This year’s BlogHer conference was held at the Hilton New York in the heart of New York City. It had record setting attendance of almost 5,000 bloggers, sponsors and speakers from around the world. Although most attendees were women hence the name “BlogHer” there were some brave men who battled the hormones, emotions and continual chitchat of social networking en masse. It was quite an event and if you don’t like crowds, a bit overwhelming.
Yet all in all, it was an amazing experience with so much passion, ideas and exhilaration that I left Saturday night feeling completely wiped out mentally and physically. But alas, I’m home now albeit sicker than a dog with a cold yet ready to share some of my thoughts and knowledge on this amazing conference.
The conference officially began on Friday, August 3rd with a full-day of sessions, networking, sponsor exhibits and parties (yes, lots of them). However, I thankfully arrived the day before in order to settle in and do a little bit of sightseeing before BlogHer’12 kicked off and I would be trapped inside the hotel for the next few days. In retrospect, I am so glad I went early or else I would have missed our surprise televised guest.
At 4:30 PM Thursday, August 2nd for the opening ceremony of BlogHer ’12, we had an unexpected surprise: President Barack Obama. Here is the clip on YouTube of President Obama who speaks to attendees of BlogHer, the premiere conference for women (and men) in social media, in an unprecedented live address via video from Orlando, Florida.
Can you believe it? I was pretty impressed! Not only do I like Obama and what he stands for, his presence reiterated the fact that we bloggers are important. Important enough for the President of the United States to take ten minutes out of his busy schedule and talk to us. We have a voice, we truly do. All of us. And we should use it.
Some of the key highlights of the conference include:
- Sharing a room with Jennifer Burden, founder of World Mom’s Blog. I owe so much to Jen for her wisdom, passion, inspiration, laughter and ceaseless energy and commitment for growing World Mom’s Blog and helping women around the world. We shared a room and had many early morning giggles, chats about the future dreams and goals and encouragement. Thanks Jen!
- Meeting so many amazing bloggers! At BlogHer there were plenty of opportunities to network. I met so many encouraging, inspiring fellow bloggers that it was mind-boggling. We shared stories, ideas, and business cards and I truly hope to nurture these new friendships as time goes by.
- Learning so many amazing things about blogging in particular how to use Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, Goggle+, Instagram and Pinterest) to grow your blog and meet likeminded people. I also learned how to brand your blog and market it. (No worries fellow readers, I am excited to share this knowledge on future posts called “Blogging: Social Media 101″. It will require some time and effort to fully research these posts but I believe we can all benefit). Bottom line, if you are not using all these social media platforms to develop, promote and grow your blog, then it is time to start!
- Listening to some truly inspirational speakers and fellow bloggers such as Lisa Belkin (Senior Columnist for the Huffington Post), Advocacy bloggers such as Tracey Friley of OneBrownGirl, and BlogHer’s keynote speakers such as Martha Stewart, Katic Couric, Soledad O’Brien, Christy Turlington Burns and Malaak Compton-Rock.
- Meeting fellow ONE mom bloggers such as Jennifer James (Mom Bloggers for Social Good), Justice Fergie and Elizabeth Atalay (documama.org) thanks to Jeannine Harvey and Ginny Wolfe, ONE’s extraordinary talented women.
- Dinners, drinks and lots of parties! BlogHer hosted three parties a night after cocktail hours. It was a blast!
And I can’t finish this post without adding a picture of my brief touch with fame! We went to a blogging party at Babble, a huge parenting blog based in NYC and met….
So was it worth it? All in all, it was fun, exhilarating, exhausting, expensive and inspiring. I look forward to putting my new skills and networks to use and seeing where I am by BlogHer ’13!
All the best….