What I Really Thought About the #BlogHer12 Conference

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

Last week, I attended my first BlogHer conference in New York City. A couple of caveats about my experience: 1) I only went to the conference for one day; 2) I was wearing my favorite accessory – my 9 week old baby girl. I’m sure these factors greatly affected my experience, but I’d like to share my perspective anyway as it was a day with both wonderful highs and frustrating lows.



Con’s:

It’s crowded.: And I don’t mean crowded in the normal sense of the word. It was insanely crowded! I know the craziness is part of the experience, but you really need to be prepared to take on a football player persona to get through the crowds in one piece. I do not get overwhelmed easily at all, and I do think that protecting my little girl in her Ergo carrier was at the forefront of my mind, but I couldn’t help but think that maybe a larger venue would have been helpful.

martha stewart- The educational sessions are nothing special.: I thought the presenters in the sessions that I attended did fantastic jobs, but the information was nothing that you couldn’t find yourself online or by talking to some helpful blogging friends. For some reason, I expected that the sessions would be on another level than the ones that I attended at other blogging conferences, but they were not extraordinary. This is not a negative comment about the conference itself; it’s more a comment about my own – and maybe many other BlogHer newbies’ expectations. That said, I would like to warn future conference goers that the sessions do fill up before the start time, and if you stop to talk to someone for too long, or in my case change a diaper, you are likely to be shut out of the session you plan to attend. The rooms were way too crowded, and I thought the sessions were unnecessarily interrupted with people trying to come in who were then chastised by the session bouncers who promptly kicked them out.

If you are a niche blogger, it may be hard to find brands that you really want to connect with.: As a green and natural blogger, I didn’t find as many brands that fit the category as I had hoped for, but I was SO happy to meet the green and natural brands that were represented there.

Pro’s:

blogher babyTHE PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE: This is why you really choose to go to BlogHer. The people are awesome! It is so fun to be surrounded by thousands and thousands of people who share a passion with you. I promise you this: No matter who you are – introverted or hyper social, twentysomething or grandma, happy-go-lucky or cynical – you WILL find people like you there. You don’t have to try hard to find them either. Likeminded people will recognize you from your blog or some aspect of your involvement in the online world, or they will notice something about you, or simply really need some companionship at the moment; no matter what the reason, your people will find you so have no fear!

The conference staff members were awesome, too. They were friendly, helpful, and seemingly everywhere, so you can get help or advice at any moment.

blogher12Also, it is such a special experience to meet in real life, or see again, the many lovely people who inhabit your online world on a daily basis. As bloggers, we can often feel solitary or doubtful about our purpose in blogging, but spending face to face time with your online people will rejuvenate, inspire, and calm you.

You don’t have to worry about trying to do it all. Whether you make it to the private parties, attend any educational sessions, or find the people you wanted most to meet up with, you will still learn, you will still connect, you will still make memories. There will be highs and lows, and it will be a crazy experience, but the small moments will make it worth it.

blogher conferenceBlogHer is not about the expo hall or the celebrity appearances or the educational sessions. It’s the bonding session you have with the women in the Lactation Lounge, it’s the dear blogging friend who wipes the snot off your baby’s face and carries your bags for you, it’s the woman you meet from the other side of the country who seems to have the same life as you, it’s the kindness that nameless women show you when a weary grimace passes over your face, it’s the single story from a brand representative that inspires you to want to be better than you are… These were the kinds of moments that made up my BlogHer experience. And although my BlogHer wasn’t the experience I expected, it was the BlogHer that I needed, whether I realized it at the time or not.

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