I tried to outline these blog posts regarding BlogHer. I really did. Remember in third grade when you had to spell out the Title, 3 bullet points, 2 supporting bullets for each, and a conclusion? Yeah, I tried. It didn’t work. I’m going to write this on the fly.
Instead of doing a Day 1 and Day 2 recap, I’ll try to group the main points.
The main point? I thought this year’s BlogHer was OK.
Caveat first. I know this is a conference. I come here to learn, network, and learn some more. Conferences inherently suck because of the massive number of attendees, the logistical nightmares the staff have to battle with, and the food is usually prison food. Even Comic-Con sucks balls after a while – crowds, lines, bad food, b.o., your friend stabbing you with a pen, etc. See? No conference is perfect.
That said, here we go.
I flew Jetblue from LAX. LAX is pretty much my least favorite airport even though it’s home base. I’ve had a better experience in Singapore where there are military people with machine guns hanging around. I hung out with my roomie Suzie (Fearless Formula Feeder) at the terminal before our red-eye flight on Jetblue. I met an attorney on the plane traveling with his wife. He told me about his work, and I told him about BlogHer.
Suzie and I tried Uber. It cost us $91 to get from JFK to the Hilton in New York. I think I will reconsider using this service again. After our ride, I received a customer service email, and I replied back that I thought $91 was redonk. I selected a black car and automatically got an SUV instead, which forced a higher fee. Hello, it’s just the two of us. I asked for a $20 refund that would put my car ride back to a black car fee. I have yet to get an answer back.
This is a doozy. The Hilton New York (53rd and 6th) is a great location in the city. It’s close to Times Square, 5th Ave shopping, Rockefeller, etc. The day before my flight, I tweeted them and asked them for an early check-in. Our flight was coming in at 5:00AM EST and you know, I’d like to take a shower and lie down for a bit before hitting the con. I got a DM back saying yes email the marketing manager. (How nice!) Well, our flight was delayed, we got to the hotel at about 6:30AM, and guess what, we still got an early check-in. So hurrah! AND we were put on the “executive floor” with free breakfast. Yeah!
Suzie and I took advantage of the free breakfast in the little executive nook and decompressed. When we got to our room, I took a shower and napped for a couple of hours. This was probably the BEST thing I did post-flight. Our bathroom had technical difficulties – the door would get stuck and it would take a few turns and tugs to get out of the bathroom. I called the staff to ask about turning down the A/C. They told me that it was locked down because there was a heat wave in New York, so it was either A/C cold or stuffy, hot room. *sigh*
The hotel in general was a lot smaller than I expected. The expo floor was small. The ballroom where the lunches were held was pretty big. Lunch and the lines for lunch were terrible. I couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t move faster. (Now remember, my first time at BlogHer was 2011 in San Diego at the Convention Center – home of Comic-Con.) Thankfully, Carolyn and I texted each other before lunch. She saved me a seat while I grabbed lunch for both of us. I know that people were upset with the waitstaff at the hotel, but I found them to be nice and pretty thoughtful. I also found the housekeeping staff/the people who answered the phone to be pleasant and prompt.
The elevators were a nightmare. 3 cars for a set of floors each. Not only were there 4,500 (or was it 5,000?) attendees, there were also touristy people who stayed at the Hilton. At one point, I hopped on the freight elevator with the housekeepers because the regular elevators were so full every time it hit the 40th floor (my floor). On Saturday, there were several times when I was on the 40th floor and I waited 15 minutes for one and 18 minutes for another elevator. No lie. I timed them each.
Outside of the panel I was speaking on, I did attend panels. Once again I had a hard time picking panels. I felt that some of them were too basic/beginner from the description, and others just didn’t fit my blog or my interest.
A panel I did appreciate (because I’m the biggest nerd ever and have to deal with this stuff at my 9-5 job) was “Protecting Your Blogging Rights and Respecting Those of Others” session. The panelists gave an overview of copyright issues, attribution, and trademark stuff. I think this panel should be a regular session – rules and policies change all the time, and beginner and advanced bloggers could always use a refresher.
- Blogwithintegrity.org – exactly what it says
- Center for New Media Rights – legal help
- Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts – legal help
I also went to my pal Ana Lydia‘s panel “How to Price and Value Your Services.” If you’re interested in monetizing your blog, this was the place to be. I learned that an average price of a guest post is about $35. GTK. There was talk about first click attribution, which HELLO, all businesses should be measuring!! I’ve been an advocate for this forever and have not yet found any company who can truly track this. Is there a company (or companies) who can track first click attribution?? Read up on the long tail theory. (MBA speak but trust me it’s important.)
I also sat in on Voices of the Year to cheer on Suzie who was honored for her post “Breastfeeding Promotion Tips from a Formula Feeder (Yes, you read that correctly…).” Ah-ma-zing! Funniest entry: Flourish in Progress‘s post “To the Person Who Stole My Taco Bell Gordita Savings Fund.”
Exhibitors, Sponsors, Expo
I had a pretty good time walking the expo floor, the other expo floor, and the other expo floor. And the suites on the 42nd floor. I took it easy because I knew that I couldn’t bring home a ton of swag in a suitcase.
Some of my highlights with the exhibitors/sponsors:
- Great convo with the Starbucks barista. I really want that Verismo machine. Dehydrated milk!
- Convo with the CVS people – the Wife’s car is equipped with a first aid kit, thanks to them.
- Convo with the Halo son-of-the-inventor – we chatted about the FDA, mouth breathers, and where to find the product (at CVS!).
- Great demo and convo with Lifeproof – waterproof iPod and iPad cases. You can drop your iPad up to 6 ft. You know I would, too.
- Hershey Smores Camp – I told the rep that I use the insulated lunch bag from 2011 as my travel camera bag! It’s less bulky than and not as stiff as a regular camera bag.
- The lady who did my mini-manicure at the Bailey’s Creamers booth. Did you know that in the state of New York, it is illegal to cut your cuticles?
- Convo with the Boiron people – I told them that I took swigs of their children’s syrup when I get sick. They told me about arnica gel. (They couldn’t condone the way I dosed myself.)
The number of exhibitors seemed to be a lot smaller than BlogHer 2011. That could have been a space issue – the San Diego Convention Center is ginormous compared any hotel space. For me and the focus of my blog, there weren’t too many businesses I felt would work with my blog and vice versa.
I did really want to talk to a person who helmed the Asus laptop but no one ponied up. I stood there looking for a rep and NOTHING.
I tried to talk to the eyelash person at the Kiss Products booth, but she literally turned away as soon as she was done putting on fake lashes on a fellow blogger. She turned around and left to regroup with her coworkers, and she didn’t look back. There were three of us standing to talk to her, and NOTHING.
Other than these two FAILs, the other exhibitors were friendly and willing to chat.
Next post – Private Parties, the Rockettes, and Meeting New Bloggers.