We just got back from the BlogHer conference in San Diego. This was our third year attending this totally unique, crazy, fun, sparkly, inspiring event for women bloggers. The weekend was basically a whirlwind of attending workshops, partying, networking, drinking, getting swag, drunk networking, blogging, tweeting, drunk tweeting, attending workshops while hungover, and then doing it all again. As a result, it can be a little hard to recap, as usual, we're going to divide it up into convenient list form...
Disclaimer: Apparently we think we are cooler than everyone else and hate everything, so read at your own risk. (This is the recap that is going to earn us 15 new fans and at least 75 new enemies. Bring it on.) We honestly did have a great time at BlogHer '11, we just have a lot to say this year about, well, everything. So let's get to it.
#1 - The Hotel and Conference Center
This year the conference was hosted at the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina, a beautiful hotel in a beautiful area with a beautiful pool. We don't think any hotel can ever really be prepared for the craziness that is BlogHer, but they did a really good job. Everyone was so nice and helpful... and we couldn't believe how quickly they responded to our request for extra towels. There was a knock on the door and for a second we were like "who is that?" because it didn't make sense to us that it could be the towels so quickly. Then they called our room to confirm that we got the towels. They were so nice that it almost freaked us out.
The only complaint we could make ABOUT the hotel staff is that they seemed to be really overzealous about removing food from the meals and parties when they were over (or almost over). On Saturday we arrived at lunch a little late and although it wasn't scheduled to end until 1:30, they were already clearing sandwiches and cookies away at 1:10. We actually said "can you wait until we grab some lunch before you take it all away?" but they ignored us and continued to load the carts up. The only tables that hadn't been cleared yet didn't have the best selections, so we ended up getting lunch from some of the sponsors instead. That's a minor issue, but we were annoyed because we're always extra cranky when we're hungry.
Our other minor complaint isn't really the fault of the hotel itself, nor was it a huge deal... but it's worth mentioning. We were a little disappointed about the massive amount of walking that went along with having a separate hotel and convention center. It's not that bad for a normal conference, but with the potential for conference attendees to be carrying heavy bags of swag, the possibility that some of the attendees are out-of-shape from spending too much time in front of the computer (no names) and the amount of dancing and drinking likely to occur the nights before... it just felt like a lot of walking.
We always stay at the official hotel when we attend conferences like this, because we know that we have trouble motivating ourselves to get up and get out. (We also like having the option to stop in at our room between events, when possible, so we can have our laptops at sessions but don't have to lug them throughout meals.) So for us, the ideal conference has meals and sessions literally downstairs from our rooms. Both the hotel and the conference center were lovely and everyone was awesome... but we won't deny that we're still kind of excited that we'll be back at the Hilton in NYC next year. (And not just because that means no 5-hour-flight!)
#2- The Sessions
For the first time, we had some actual real complaints about the sessions. We really didn't feel like there was that much for us this year, which was disappointing. To be clear, we're not complaining about the quality of the sessions or speakers, every session that we attended was great and we've read the live blogs for quite a few others and have yet to see anyone who seems to have sucked... but we thought the selection was weak this year and we had some issues with the way some of the sessions were categorized.
Look, we know we can be very critical people at times (maybe it's our inner obnoxious New Yorkers)... but when we go to BlogHer we try to soften that part of our personalities and appreciate where we are and remember that it's not WAM! or Momentum... it's BlogHer... so there are a lot of different kinds of people with different kinds of interests. We don't expect everything to be for us. However, we do expect that our type of blogger will be represented because we know there are a lot of us. And honestly, feminism is something that all women should be able to relate to, even if it's not the primary focus of their blog. This year, we felt kind of let down by how little there was for us.
Just to illustrate the kind of stuff we were hoping for, this was our favorite session of the weekend...
Change the World: Media Literacy: Today's Most Necessary Skill
Knowing that misinformation, misleading pranks, and mistakes can be spread rapidly and globally, where corrections or retractions may never reach you, Jenn Pozner and Sofia Quintero will teach you how to validate a source, double-check the veracity of an item, and, perhaps most difficult of all, find context when it seems to be purposely withheld. Media literacy is a necessary life skill in this new information age. Get it. And hand it down to your kids. [Live blog]This was one of the sessions that we felt totally made sense being on the 'change' track. We're already pretty media literate (well, we have read Jenn's book Reality Bites Back, so we already know what's up) but this was exactly what we want and expect from the 'Change the World' category. Note to BlogHer'12: more stuff like this please!
And now for the complaints.
In particular, we had a lot of problems with the "Change the World" track. Anyone who reads our blog could probably guess that this was the section we checked out first. (In fact, after our first BlogHer conference in '09, we specifically said we wished that there were more opportunities for political and feminist discussions, so we were psyched about last year's addition of the "Change Agents" track.) However, this year we found some of the choices both puzzling and kind of annoying. We also felt that some of the sessions were a little too similar to each other... which is probably great for the people who were into those topics, but for us, it was just two sessions that didn't apply to us.
- Change the World: Cyberbulling Isn't Just for Teens: What to Do if You're the Victim of Trolls, Haters... and Worse
“Ignore the trolls,” as we like to say at BlogHer. But what if harassment crosses the line into something that should not be dismissed? When does a troll become a stalker, and what can you do about it? This is not a session about what we should do to protect our privacy or set boundaries. It’s about what to do when enough is enough. [Live blog]We think this is a really important issue to tackle (we've also had a little trouble with a troll who toed the line of stalker) and we absolutely adore Erin Kotecki Vest, who moderated the session. We're definitely glad that BlogHer had a session like this on the schedule... but... why on the 'Change the World' track? Perhaps if the session had focused more on the creation of new laws to protect people online or focused on what we can do, as a community, to fight against bullying and stalking on a societal level (possibly touching on things like the It Gets Better project), it would have fit better into this category.
Now, to be clear, we are not criticizing this session or the fact that BlogHer chose to include it in the agenda. We are really glad that they did. We just think that it should've been elsewhere on the agenda because it took the spot of a session that could have actually focused on social and/or political change and while this session was great, it wasn't about changing the world. This is the same complaint we had about a few other sessions on the 'change' track... the sessions weren't bad, they just weren't about changing the world. If BlogHer has to work this hard to make their sessions fit into the categories, then just forgo the categories and offer quality sessions that are of interest to everyone.
- Change the World: Our Food Future: Kids, Cooking, and Health
The odds are stacked against kids today, when it comes to food. In this encore of a panel from last fall’s BlogHer Food conference, you’ll learn how some bloggers are out to change not only how kids think about food, but also what they’re eating. We'll discuss why kids face so many obstacles to eating healthy (some of the reasons may surprise you) and what you can do–in your home and in your community–to start to change the odds in our kids' favor. [Live blog]Okay, we're not going to say that fighting childhood obesity isn't important, but unless Michelle Obama was going to show up carrying a plate of vegetables, we weren't really interested so we skipped this session. (Speaking of which, if we're really going to try to tackle the issue of childhood obesity, why didn't BlogHer try to get in touch with someone from the Let's Move! campaign?) We do think it's an important issue, it's just not really one of our pet issues - we had hoped for more feminist types of sessions, rather than the usual plethora of child-centric mommy blogger type stuff. You'd think that women's rights would be an obvious angle for BlogHer because it's one thing we can all get behind, regardless of whether we're liberal or conservative, married or single, with or without kids, etc.
Also, there were two food blogging sessions on the agenda... the other was Food Photography That Will Feed Your Soul from the 'Change Yourself' track [live blog]. While they were definitely completely different sessions, the fact that it was a food photography workshop instead of just a photography workshop, was limiting. (Also, we weren't exactly sure why this was in the 'Change Yourself' track either... it seemed more like a niche topic and should've probably been in one of the 'Birds of a Feather' tracks instead.) BlogHer already has it's own separate conference devoted to food blogging (BlogHer Food '11) so it just seemed excessive.
- BlogHer '11 International Activist Scholarship Winners
Our third annual International Activist Blogger scholarship highlights the work of women who are galvanizing social change and social justice across their communities–and by the very public and distributed nature of the Internet–across the world. For some of them, this work is not without risk, yet still they continue. Because raising their voices is not a luxury or a whim or an option. It is a necessity. [Live blog]We have to be honest, we were really disappointed that the scholarship winners were downgraded from Keynote to session. In Chicago, at BlogHer '09 everyone raved about what they had to say and begged BlogHer to give them more of a showcase... last year, they gave them that, and then promptly took it away this year? Why? We think everyone should have the opportunity to hear these inspirational women speak, so next year we hope to see them back at the Keynote and the sessions should be reserved for more nuts-and-bolts/hands-on learning opportunities.
- Owning Your Beauty: If We Change the Conversation, Can We Change the Culture?
BlogHer’s year-long Own Your Beauty project has been ongoing for several months and has many more to go. It has clearly struck a chord with the BlogHer community, encouraging change in the way we think and the way we feel about ourselves. Now, how can we push that change out beyond our own perspectives? If we truly change the way society perceives women and their beauty, will it have much much wider ramifications? In this case, the personal might be political, cultural, and socio-economic! [Live blog]Changing 'the culture' is something we can definitely get behind, but we wish this session was more focused on changing the culture by actually changing the culture (that is, holding the media accountable for how they portray women, demanding better advertising campaigns, holding companies accountable for their sexism, ageism, sizeism and racism, etc.) instead of just focusing on owning our own beauty. We're definitely all for women building their own self-esteem and self-acceptance. We just think that belongs more in the 'Change Yourself' track than the 'Change the World' track.
In fact, there was a very similar session on just that in the 'Change Yourself' track - Your Perfect Imperfections: Blogging Your Way to Self-Acceptance [live blog]. We do think that this is an important issue to tackle and the two concepts are inextricably linked, but it felt excessive having two separate sessions that focused on self-esteem. The 'Change the World' session should've been more of an unofficial 'part 2' companion to the 'Change Yourself' self-esteem session, picking up where that session left off instead of focusing on many of the same points.
We were also total confused by the Patriarchy! session in the 'Birds of a Feather' track. There was very little information given on what this session would actually focus on. The description merely said:
Denise Tanton will host this informal meet-up for attendees blogging about patriarchy!It was just so vague. Attendees blogging about "patriarchy"? Well... what about it? (And apparently we weren't the only ones who were confused.) Also, we're feminist bloggers, but we'd probably never describe ourselves as bloggers who write about "patriarchy", although we obviously do that a lot. We'd much rather frame the conversation from a pro-women's rights kind of angle, instead of an anti-patriarchy one. Yes, it's the same conversation, but feminists are already unfairly stereotyped as man-hating... it just seems counterproductive to frame the session in terms of "patriarchy". And the description should've mentioned the specific issues that would be discussed (feminism, women's issues, equality, whatever... but "patriarchy" just didn't have the same mainstream appeal).
The session really should've been titled "Feminist Bloggers" or "Women's Rights Bloggers", just like most of the other 'Birds of a Feather' sessions were titled... "Patientbloggers"; "Boomer Bloggers"; "Faith Bloggers"; "Humor Bloggers"; etc. And seeing that while not everyone who goes to BlogHer necessarily calls themselves a feminist or blogs about feminist issues, it's pretty safe to assume that most of the attendees at least agree with the concepts of women's rights and gender equality... so this doesn't belong in the 'Birds of a Feather' track and should be in a bigger 'Change the World' session.
#3 - The Parties
BlogHer is as much about the parties as it is about the workshops. There are so many official, unofficial, and private parties that it would be impossible to hit all of them, but we gave it our best attempt at stopping by every event that seemed like the right match for us. (Note: We really missed the Social Luxe party this year. Hopefully they'll be back next year!)
- Babeland Sex Toy Mixer
- The Kiss Our Sass Party (Powered by Match.con)
- The Swagbucks Swag Nation Celebration
- Softcup Sunset Cocktail Party
But really, the biggest issue with the Sparklecorn party - one that really does have to be said and is the top factor that can make-or-break an event - was the DJ. We've already gone over this in an extremely drunken blog rant entitled DJ Skribble: Worst DJ Ever but we'll continue it here, because he was really that bad. Those of you who used to watch MTV in the '90s might remember DJ Skribble and well, apparently he's "famous in Vegas" now. (You know who else is famous in Vegas? Criss Angel... Carrot Top... Donny & Marie. It doesn't take a lot of talent to be "famous in Vegas"!) We don't know if this D-list celebrity from the '90s was expensive or if there was just no money left for a decent DJ after that cake, but he just fucking sucked.
He was really way too caught up in his own alleged awesomeness... He may or may not be a skilled DJ, but he was the WRONG choice for a party at BlogHer. He was too into his remixes - he played unrecognizable, boring slow intros to songs and then when the good part of the song actually started, he'd cut it before it got past the first real verse. That may fly at a club in New York or Vegas, but this is fucking BlogHer. Just play the songs you know we want to hear - the pop hits, the '80s throwbacks, and the '90s jams. We want Lady Gaga and Madonna and Prince and Michael Jackson and Vanilla Ice and Sir Mix-a-Lot. And we want to hear the songs all the way through. And we want to actually hear the song (not scratching). And we probably want to sing along. This is what makes a BlogHer party fun. He didn't know his audience and he was not open to suggestions. Anytime anyone made a request or God forbid asked him to play a certain song all the way through he not only refused to do it, but he was a total dick about it. (And we're evil sluts from New York, so we've dealt with all kinds of attitude.)
Jezebel: There must have been some other '90s has-been DJ who could've done a better job.We moved all around that dance floor and almost every person we spoke to felt the same way we did, not just our "friends". We're loudmouth New Yorkers (and we were drunk) so we were bitching openly about how bad the DJ was... We may have been the most vocal, but we know we weren't alone. Everyone who overheard us, said they agreed and how. We tweeted about it and got a bunch of DMs agreeing. We told one woman that we had tweeted about it and she actually said "you tweeted about it? I was going to do that but I was afraid." We couldn't believe it. Afraid? Of what? Backlash? We know that Sparklecorn has this aura of "it's the best party of the year" so if you somehow don't agree with that, your opinion can't possibly be valid, you're just not "in" with the cool kids, you must be wrong. You know, it's okay to disagree with the masses. If more of us did it, then the masses might not be the masses anymore.
Lilith: DJ Jazzy Jeff?
Jezebel: DJ Tanner from Full House.
Jezebel: The cartoon cat from the Paula Abdul video. Wait.. I think he was an "MC", not a "DJ".
Lilith: Next time they spend that much money on a fucking unicorn cake, it better be able to work the turn-tables too.
We've already seen some defensive responses coming from the MamaPop crew who organized the party. Yeah, we know, it sucks when you try to do something nice for everyone and it gets shit on. So we don't blame them for being pissed that we're all a bunch of ungrateful bitchy complainers. We know it's their party and they can do whatever they want and we have to just accept it and be grateful and try to suck it up and have a good time. And obviously we know that their intention was to throw a party that would be a great time for everyone. But we also think that if BlogHer is choosing to sponsor this party (in lieu of others) for the entire BlogHer community with BlogHer community money, then they should at least be open to constructive criticism and suggestions for next year. They definitely put a lot of time and sweat and love into this party and we do appreciate that... we'll just appreciate it even more if they take some of our comments and suggestions to heart and help next year's Sparklecorn party (if there is one) return to its former glory.
I know plenty of people still had a good time and still danced and still got drunk (and then there were the incredibly drunk women who danced hilariously on the stage) because we are adaptable, so we can totally rock a party no matter how sucky the DJ is... but the essence of Sparklecorn was missing. It's not just about the unicorn cake.
[Note: The Sparklecorn video came out really great. Props to the person who put it together. It made the party look like a ton of fun (more fun than it actually was for a lot of us) and captured the essence of Sparklecorn that we wish there had been more of at the party itself. Nice job. Also good call editing out all the footage of people like us standing around awkwardly, scowling at the DJ.]
- Social Fiesta
The only complaint we have about this party, had nothing to do with the party at all... it was about the guests. Just a few specific guests in particular. We won't name any names... but there was this one group of loud, rude bitches talking and laughing throughout the entire announcements made by the hosts. It really pissed us off. (If you've met us you know how loud and obnoxious we can be so the fact that we were annoyed should demonstrate just how rude they were.) These are the women who have brought us here and this is the reason we are here. Show them some fucking respect and shut the fuck up while they are speaking. There's a time for your loud, drunken bullshit and that was not it.
- Aiming Low
#4 - The Old Friends and New Friends
BlogHer is really all about the community, so half the fun is seeking out all of those blogosphere friends that you only get to see once or twice a year.
Like we already said, for us, it's not really BlogHer for us until we get to yell "it's Deb on the Rocks!!!!" across a crowded room/elevator/dance floor, usually followed by a group hug. She is amazingly fantastically awesome and we love her a lot. We're Team OnTheRocks for life. If there was a conference called DebCon that was just us hanging out with Deb at her house for the weekend, we would attend every year.
Jessica Bern - Jessica is another 'it's not BlogHer until we see her' person for us. We love her and she is fucking hilarious. If you don't know her, get over to BernThis right now and start watching her videos.
Annie from PhD in Parenting - Annie is one of our favorite mom bloggers and one of our favorite bloggers/activists. (You may remember her anti-Nestle activism from last year's BlogHer.) We had a hilarious drunken conversation with her outside the CheeseburgHer party about us coming up to Canada and whether Canada would be ready and/or willing to accept an ESC invasion.
Jennifer Pozner, founder of Women In Media & News and author of Reality Bites Back - We're friends with Jennifer in real life so seeing her at BlogHer wasn't that exciting. (Just kidding, Jenn. We love you.) What's not to love about someone who can dance her ass off and critique reality TV at the same time? As we mentioned before, her media literacy workshop was one of our favorites of the weekend, and she was also a founding member of the Coalition Against DJ Skribble.
We also have to give a shoutout to our fellow New Yorker, Briar from Unwellness, who we almost didn't see this weekend but luckily ran into on the last night.
Erin Kotecki Vest - We were beyond thrilled to see the Queen of Spain at BlogHer this year with her husband Aaron. We were a little drunk when we ran into her at Sparklecorn so our offer of support to her family was very...us.
Jezebel: So if there's ever anything that a couple of evil slutty girls can do for you guys, just let us know.The other half of the fun of BlogHer is all of the new friends that you meet. (There's more fun stuff than this, of course. BlogHer is at least 187% fun.) So we have to give some shoutouts to all of the awesome new people that we met this year. They're listed in order of how much we liked them. Just kidding. We love them all. And there are probably more people that we met and loved that aren't on this list that we're just not remembering right now or whose business card is lost in our big swag pile or our luggage that we still haven't finished unpacking. We're still not fully recovered. (That's also why we're being so creative in describing everything as "awesome".)
Lilith: Jezebel, I don't really think they're into that.
Jezebel: Dude, I didn't mean it THAT way.
- ToyWithMe (Every party we went to she just happened to pop up. With a vibrator.)
- "Miss Scarlet" Adventures of This Girl
- Leigh-Anne from Flygirl's Travels and Natalie Hjelsvold from Maniacal Mom
- Jamie from Single Mom Survives and Melysa from Sex Lies and Bacon
- Veronica L. Armstrong of CrunchyVTMommy
- Lindsay LaVine of EHilarity (and yes, she is e-hilarious!)
- Sarah Manley from NerdyAppleBottom (We wish we had had more time to talk to her, because while we recognized the blog name right away but we were so overtired that we didn't realize exactly who she was until she was gone. If you're reading this, we are big fans!)
- Anna Lefler, author of The CHICKtionary (Her "Doing Kegels as we speak" pins were the hit of the conference, everyone was complimenting us on them!)
- Danielle Ice from Home Ever After
- Laura Burge from care2 (She danced her butt off with us at the CheeseburgHer party.)
Jimmy Dean officially won us over this year as our favorite sponsor of the conference. Not only was everything they gave us absolutely delicious, but we would've starved on Saturday had it not been for them, because we were totally unhappy with the official breakfast and lunch options. Their sausages wrapped in a pancake on a stick might be the most amazing thing we have ever tasted. And everyone who was working there to represent the brand was so great and friendly and helpful. They didn't hold back the samples just because we'd already had one the previous day (and yes, they did remember us) and they went above and behind to help us when we needed it. Our camera glitched out and lost our photo of us with the Jimmy Dean sun (no we won't be posting it here, but we will be framing it and keeping it forever) but they went through four of their different camera phones to find it for us and make sure we got a copy. Some of the brand representatives at BlogHer didn't really seem totally psyched to engage with all of us, but Jimmy Dean was 100% awesome every day. They definitely earned two loyal customers for life.
As always, we love any brand that feeds us (we're not that hard to please!) so we definitely appreciated all the yummy goodness that we got at the Expo Hall from brands like Hillshire Farm, Twizzlers, Hershey (yet again they had their awesome S'mores suite), King's Hawaiian, Dove, McDonalds, Kudos, Pepsico, Dole, and Chuck E. Cheese's (for their awesome cotton candy machine) and more.
Not only were the reps from Snapfish and HP super nice and helpful, but one of us actually won a free HP mini 110! Really! (We never win anything!) Thanks again!
We stopped by the Hot Wheels suite and mentioned to one of their reps how we felt about the "toys for boys" slogan on their new Twitter account. She agreed with us and was really understanding and said that she would send that feedback to the powers that be. (And she gave us each a free little car!)
There were a couple of sponsors that seemed like they didn't really know what they were doing there... like Yankee Candle. They had tons of candles set up but no free samples, no coupons, not even a catalog with a list of their new products or a business card for bloggers who might want to work with them. It's not that we expect a handout from everyone (well, it is BlogHer, so maybe some people do expect that) but it seemed like they were just standing around a stack of candles with nothing to say and nothing to offer.
Overall, we had a good time in the expo hall this year and had some really good conversations with brands. (As always we had a few of those "your blog is called what?" moments that we've become so used to, but they were at a minimum this year.) We're pretty sure it remains the only place in the world where you can eat cotton candy while talking to the Pine-Sol lady or take a picture with a guy dressed like a giant piece of dust while holding a tote bag shaped like a chocolate-covered strawberry filled with coupons for toilet cleaners and coffee creamers. Only at BlogHer.
#6 The Swag
Yes there is a lot of swag at BlogHer. A whole lot. We brought home a lot of cool stuff. (We also brought a lot to the swag recycling suite.) To try to capture just how much stuff there is and how random and diverse it is, here's a partial list of items that we received:
#7 - The Causes
This year the sponsors were about way more than just coupons and swag. It seemed like every company had its own charitable program this year and we have to say we have a lot of respect for them because of it. It's nice to see these huge corporations giving back to the community and doing good. (Yes, we recognize that they're still huge corporations trying to make a buck and not charities, but we still feel like it's better that they're doing something more than just handing out coupons.) Here's just a partial list of all the 'good' that's being done by some of the companies we talked to at BlogHer:
- P&G - Future Friendly
- Johnson & Johnson - &you Widget
- Jimmy Dean - No Kid Hungry
- Best Buy - WOLF - Women's Leadership Forum
- Moms for Antibiotics Awareness - The PEW Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming
- Bounty - Teacher Wishlist
- CVS/pharmacy - ExtraCare GreenBagTag
#8 - The Celebrities
There were a ton of celebrities (and pseudo "celebrities") at BlogHer this year. Just to name a few... we spotted Jane Lynch (!!!), Wendi McLendon-Covey (from Bridesmaids), Mario Lopez, Amanda Beard, Ryan Cabrera, Candice Kumai (of Top Chef Season 1), Ricki Lake, Giuliana Rancic, Bob Harper (from The Biggest Loser), DJ Skribble, the Pine Sol lady, the Jimmy Dean sun and the piece of dust guy from the Swiffer commercials. Obviously quite a few of these do not deserve the title "celebrity" - cough, cough, DJ Skribble - but for the first time in this post we'll go ahead and be charitable.
Obviously, we were more excited to see the Jimmy Dean Sun than anyone else at the conference. He was flattered when we told him that we considered him to be one of the only worthwhile "stars" there...and luckily we were out of earshot of the Scrubbing Bubble at the time because he would have been offended and he's really fucking big and...scrubby. (Have we said "only at BlogHer" enough times yet?)
Apparently there was a "flash mob" at BlogHer this year. Or well, they called it a flash mob. A large group of women "spontaneously" started doing a dance to Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" one day during lunch. It looks like they had a lot of fun and we know that a lot of people really enjoyed watching it, so we're not criticizing them at all... but... we wouldn't necessarily call that a FLASH MOB either. It was a group of women dancing at lunch. That's just part of the quirkiness that is BlogHer. When you're at a conference where one of the sessions is about learning the "Single Ladies" dance, it's not that shocking to have a "flash mob" dancing in the lunch room. We would've loved to have seen them bust out with their moves in the middle of the Gaslamp district or something.
This isn't a criticism, like we said, it's just that being from New York, we've seen some real performance art and real flash mobs (and we've seen plenty of random dancing in random places) so this, while totally fun, didn't exactly thrill us. Call us jaded. But we're happy for anyone who had a good time - it is definitely an awesome, empowering feeling to dance in public - and it was nice to see so many women from the community come together. Next year, we want to see some fresh choreography though. We're talking about the Running Man, the Roger Rabbit, the Cabbage Patch, the Kid 'n Play Dance, and anything Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would've done. We're confident that the Blogher Dance Crew will top themselves next year.
This is probably more of an "Only the ESC" Moment than an "Only at BlogHer" moment, but it wouldn't have been possible if not for the awesome sponsors at BlogHer... Just as the Expo Hall was coming to a close on Saturday night, we had picked up some awesome food storage containers from Glad and were munching on some delicious sandwiches from Hilshire Farms and sausages Jimmy Dean. Then a lightbulb went off! Why not sneak the leftovers that we can't finish into our Gladware and bring it up to our rooms? Since we had gotten so comfortable being provided with free food all day Friday and Saturday... what else were we going to do on Sunday when the BlogHer gravy train shut down? So we popped some yummy food into our mini-fridge for the next day. Don't judge us.
Or at least don't judge for that, judge us for not leaving the hotel room at all on Sunday after the conference ended. (There was a lot of Law & Order episodes, leftover food, and packing going on.)
#10 What We Hope to See Next Year
We are sooooo psyched about BlogHer's return to New York for 2012! Nothing makes us happier than being able to represent NYC (and not have to fly across the country!) We're very happy about the fact that we will be going back to the Hilton too because they were so awesome last year. Any hotel that offers to "send a team" when we have a problem is always going to be at the top of our list.
Even Twizzlers is ready for NYC!!
But in case we didn't already do enough bitching already, we do have a few more 'suggestions' for next year (and hopefully, years to come)...
- Mail the badges in envelopes:
- Serve bacon at every breakfast:
- Offer some privacy consideration for anonymous bloggers:
We do appreciate that this year we were able to choose what name to display on our badges (instead of requiring it to be our legal name, as it has been in past years.) We realize that we go to BlogHer at our own risk, but it'd be really awesome if BlogHer could follow the example that the Momentum conference has set and offered color-coded badges based on willingness to be photographed. Basically, when attendees registered they checked "Photographs Okay" or "Please No Photos". Badges were color-coded green or red ('go' or 'stop') based on this preference and then people just knew to not photograph anyone with a red badge (at least not without asking permission first). Such a simple solution to what is a very serious issue for some of us.
- Loosen the restrictions for sponsored bloggers:
- Allow men to attend the conference but please no all-male panels.
- More activism and cause-related opportunities
Like we already said above, we'd love to see the 'Change the World' session to be expanded to... you know, actual world-changing stuff. We also mentioned above, that many of the sponsors are working towards social change right now. Also, every year BlogHer tries to be very "green" and this year they held a blood drive, which was a great step in the right direction. We'd love to see them go even further and do even more next year. Perhaps they can donate all of the food that is leftover at the end of the day to a local homeless shelter? There's a lot that could be done next year. Maybe we'll take it upon ourselves to come up with a list of ideas for the BlogHer organizers (or we'll just take it upon ourselves to get our own plan going as well).
Bonus #11 - The Post-BlogHer Recaps
The BlogHer fun continues after you get home with a million and one recap posts. Here are a few that we like:
- I Survived BlogHer'11 and all I got was this Awesome Blog Post - Mommyfriend
- Brands can connect in person with kids too - One Moms World
- My Obligatory Post-BlogHer Wrap Up - The Half-Hearted Housewife
- Stuff I Saw at BlogHer 2011 - ABDPBT
- BlogHer '11: We Made It - Queen of Spain
- Things learned in a whales vagina - Not Your Average Single Mama
- BlogHer Day 1 Recap - Life with Levi...
- My BlogHer Experience - Greenery in Mommyhood
- My 48 hours at #blogher11 - A Modern Mother
- BlogHer 2011: A Recap - Make Time for Family (E-Mealz)
- Blogher'11 Recap - Mommy of a Monster & Twins
- My BlogHer 2011 Recap! - Oh Rheally?
- I went to blogher 2011 - The Stylish Housewife
- BlogHer '11 - the you got a picture of me whether you wanted it or not edition - Busy Mom