I’m a big fan of BlogHer the institution and this is my third year of attending the conference but it has taken me a while to write this post because I’ve been ambivalent about whether or not I’d go back next year. As always, I enjoyed seeing and hanging out with many of my blogging friends, however it was so chaotic this year that if I was a newbie I really don’t think I’d go at all in the future. There were simply too many people crammed into a small space and everything was spread too far apart. We even had to search for our BlogHer bags this year and many (including my own) were wet with Lysol inside that had leaked.
I arrived in New York City a day early and got to do lots of fun touristy things this year like be in the audience of the Live With Kelly show, take the ferry to Staten Island, do a double-decker bus tour, and hang out with The Smarter Driver gals Jerri Ann and Nicole. We really had a blast and I think we all learned a lot from each other in the process. I was thrilled to also see some of my Brandcation friends like Alison from Being Alison, Jenn from The Rebel Chick, and Tiffany from Babes and Kids Review.
Catching up with my friends and making connections with brands is always the highlight of these conference trips. Of course the swag is nice too and the parties are always great. This year the Social Soirée was the best party of the ones I attended because they really made an effort to connect bloggers with brands and the food was fabulous. The Mom Select Suite was also great because I got to meet lots of actual product creators or their representatives. Unfortunately, in the Expo Hall this year it felt like mostly college students and part-time actors who were paid to present products instead of PR people ready to develop relationships with bloggers.
The lines this year were way too long, it was hard to get a seat in sessions, and near impossible for the keynote luncheons. I came home with tons of bruises from all the pushing and shoving on escalators and elevators and later learned that was a common complaint.
Instead of the usual state of euphoria that I return home in each year after the BlogHer conference I found myself to be out of sorts and vaguely sad for some reason so I made a list of pros and cons to help me decide if I would return again next year. After taking nearly a month to think it over and read lots of posts from other attendees I’ve come to the realization that I really did learn a lot, several things I’ve implemented since I’ve been home have already paid off, and getting to hang out with awesome folks like the people at Social Fabric was really priceless.
BlogHer is going to be held at a much larger venue in Chicago next year and I know I’ll feel like I’m missing out if I’m not there so I’m planning to try again next year to see how they handle these growing pains. How about you? Will I see you there next year?