I know I can’t be the only one, but last week I read post after post dissing BlogHer.
Too many people, too many swag hags. Not enough swag bags, overcrowded sessions (that’s a legitimate one), too many brands, too much bad behavior, did I mention there were too many people? And those elevators.
You know what it felt like?
Like I had 4,500 mothers.
And, believe me, just one of mine is enough.
The posts ranged from the overly melodramatic (after BlogHer, I want to leave blogging because of all the bad behavior) to insightful criticism, to a hell hath no fury like a blogger that expected way too much and a conference that didn’t deliver the moon AND the stars.
After reading each one I was all: whoa, this is way serious. Too serious.
If someone is behaving badly, it’s not a reflection of you. If a line is too long, get out of it. If sessions are overcrowded, get there early. If the elevators take forever, use an escatalor or put on your patient pants. If you hate everything, put that in your disclaimer.
A little self-deprecation goes a long way.
BlogHer, first and foremost, is a business. The intention is to grow the business and their mainstay conference. After all, BlogHer paid out roughly $17 million to publishers last year. It shouldn’t buy your silence, but it should give a healthy dose of perspective.
I was completely blown away when one of the founders knew my name and called me The Other Liz Henry. Without me prompting her. First, she knows the people she employs and secondly, she clearly knows the bloggers who her company selected to be honored at Voices of the Year.
I’ve worked for smaller companies with egos so large, they couldn’t remember who I was six months in.
That elevator experience says a lot to me about the women behind BlogHer, the people who work for BlogHer, and the conference they created. Mainly: they are women (and a few men) who support other women. And not with a dog and pony show “I support you,” but with cash, increased visibility, and a conference that believes in what you do. Whatever that “do” may be.
I know a lot of people felt lonely at BlogHer. I feel for them. New York City is a rough place to make a first impression. It’s busy, it’s loud, and we’re only talking about the outside of the hotel. Inside? That’s where there’s even more hustle and bustle. And places to be and people you haven’t seen or, yikes, how do you even meet people with all of these people?
But sex was kinda stupid and awkward the first time, right?
Who’s giving that up?
I hate to see women bloggers give up so easy or not bring their expectations down from 11. Or, really care what other people 1) think 2) are doing.
It’s harshing my mellow and adding fuel to the “BlogHer is for the crazies” fire.
So, I am going to give you Reasons I’ll Be Going Back to BlogHer:
- The collective power of women bloggers is considered so influential that a sitting president addressed BlogHer ’12 attendees.
- There were free cheeseburgers. And LOTS of them.
- The housekeeper really liked my hair, so I really liked her back. And we talked every day. She brought me towels and let me know I look GOD AWFUL in the AM. I made a friend!
- The legendary inside jokes from your roomies.
- Meeting the bloggers you have built up to be rock stars and having them know you too.
- Hearing Voices of the Year stories that will change your life in a way that reading the same stories never will.
- The food, on the first day, was totally worth the wait.
- You may be surprised to like a keynote (Martha for me) and realize you should never apologize for what you’re good at. And what you’re good at does come with a price (Martha highlighted her divorce).
- The friends you’ll meet in person for the very first time after talking to them every day.
- The realization that maybe you should be speaking at a session if they don’t have the one you’re looking for.
- Having em-effer Sharpied to my arm and calling it inspirational and bonding over being “Plemmoned.”
- Because you should live a little even if it’s uncomfortable.
- You get out of BlogHer what you put into BlogHer.
But there are legitimate concerns that should be brought to BlogHer’s conference committee and planners. Perhaps you were looking for an advanced track? That makes sense, email the coordinators about it. Or maybe you felt there should be down time between the last session and the parties/receptions/honors. Or, even still, three parties a night may be too many.
My experience at BlogHer is exactly that: mine. I had fun and there were moments where I didn’t: when it was so hot that my hair color dripped down my forehead or when my skirt got caught in an escalator or how busy I never expected I would be and the tough choices between friends I would need to make.
But those things do not outweigh the amazing things that did happen. This was, by far, the longest time I have ever left my family. Sure, I have left them, but not for five days. And, I love them, but the time I got to spend just being Liz?
In a heart beat. I’m there.