By now I've had more than a week to read post-BlogHer commentary, but it's not going to make any difference in the kind of post I'd intended to write to sum up my fifth BlogHer Conference experience.
Over the years, my reasons for going to BlogHer have shifted slightly. At first, I was just intrigued by the idea of a women's blogging conference. These days I go primarily to see the other attendees: people I "know" but haven't met yet, people with whom I've been hanging out at BlogHer for years, and as many new people as I can possibly find the time to meet.
For the past two years, part of my job has been blogger relations and I actively work with bloggers every day. However, that hasn't changed the way I interact with people. Fundamentally, it's still a blogger-to-blogger interaction. The potential to work with someone in the future is merely a bonus for both of us.
Here's a fact about BlogHer that sometimes gets lost amongst other drama: it's fun! You might think I'm talking about the parties, but really the whole conference is fun. If you pick your sessions correctly, you can spend the whole day laughing. (Well, except for the Community Keynote. It'll make you cry...and laugh, too.) The opportunities to socialize start with breakfast, pick up at lunch, start up again at the cocktail party, and continue into the rest of the evening social scene.
Here are some of the people I got to spend time with at BlogHer this year:
The always-fabulous Michelle
Suebob! She was heading to Midway airport on Sunday afternoon at the same time Rita and I were, so we all shared a cab.
Georgia (and Karl again - I hung out with Karl quite a bit).
I also ran into or met or chatted with or had a meal with (in no particular order) Gwen, Tara, Kelly, Danielle, Jenny, Amy, Cindy, Sandy, Janelle, Matthew, Nicole, Alana, Julia, Claire, Angela, Joseph and his sister Rebecca, Shannan, Fresh Widow, Megan, Kimberly, Kim, Lisa, Renee, Amanda, Tanya, Linda, Jodi, Connie, Heather, Mishelle, Kate, Jennifer, Beth, Tanya, Megan, Jennifer, Shellie, Samantha, Karen, Cindy, Grace, Amber, Victoria, Cecelia, Fiona, Karianna, Jennifer, Tara, Marianne, Lisa, Trisha, Kristine, Esther, Jeremy, Deb, Jacqueline, Poppy, Tina, Sandie, Leslie, Kelley, Beverly, Rini, Suzanne, Heather, Victoria, Sean, Susan, Theron, Melanie, Adam, Barb, Toni-Lynn, Joy and Sabrina.
The sad thing is I've almost certainly left out a bunch of people. If we met at BlogHer and I didn't list you somewhere (including the previous post), let me know in the comments!
Shameful admission: Some of the business cards I received went through the wash in the pocket of my jeans.
So that's what BlogHer was all about for me. Yes, it was wonderful to bring home bunches of toys for my nephew, as well as cleaning supplies and toiletries for myself. (That Dove deodorant from the MamaPop party is awesome! I'm definitely switching.) Also, a big thanks to Hanes, who drew my business card and awarded me a Flip video camera. The socks I got from them came in handy, too.
Of course, an extra big thank you to Nintendo. Liz Rizzo invited me to their ambassadors' party as her guest for the second year in a row. Last year we took a lovely dinner cruise on San Francisco Bay. This year we were picked up at the hotel and taken via horse-drawn carriage to the John Hancock Building, where we had dinner on the 95th floor, surrounded by a scenic view of Chicago at night. After dinner, they generously gave each attendee a Nintendo DSi. Needless to say, my niece really thinks I'm a rock star now that we can play DS games together.
I'm already registered for 2010 in New York. Hope to see you then!