I’ve never been to a conference as big as the BlogHer conference. There were 5,000 bloggers at BlogHer ’12 this year in New York City.
Think about that. 5,000 bloggers – mostly female – in one place.
Yes, there was a smattering of men at BlogHer. In fact, the first person I met when I arrived at the Hilton was a dude. I commended him for having the fortitude to be at such a conference with so many women.
Though I missed President Barack Obama on Thursday, I did make it on time for my speaker orientation on Thursday and the Party at the Expo, where I mingled with bloggers and sponsors. (And, yes, you did read that correctly. Obama addressed BlogHer ’12 attendees because he understands the power of a female blogger.)
There was a lot of swag at BlogHer. A lot. Everything from bags of guacamole to vibrators. Seriously.
Prior to BlogHer, there was a lot of talk in the blogosphere and on Twitter about the event. What to expect, what to wear, what to attend. Lots and lots of chatter. I was slightly overwhelmed before I even left for the event. Knowing that I would be leading a workshop at BlogHer ’12 only added to the anxiety.
But there was nothing to fear about BlogHer ’12. My outfits were fine. I was able to walk up to random bloggers, introduce myself, and have meaninful conversations. My grammar clinics went well.
I met up with Alysia at Try Defying Gravity who lives in my home town in Massachusetts and found out I was going to be at BlogHer ’12 while dining with my best friend from high school. Instead of “speed dating” on Friday morning, I went with two other bloggers in the hallway to have a deeper conversation about our blogs. Then, there was that great breakfast I had on Saturday, where we all just started going around the table telling each other about our blogs, our work, and our challenges and actually started to give each other some great encouragement and advice. I met Jen (another Jennifer!) who is a fellow copywriter working in the nonprofit world.
There were small moments like these for three days that made the experience as a whole just amazing.
Of course, there were helpful and thought-provoking panels that gave me much to think about and act upon. There’s the mountain of blogger business cards I received. There were the parties, that I mostly skipped because I was just too darn tired by the end of the day. (While that made me feel old at first, it felt really nice to leave the chaos for a while and just eat dinner with my family.)
Oh, and having lunch with Martha Stewart and Katie Couric was pretty spectacular. Martha Stewart noted that the things she wasn’t good at were the things she hasn’t tried yet. And Katie Couric is reserving two seats in the audience of her new show, Katie, specifically for bloggers. They were inspiring, to say the least.
Heck, being with so many strong, powerful women with voices in one place was pretty spectacular and inspiring.
My brain is still recovering from all that was BlogHer ’12. So are my feet. I will be blogging more about my grammar clinic, and some of the conversations we had, next week. For now, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the week with my family here in New York.
Were you at BlogHer ’12? What were the highlights of your experience?