Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A First-Timers Experience at BlogHer

For many years now I have wanted to go to BlogHer.  It is one of those big conferences that you always just hear so much about.  The cost and the need to fly across the country always held me back; when I heard it was going to be in L.A. this year, I just had to go.

After going.... let's just say I have mixed feelings.  Here is a first-timers experience at BlogHer.

Friends
The absolute best part for me was the friends-old and new.

I have been blogging for a long time, when I started blogging it was so much about the community and friendships; to be able to finally meet some of those people in person was wonderful!

When Elaine of Miss Elaine-ous Life and I found each other, we accidentally took over a spot in one of the expo booths standing there catching up.
Blogging Friends

I also got to meet Samantha of Samantha Amidon Airplane Rides and Guacamole Sides  It is funny when you technically meet someone for the first time who you already kind of know.
BlogHer 2016

I also got to meet some newer blogging friends like Salma of The Write Balance.
Friend at BlogHer

Plus the roommates!  I "knew"  Kendra of Simply Darrling and we planed on rooming together.   We went online to the BlogHer page and found two other ladies who were looking for a room and she chose wisely as I loved our two new roommates Susie of Pins and Procrastination and Megan of Discover Diaries.
Roomates from BlogHer


**Tip** If you are new and coming alone, definitely reach out and find someone to room with; it can make all the difference in feeling alone and feeling like you have someone to tag around with.

Sponsored Events
 
When I first started getting invites to sponsored events I was beyond excited-they were inviting me!  I quickly agreed to almost every event I was invited to, quickly filling up my entire Friday.
Lamps Plus lunch at BlogHer

Looking back, there were a few events I could have probably skipped, opting for the classes instead.

((All of the classes I really wanted to attend where on Friday, which is the day pretty much all of the sponsored events were-- hardly any sponsored events on Saturday, which felt like bad planning))

While it feels totally exciting to get invited to a sponsored events and some of them were the highlights of my time at BlogHer- definitely just pick ones that are a good fit for you.  Some felt a little bit like here is our company we are the best but then they didn't really tell how you as a blogger could work with them.

**Tip** Just pick sponsored events that really are a good fit for you

My absolute favorite event I went to was a walking tour of L.A. hosted by MixBook.
LA Walking tour

This was actually on Thursday before BlogHer officially began.  We had a guide from Red Line Tours who showed us all around the city, and by all around, I mean all around- we walked for 4 1/2 miles!

We were total tourists with headsets, so we could hear what he was saying and all with our cameras taking pictures, but I loved it, met some great bloggers and learned all sorts of crazy stuff I never knew about L.A.

By the end we were all beyond exhausted but I am so glad I went, it was a great way to start BlogHer.

The Classes
  I only attended a few classes and wish I would have gone to a few more.  What I heard from my friends that did attend more is most of the classes would be great if you were new to blogging. One of the classes I attended was good and I learned some new information, but it didn't light my fire with blogging again like I hoped it would.

I have been to smaller blogging conferences, that when I leave I feel excited about all of these things I want to do with my blog, things I want to write about-- but I honestly left BlogHer feeling just about the same  (I have heard similar feelings from several who attended).

The Expo

The Expo is where all of the sponsors have booths set up; I honestly didn't know what to expect with this.

**Tip** find a friend to go around the expo with, it can feel pretty lonely going around to the booths by yourself.

You definitely have to step in and introduce yourself and be more assertive here.  It made me chuckle how many of the people at the booths asked "So are you a blogger?"  Maybe there are people who don't blog at BlogHer, but I am guessing the majority of us do.
Sabrina Soto at BlogHer
Sabrina Soto at the Velcro booth was SO nice and down to earth! 
Each booth usually had a little small something they were handing out and you could find out about their company and some were better about talking how they work with bloggers than others.
Mixbook both at BlogHer
Me and my roomie at the Mixbook photo booth in the Expo hall
Though one of my favorite booths was Baskin Robins, they weren't giving any pitches but they were handing out free ice-cream!

Food
  Breakfast and lunch were provided during the conference (some sponsored events also included meals), but you are on your own for dinner.  Throughout the expo though there was always appetizers and snacks along the side;  often come dinner time I wasn't even that hungry.   Late night dinners with different friends was definitely a highlight though.

**Tip** Bring Cash as you will be splitting dinner bills a lot.

Friday night after a sponsored event, I was walking back with Salma and her friend Vanessa and one fellow attendee, Carol just randomly said hi, we stopped and talked and ended up all going to dinner together.
Friends at BlogHer

We had a great time enjoying the view and talking and eating at Wolf Gang Puck 24.  I love that if you were open and friendly, you really could just meet new friends that easily.

The KeyNotes
  If you read anything about BlogHer16 I am sure that you heard that Kim Kardashian was a keynote speaker on Friday at lunch, I can't give my feelings about it- as I wasn't there.  I had a sponsored lunch at that time, which I think I am really grateful I went to. It was reported hat everyone wanted to be upfront by Kim so there was pushing and shoving and really long lines for food and that her interview felt like anything you could hear on any entertainment talk show.

I did love the Keynote with Mayim Bialik  She is so real and down to earth, funny, and was openly sharing.  The one negative aspect with her Keynote was the moderator.   Mayim made a comment about a political candidate, nothing charged or fired up, just more of a statement;  the moderator took it upon herself to say and "Yes if you don't support ****- there's the exit"
Mayim Bialik at BlogHer

I honestly, was ready to get up and walk out right then, not because I don't support that candidate (I don't like any of them so I am not trying to start a political debate)-- but at a conference where there are so many different people with so many different views, why would you say something divisive?

Overall Feelings

 Am I glad I went to BlogHer?  Yes.  I am so grateful for the friends I was able to meet, the new friends I was able to make.  I am grateful for the opportunity to talk with some brands and companies that I would love to work with.  I am grateful that now I know what this big BlogHer thing is all about.

It is fun being with a group of people who get it- who understand why we spend the time to create and share content on-line for any and all to see.

If you are a social conservative- while the attendees and other bloggers will be great and wonderful even when you have totally different views-- the overall feeling of BlogHer itself is quite different.

Will I go again?

Probably not.  There are so many conferences out there now, and I believe there are so many that would be a better fit for me, ones that I could learn more and come away with more positive experiences.


Have you ever attended a big blogging conference?

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! Nice to know others feel the same

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  2. You took the words out of my mouth. Totally my thoughts exactly!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!! Comforting to know I am not alone

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  3. I love Mayim Bialik! BlogHer was one I'd have liked to have gone to, and I still may when they're back East again... but I'll definitely be keeping your post in mind.

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    1. If you have a bunch of friends going- I would go just for that :). But yes so many conference options out there

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  4. I'd love to go to a blogging conference someday. I've had a blog for years but it's a private blog and I'm very new to promoting and writing for an audience. Some day I would like to go to one.

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  5. Very cool. I wish I could afford to go to something like this.. some day...some day

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