I wasn’t going to post anything about BlogHer yet as I still haven’t recapped Type A Parent Bootcamp. I was starting to feel like the last person there to share after reading so many posts by other attendees. (I’m immensely jealous that they can talk about their experiences so quickly; I have to decompress and mull it over in my brain for a few days.)
There will be more about certain aspects in later posts, but this list contains my favorite things about BlogHer ’14 and the ones that could stand improvement.
5 Things BlogHer Should Improve
I used the word “worst” in the title for dramatic effect. These items were things I didn’t like about BlogHer ’14 but not so terrible I’ll never go again.
1. Content: There wasn’t much that appealed to me on the agenda other than the keynotes and mini-con. This was not a surprise to me because I’ve had that complaint for the past three years and yet I still go. I’m one of the people who indicate their reason for attending is to see other bloggers on the registration form.
2. Expo: Where have all the exhibitors gone? The expo was the smallest I’ve seen it in five years. I especially missed the food brands from past years who helped me get through the day thanks to their sustenance. We had ice cream, cookies, coffee and mojitos all day. (Okay, let’s keep the mojitos!)
3. Lunch: BlogHer tried something new with the included lunch this year and I hated it. Instead of making your own sandwich/plate from a buffet line the food was served family style on the tables. The sandwiches and fruit tarts on day one were hearty enough but not gluten-free!
On day two, we had a cupful of salad with assorted toppings of protein (beef, chicken, tofu, seeds) and a plate of fruit. It was not enough for a table of 8 and I was quickly ready for more food. Lastly, on the first day there were no drinks on the table and the lines to get water or iced tea was quite long.
4. Suite Parties: I’m not complaining about the suite parties themselves but rather the space and logistics. There were five suite parties in the Hilton on five floors. It was difficult to get an elevator with hundreds of attendees trying to hit the different suites.
Then when you got there it was elbow to elbow!
5. Water: I was trained to use a water bottle at my first BlogHer but couldn’t find a cooler to refill anywhere!
5 Things BlogHer Did Right
1. Sponsored Events: I was fortunate enough to attend several brand sponsored events ranging from a discussion about advanced breast cancer to a Sangria and yoga party. They were all done well and meaningful whether it was due to the stories being told or the connections being made.
2. Size: My biggest complaint about BlogHer ’12 was there wasn’t enough space for the 5,000 attendees. We waited in lines everywhere and it was frustrating to wait 20 minutes for an elevator to go to your room.
This year, it never seemed too crowded anywhere. I didn’t even wait in a bathroom line once! With 2,500 mostly women attendees, that was nearly a miracle.
3. Closing Party: Best closing party ever! McDonald’s sponsored the closing party which was outdoors. It’s my kind of party where they’re serving my favorite french fries along with cocktails! To top it off, Rev Run from Run DMC DJed for us.
4. Keynotes: This year was a celebration of the 10 years of BlogHer conferences and I enjoyed the short presentations from bloggers who were trailbrazers among other accomplishments. Then there was Arianna Huffington, Jenny Lawson, Kara Swisher, Guy Kawasaki and more.
The only one that didn’t hit a home run with me was Kerry Washington. Nothing against her, but I don’t watch her show so it wasn’t interesting.
5. People: I saved the best for last. It was so wonderful to connect with people who understand my compulsion to write. I have to get these thoughts out of my head even if no one ever reads them. Not only did I hug and catch up with friends but made new ones like Adela my roommate from The Black Tortoise. That’s us above at the closing party.
A bonus shout-out to San Jose. I’ve never been to the city before but really enjoyed morning walks around the city and the little bit I did see.
I don’t know if this is the last BlogHer conference (as the rumor mill turns) but it was so worth it to me. Thank you BlogHer for another wonderful experience. Congratulations on 10 years of community, advocacy and support.