My first blogging conference: BlogHer ’12

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.

Obama waving goodbye from live video to the bloggers at BlogHer ’12.

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 ( 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….

Me, Jennifer Burden (World Moms Blog) and The Daily Show’s one and only Samantha Bee! Of course we had to ask for a picture! 🙂

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….



  1. Spiritual World Traveler

    Wow! How’d you find this conference? Sounds amazing. Look forward to reading the tips!!!

    • I heard about it from other blogger friends. Apparently there are tons of blogging conferences but this is the largest (5,000 people!). I know there are ones by industry too like travel blogging, parenting blogging, etc. I bet you can do a google search and find out. It was helpful albeit very overwhelming. I am glad I went though as it made me think more seriously about my blog and where I want to go with it. 🙂

  2. So, your summer of non-stop activity keeps rolling on … Presidential speeches, Times Square, parties, parties, parties, and lots of inspirational women! Good on you Nicole. Look forward to social media 101 – among other things – from you in the coming year. 🙂

    • Ah, you are making me smile! Yes it has been busy but exciting to learn so much and face so many new things. I always think learning is the best thing ever so we’ll see where I am next?! I am way behind on my post reading and have some serious catching up to do! 🙂

    • Sure will Jo! I will keep all my fellow blogger pals in the loop as long as everyone finds it valuable and good reading. You can also search the BlogHer site for live blog casts to see what the tips were. I’ve read a few and they are relatively rough format but have had some useful information. 🙂

  3. I don’t like Facebook, have no interest in Twitter, don’t get Pinterest and Instagram. It seems to me that you need to devote a fair bit of time managing these things to bring people to your blog. Most of what I have seen on Facebook is inane rubbish with people liking the fact that a friend is ‘ on the bus ‘ or ‘walking the dog ‘. I think I would prefer to concentrate on the content of the blog. I am yet to be convinced that this is the way to go. There are many people running around all over the Internet “liking” things without reading them or even looking at them.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly Debra about using these tools for personal use. However, I have found them to be particularly helpful in promoting social advocacy as well as connecting with other bloggers and new readers. Thus I should back up and say that I don’t use these for myself but for my work. I agree that personal FB is extremely annoying. I stopped reading or responding to those kinds of mundane things. However, there are lots of other things that these tools provide such as spreading the word about advocacy (signing petitions, social good causes, increasing chatter about topics and promoting social change). I use these to gather more information and contact on my causes such as global health. With Facebook, if you use it more on a professional basis, you can engage more with a larger group of readers through the comments. Now I haven’t done that successfully yet. But that is what I want to do with it. Use my thirdeyemom FB page as a way to share clips about advocacy, volunteerism and sometimes travel and also get the conversation going. So I agree that a lot of stuff is garbage yet if you dig deeper you can find some inspiring stuff too and some blogs I follow that aren’t WordPress only go to my FB page. About people not reading and just going “like” happy, I agree and also sometimes wonder if it happens on blog pages too. I was very hesitant about using these tools but decided to give it a try and see if it makes more connections, promotes my social advocacy and helps me find more valuable information to share. We’ll see! Who knows, maybe in a few months I’ll throw the towel in, but as long as it is providing value which it is, I’ll do it and ignore my personal FB rubbish…..unless it is important stuff! 🙂 Thanks for the comment Debra and I should have addressed this more in my post!

      • I know Facebook can be used for a purpose and in your case this is a wonderful way to spread the word about an excellent cause. Unfortunately the rubbish that is posted on Facebook spoils it for the rest.

  4. How wonderful it must have been, Nicole. President Obama is such a people person, and I’m so impressed that he did this. Lovely photo of the three of you. 🙂

  5. Wow, even Obama got in on the fun! That sounds fantastic, Nicole. I can’t wait to hear more about some of the strategies you learned. Thanks for your willingness to share! 🙂

    • Of course I’m going to share! I learned a lot especially about growing, marketing and building your blog. I truly want to use it as a voice in social advocacy. If I can do things to help others, I would be thrilled. 🙂 Yes I’m a dreamer, but you’ve got to have dreams! 🙂 Thanks for following me for the ride! You’ve got twenty years on me so look out! I can only imagine what you will be doing at 40!!!!

  6. It was a pleasure to room with you Nicole! I hope I absorbed some of your amazing “social goodness!” Here’s to the Social Good Summit next this fall in NYC!

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