So, if you follow me anywhere on social media (you know.. like here, or here, or here) , you are well aware I just spent my weekend at the 2014 BlogHer Conference in San Jose.
Normally I would not attend this mega-conference, but because it was right in my backyard this year I thought I would swing by. (I drove in every day, I didn’t need a hotel or anything.) It was an.. say we say.. interesting.. experience. After coming from the Haven Conference just 2 short weeks ago, I will admit that BlogHer had a lot to live up to.
I doubt I will ever attend another BlogHer conference unless it is in the Bay Area again, just because it was really NOT focused on experienced bloggers or anything to do with DIY. It would be a great conference for a new blogger or anyone who blogs about women, kids, family, current events or lifestyle. That is what the sessions and sponsors were focused on.
It isn’t that I had a bad time.. It was really quite fun, but I just didn’t feel like I could connect with a lot of the other attendees. It was pretty much the polar opposite of my 2014 Haven experience, which was ALL about connecting with like-minded, similarly niched bloggers. I enjoyed many of the featured speakers and Voices of the Year, but I didn't feel like I got a lot out of the blogging sessions. It was a lot more about 'entertainment' than it was about 'education' for me.
Okay.. enough of the negative! I’ve learned that you don’t get anywhere by focusing on the negative, so instead of further discussion of why BlogHer wasn’t a great fit for me, I thought I would instead feature the stuff I DID love. Without further ado, here are the:
2014 BlogHer Conference Awards
Congrats to all the winners.. your checks are in the mail*
Most Touching Moment: Thank You Montage for Katherine Stone of PostparturmProgressThere were a LOT of amazing, and inspirational talks. Some made you think and others made you laugh, but none touched me the way Katherine’s Stone’s did. From her hidden battle with Postpartum OCD to the founding a non-profit organization to help women all over the world, her heartfelt and touching story was captivating.
Selected as one of the 10x10 project speakers, BlogHer honored Katherine with an extremely touching video of just a small fraction of the women she touched in her 10 years of educating mothers about Postpartum depression and other disorders. Closing with comments from her own husband and children, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. (The video isn’t available yet, but when it is I will update this post)
If you know of ANY new mom or mom-to-be who is struggling (or even who appears to have it all together) you should share her site and organization with them. It could save someone’s life (seriously).
Funniest Keynote: The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson)
I have read her book, and even shared Beyonce with my mother.. but she still cracked me up.
Best Swag: Backup Battery Courtesy of Skype
Clearly Skype knows the target audience of a blog conference. My phone was dead by noon on the first day, but thanks to the Skype booth, I was able to charge it up and keep it going on a back-up portable battery that they were giving away.
Blog sponsors take note: I heard about the batteries via word of mouth and hustled right over to their booth. They were the ‘hot’ swag item for 2014. I wouldn’t have even visited if I hadn’t heard about them. (And now look.. Skype just got a shout out!) THINK ABOUT IT
Best Company Spokes-blogger: Cristin of Simplified BeeJust when I was feeling like the ONLY blogger who cared about home improvement or design, I stumbled into the Pledge booth and who should happen to be there but one of my favorite design bloggers: Mrs. Simplified Bee herself!
She is currently working with them and it was wonderful to see a familiar face from my side of the blogosphere! Plus she was giving out coupons for pledge.. sure, it wasn’t a phone charger but I’ll take it.
Best Sponsor Pitch: Bridgestone DriveGuard TiresSeriously, I wouldn’t normally include a sponsor pitch, but Bridgestone HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK with their DriveGuard test drive. A small select group of bloggers (including yours truly) was driven to the middle of nowhere in the blazing heat, and dropped in the middle of a flea market parking lot. (Okay, I'm not really selling it. Hold on, it gets better...) Once there, we we were given the chance to race around a wet track with former professional race car drivers!! (Real ones.. not just former Uber drivers!)
Do I even have to say how FREAKING FUN this was? I actually took video during one of the drives, but I was being thrown around so much, you can barely tell what is going on.
We also had a chance to drive on a completely flat (like someone-stuck-a-screwdriver-into-it-flat) DriveGuard tire which actually didn’t feel flat at all. You can drive up to 50 miles (at up to 50 MPH) on one safely. I'll never get stranded on the side of the road again.**
Bloggers I’m Most Likely to Run Into at Safeway: The Bay Area Bloggers Facebook Group
|Me, Leslie (Trips with Tykes), Maryanne (Mama Smiles), Amy (Using our Words), Anne (Left brain Craft brain), Jennifer (Hint Mama) Veena (Tiaras to Babies)|
Reichel (Copycat Chic)
Maya (memetales), Rachel (Tinkerlab) Heather (MamaDish)
Even though I am a semi-recent transplant to the Bay Area, these bloggers are have been warm and welcoming. Most of them are much bigger bloggers than myself, and I have learned a ton from them!
Best Unintentional Product Placement: Apple Inc.This is a photo of the audience in the 'Monetizing your Blog’ breakout session. It totally looks like some sort of MacBook Ad. And everywhere you went, people were on their iDevices.. iPhones, iPads, and every variety of MacBook.. If it was mac-related, it was at BlogHer.
Sure, we are in Silicon Valley, only 9.7 miles from Apple HQ.. but you would think at least one PC would be visible in the room. I guess it is true, Apple is taking over the world. (Disclosure: You can't see it, but my MacBook is on the table in front of me!***)
Best Event: Closing partyFeaturing all you could eat McDonalds, unlimited beer and wine and RevRun of Run DMC fame, the wrap up party was my favorite event of the conference.
I think I liked it so much because it was so laid back. It wasn’t ‘fussy’ or stiff, and when you throw in hours of re-mixed 80s music, how could you go wrong?
Sponsor who really GOT me: Keurig and Nescafe (Tie)
This probably needs no explanation. There was plenty of coffee at this event. Starbucks, Psuedo-Starbucks, Keurig, Nescafe Dolce Gusto.. That made for one happy sleep-deprived blogger!
Well.. that about wraps it up. For all the speakers and sponsors and events that didn't make the cut, don't feel bad. It was an honor just to be nominated. There is always next year..
*don’t hold your breath
** they didn’t ask me to write that and it is true! This isn’t a sponsored post, but I feel like I should tell you since they were so awesome and I really do think those tires would be kick butt to have on my car.
*** if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate****
**** that is nerd humor. If you don't get it, I apologize.