so… about BlogHer…

I’ve been to quite a few female-focused blogging conferences in the last few years — BlogHer in 2010, The Creative Connection/BlogHer Handmade in 2011, and AltSummit earlier this year — and I think I hit my saturation point with BlogHer12 last weekend.

I am proud to consider myself a feminist and I am happy that women are being empowered and celebrated in the world of tech… but apparently I’ve been immersed in the online world of women for too long.

BlogHer felt like it was all Stephanie Meyer novels, menopause advice, gluten-free cookies, lactation rooms, vibrators, dietary supplements, and maxi pads. All of which is valid and important, but none of which interests me at this point in my life. Well, except maybe the vibrators…

The single thing that I will remember most about BogHer? All of the men’s restrooms in the hotel were changed to women’s restrooms. And the urinals were HIDDEN BEHIND CURTAINS! Curtains that were brought in just for that purpose. Despite what the conference organizers may think, women CAN handle the sight of urinals. What I personally can’t handle is being completely enclosed in an all-women environment where every trace of men is erased from sight. It just isn’t for me.

Sadly, I was also disappointed with the two sessions I attended: “Ten Things You Can Do Now to Maximize Your Social Media Expertise” and “Streamline Your Technical Toolkit: How to Do More with Less.” The two pieces of advice I took from these two sessions? Proofread your posts and use Google Docs. Thanks.

I did manage to gather a few interesting links to share:

  • My favorite part of the conference: Martha Stewart was one of the keynote speakers. She was as arrogant confident as ever, but she was also really funny. She is definitely a hard worker and I think she might be a genius. Anyhoo, she has a new show, Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, starting in October on PBS. It looks very lovely.
  • Maybe a helpful tool: RescueTime. Track how you spend your time online and be more productive.
  • Girl Around Town – A women’s lifestyle site (similar to Daily Candy) covering NYC, Houston, and LA.
  • And, if you don’t mind some strong language, my friend Jen’s blog is hilarious: People I Want to Punch in the Throat. She was nominated as one of the BlogHer Voices of the Year.

I had a great time at BlogHer the first time I went, so maybe I am just jaded now and being too harsh. What do you think? Were you at BlogHer this year? Did you love it?

8 Replies to “so… about BlogHer…”

  1. This was my first year attending BlogHer or any blogging conference. I had read through mountains of posts covering the prior years conferences and felt like I had a good idea of what to expect. This year’s conference was nothing like I had expected. It wasn’t a bad experience for me…quite the opposite in fact; however it was not the technical learning experience I had hoped for nor was it an amazing opportunity to network with brands. I felt many of the brands there were trying to sell the attendees products instead of building relationships. And I felt like many of the products offered by the companies were repeated by two and three other companies.

    I think the quality of content in the sessions could have been improved by not dumbing everything down to a brand new blogger’s understanding. The space and session availability also needs to be addressed for next year’s conference…too many people were turned away from something they paid for.

  2. Well done, Rachel! My BlogHer ship sailed many moons ago. I miss the days of actually learning how to code and improve my site. I went to just one session in 2010 about blog design, which I was really curious about.

    I think BlogHer does serve a purpose – it’s a social gathering for folks who get to see certain people only so often. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I think it’s just time the expectations change for everyone.

  3. LOL. I can totally see how you left with these thoughts. I was actually really energized by the conference, probably because 1) it was my first time, 2) the whole world is new to me so I had no expectations, 3) I signed up to go two days before, so again, so expectations and 4) I’m more the – ahem – demographic they were targeting.

    Having said that, I agree that the ‘technical’ sessions I attended were not as helpful as I thought they might be.

  4. Hey Rachel, Thanks for the link! I did not know that they were using the men’s room for women. I was one of the idiots who would wait online for 20 mins and DREAM of taking over the men’s room. Maybe I was in the men’s room but didn’t realize what was behind the curtain??? How weird they did that.

    I personally thought the conference sucked. The sessions I attended were not informative at all and were over crowded. I walked out of one in the middle. I thought the venue was way too small for the number of people. I thought the vendors were geared ONLY to happy, shiny Mommy bloggers and since no one ever wants to work with me I just ate their food and took as many vibrators as I could carry.

    I thought Martha was despicable and so arrogant and rude. Thanks for the e-magazines, Mothra! I skipped Katie Couric since I couldn’t care less about her.

    Don’t even get me started on the Voices of the Year. I was really disgusted with the way they handled the non-readers. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. It was poorly done and it’s a just a money making machine.

    That being said, I met some kick ass women and if I have to go back to BlogHer ’13 to hang with them again, then I guess I will.

    I think you might have had a different vibe too since you weren’t “on campus”. I stayed at a different hotel and I know I had a different vibe and didn’t feel as connected.

    Phew! Thanks for letting me vent in your comments section. This saved me from writing a post. Now I can just direct people here. Haha!!

    It was great to see you, I still can’t believe you found me in that mass of people!

  5. Of course I missed this year, but have heard and read some mixed reviews the past couple days and can see all points of view. There were some things I was really excited for in ’11 and was disappointed in, and other aspects of the conference that I loved and learned a lot from.

    At any rate, I’m going to next year’s since it is in Chicago, making it much more affordable and easy for me! I hope that I learn as much as I did in ’11 and get to visit with some friends in the Windy City in the evenings too.

  6. ::high five::

    This post is right on with what I was feeling (er, not feeling I guess) at BlogHer. I felt like I needed to be a novice mommy blogger fighting for toilet bowl brushes and reusable shopping bags to really get the full experience.

    The whole thing left me feeling really uncomfortable; I felt almost swindled because I didn’t really learn anything.

    PS I linked to your BlogHer recap because it’s been my favorite so far.

  7. Thanks for all of the great comments. I am glad that I am not the only one who walked away from the conference a little bit disappointed.

    It is awesome to meet new people and learn about fun, new blogs, so I think that part of these types of conferences will always be positive… but I think I am going to take a break from attending them for a little while…

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