Monday, July 28, 2014

blogher '14

BlogHer has come and gone and now 'tis time to reflect. Me and my compadre, Christina, noticed major differences between the conference we attended in 2011 and this conference. I'll address those in a minute.

This year's conference was a "selfiebration," so I obliged. Left to right: Nicole, Christina, me.

Overall, it was worth every penny for me to get out of the house, away from my adorable 8-month-old. I spent entire spans of time not thinking about or doing mommy things, and it felt really wonderful to just be an adult woman for a couple days. Although I still had to pump milk every few hours in the lactation lounge, which was in itself a bonding experience with the other pumping moms. My husband watched Graham for those couple days and did such an awesome job that now Graham truly prefers my husband when it comes to nap time. I'm so proud of both of them, although sort of hating life today because this nap issue is no joke.

Awesome things about the conference:

  • The expo hall. It's always fun to see what products the sponsors are trotting out and giving away as freebies. I'll probably spotlight a few on Instagram.
  • The Lactation Lounge, sponsored by Lansinoh. They provided a curtained-off area with a couch and a couple plush chairs, outlets, a fridge, and various breastfeeding/pumping-related supplies. It was a lifesaver. 
  • Breakfasts. I just love hot buffet breakfasts. 
  • Speakers from Twitter and eBay, plus Jenny Lawson (hilarious), comedian Tig Notaro (REALLY hilarious), Arianna Huffington, and Scandal's Kerry Washington!
  • There were some moments of inspiration in some of the sessions I attended. 
I didn't attend any of the parties, so I can't really speak about how those were, although Rev Run was at the party sponsored by McDonald's on Saturday night, which is pretty cool.

Things that were a little off:

  • None of the cool kids I met and saw at the 2011 conference were at this year's conference. 
  • This was the conference's 10th anniversary, and the organizers were pretty proud of it, so they'd planned for a bunch of speakers to discuss ... I'm not sure what. How awesome BlogHer is? There were simply too many speeches and they all went on for far longer than the 10 minutes they were each allotted. It began to feel like church camp -- it's fun until you have to go to church for the third time in one day.
  • The 2011 conference blew me away. Everything was on a grand scale and planned exceedingly well. Attendees actually attended the speeches and sessions, and the guest speakers and surprise stars were really impressive. The food was superb and abundant. The expo hall and giveaways were overwhelming in volume. This year was just a different story in every regard. 
  • Some of the sessions were a bit lacking in information, disappointingly. Many of the moderators and panelists just seemed really into talking about their own experiences rather than trying to help attendees. The best session I attended was really informative and was about optimizing social media. 
I don't write any of this to knock the conference or its organizers, because I can't even imagine the planning that must go into an event this enormous. I have a lot of respect for what they've done with this conference over the last decade.

But I wonder what's going on. Is it that blogging is dying out? Or has BlogHer become unhip? Maybe it was just an off year? Perhaps no one wanted to go to San Jose. It's understandable that it'd be easier to draw big names to San Diego in 2011, because it's close to Los Angeles. But really, what is happening? I'm curious to hear your theories. 

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