BlogHer 2010: The Highs and Lows

by Kay Lynn

Statue of Liberty

As you could probably tell from the detailed BlogHer posts, this conference surpassed my expectations and left me counting the days until BlogHer 2011.  The project manager in me has to evaluate the event and document learnings for next time.

Conference Positives

Organization – This was a very organized event.  There was excellent signage throughout the event areas and lobby which was impressive given it covered two floors and lots of space. 

Most amazing of all was that I never had to wait in line for a bathroom.  Seriously, a conference with 2,500 people of whom 90% are female and I never had to wait to go.   Kudos for that!  Come to think of it the longest line I had all weekend was waiting for my picture with Bruce Jenner. 

Food – The food was varied and tasty at the included breakfasts and lunches.  Breakfast had a choice of hot or cold cereal, egg sandwich, yogurt, fruit, juices and more.  I didn’t have to buy any food from the time I got to New York until Sunday evening thanks to all the conference and sponsored events.

Conference Negatives

 Size– BlogHer is so big that it can be overwhelming.  I headed to my room for a few moments of quiet each day.  There are almost too many options on what to do at any given time of day. 

Elevator – The hotel elevators were not able to handle this large group of people coming and going at the same times throughout the day.  The longest wait (versus line) I had was for an elevator and it took sometimes 15-20 minutes to get on one.

Sessions – This may have been because I had just been to a content-rich conference, but the sessions overall didn’t appeal to me.  This was surprising given the large number of choices.  I was really here for the networking and connections so this really wasn’t a concern in my case.

Things I Did Right

Hang Out with the Smokers – I don’t smoke but my travel companions do so I spent time with them in the front of the hotel.  I met so many contacts here and we had a chance to talk in relative peace. 

Fashion Doesn’t Matter – I was surprised by the number of twitter conversations about clothes.  I wore slacks with blouses during the day and dresses to the night events.  However, by the third day I was wearing flip flops with that dress (my feet were killing me). 

But I saw everything from shorts to long evening gowns.  Just wear what makes you comfortable.

Register for Parties/Events – Watch the conference hash tag on twitter and you’ll find out about events that require registration.  This tactic enabled me to attend several events that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise as a first-time attendee.  It was also the best time to have extended conversations with other attendees.

Stay Longer– There are three reasons to stay longer.  The first is that after 2-3 days of rushing here and there with early mornings and late nights you need a rest.  The second is to attend sponsored brunches or other events when most attendees have left.  Lastly, enjoy the host city as it might be a while before you come back.

Lessons Learned for Next Time

Arrive Early – I regret not flying in the day before the conference.  It takes all day from the West Coast to get to NYC and I missed out on a couple of events that occurred during the day.  Also, it was stressful worrying about all my travel arrangements going well so I could make it to the evening parties.

Get a Sponsor – The conference fees are very reasonable ($198) thanks to the sponsors.  However, the travel and hotel do add up.  Many women had sponsors to offset those costs.  Next year, I will actually ask someone to sponsor my expenses.

Organize Cards– I got this idea from another attendee (sorry I can’t remember who) who put all cards in a Ziploc bag.  Instead, I just threw mine in my conference bag and then had the task of trying to find them all when packing to leave. 

Drink Water –Pre-conference I read the advice from previous attendees to be sure and drink plenty of water.  Did I heed it?  Nope.  The official conference bag included a water bottle and there were water stations to fill them up but I still didn’t do a good job here leaving me very thirsty with a sore throat.

———-$$$$$———-

Attending BlogHer was an amazing unique experience and it’s hard to explain how and why.  The one thing I do know is that I’ll be there next year.

For more BlogHer posts, see: BlogHer 2010 Day One, Day Two and Day Three.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise August 11, 2010 at 9:45 am

This was a lot of fun and I agree with you on many of the points. I didn’t attend a single session but I liked having the option open to me. You know. It was great and I’m going again next year for sure.

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Kay Lynn August 13, 2010 at 6:07 am

My siblings teased me about not going to the conference and I replied that went to the opening and closing. Who knows, maybe we’ll have a totally different experience next time.

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Jennifer @ J. Leigh Designz August 11, 2010 at 9:57 am

These are all great tips and things I feel the same way about!

Ps. we met out front with the smokers 😉 LOL!

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Kay Lynn August 13, 2010 at 6:07 am

Jennifer, you are proof that the smoking area is a great hangout!

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Denise August 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I enjoyed meeting and hanging out with you at BlogHer Kay Lynn! I agree that it was very well organized and professionally put together, and wish I’d started out with my flip flops on the first day 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you in San Diego next year!

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Kay Lynn August 13, 2010 at 6:09 am

Denise, I loved that we kept meeting up! It was interesting that I never ran into bloggers I knew and others I saw many times.

Tell your mom hi for me and I’m looking forward to seeing you next year!

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Little House August 12, 2010 at 9:24 am

Now that I’ve heard next year’s BlogHer is in San Diego (just a couple of hours south of me) I’ve decided I’m going! These tips are great, I especially like the idea of getting sponsors to help fund the trip. Thanks for sharing them!

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Kay Lynn August 13, 2010 at 6:10 am

Little House, there is also a one day Saturday conference in San Diego next March (Bloggy Boot Camp). They limit the registration to 125 people so it will be a good one for content.

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Go Banking Rates August 12, 2010 at 9:36 am

Haha those are some great tips! I would love to go to BlogHer one year. Hopefully I can catch the one next year. “Hang out with the smokers” is smart because you get to chat casually about your business and network- not that it’s any good for your lungs though! =p

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Kay Lynn August 13, 2010 at 6:12 am

Go Banking Rates, fortunately there was a nice breeze so I didn’t have a problem with the smoke and I’m very sensitive to it.

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Jim August 13, 2010 at 12:52 pm

all in all it sounds like you had a great time and made some valuable contacts, that’s fantastic.

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Kay Lynn August 16, 2010 at 6:01 am

Jim, that’s a great summary (and so true).

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jan August 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm

There is a cool scanner just for business cards.
Worth its weight in gold since cards often fly to other parts of the universe!
Sounds like a great convention.

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Kay Lynn August 16, 2010 at 5:59 am

Jan, someone I know has one of these and it actually emails me every six months asking if any of the contact information has changed. Pretty cool.

Me, I have them all in the plastic sandwich container we got from Hillshire Farms.

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Invest It Wisely August 15, 2010 at 9:47 am

Yep, it sounds like you had a lot fun. That is a huge conference! There are certainly a lot of bloggers out there…

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Kay Lynn August 16, 2010 at 5:58 am

Yes, I was so stunned when a couple of people knew about my blog and were excited to meet me. Sometimes it feels very anonymous but we really are connecting with others.

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Fig August 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Great tips! I went to BlogHer last year and it was a really fun experience. I’m thinking I might go in 2012 so maybe I’ll see you there!

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Kay Lynn August 15, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Let me know if you come to my hometown for next year. We’ll have to make sure we meet!

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Kay Lynn August 16, 2010 at 5:57 am

Fig, it would be great to see you at next year’s BlogHer. Congratulations once again on your engagement.

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