my fellow Los Angeles-area bloggers – and I’m more than a bit regretful about missing them, as well as forgoing the chance to connect new faces with the writing I read online.
But while there will probably be a number of blog posts this week from people lamenting that they couldn’t go to BlogHer, this honestly isn’t one of those posts. I could have gone. I bought a ticket last fall…and then second-guessed it for ages, telling myself I could always sell it if I was still waffling in a few months. And I did sell it back in May, not long before I went to Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention.
I have no regrets about my choice, largely because what happens at a conference isn’t just about what happens in those sessions. It’s about the meet-ups and parties and networking that go on outside those sessions, too. There are people who go to BlogHer just for that action – much of which is sponsored – and barely attend the conference sessions at all. And I just don’t feel like I fit into that action very well these days. Aside from my social ineptitude and general discomfort with big, noisy parties, I’m not likely to blog about swag or brands that aren’t books or authors or publishers, so the “brand events” really don’t hold much attraction for me.
That said, I’m not saying that I’m done with BlogHer’s conferences. I love the community and what it’s done, and I’ll definitely consider going again next year. But I also have to consider why I’d go and what I’d want from it; that’s changed since I went to my first BlogHer, and shifted again since truly finding my tribe at Book Blogger Con.
There was one other factor in my decision to pass up this year’s BlogHer: I knew I’d be at the San Diego Convention Center just two weeks before. I’ll be posting about my Comic-Con adventures next week! Meanwhile – not that anyone who’s actually going to BlogHer will have time to read this post – I hope everyone at BlogHer has a fantastic time and gets what she wants from the experience! And I doubt you’ll have to spend hours in line to get into Ballroom 20, so there’s that.