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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why I Went to BlogHer '09

There are so many things both good and bad that I could write about my trip to BlogHer 09. I even got an insiders peek at some of the goings on because I was on the BlogHer Green Team. I was also a mic handler for the sessions. I and learned so much about social activism in the Leadership: Hope and Change in Action session it isn’t even funny.

I have to admit I was leery about going to BlogHer. Why? I heard rumors about accusations, squeeing, drama about getting STUFF, wild parties - was there any learning going on? and perceived snubs that went on at past BlogHers. (This one wasn’t any different.)

Oh and because I’m not a mommy blogger. Even though I’m The World’s Most Fabulous Aunt (I’m thinking about trademarking this) since I don’t have Mommy or anything related to children in my blog title, people don’t know what to do with me. I heard of bloggers who don’t blog about their families or children (even if they are moms) being snubbed because this or that event or sponsor is “only for mommy bloggers.” Fortunately this never, ever, ever happened to me.

The same goes for the enviros. Since I don’t have green, crunchy, eco or such in the title of my blog the cool kids don’t find me or read me. Or maybe they do find me and don’t like me because while I give green living, and money saving and DIY tips I also blog about the audacity of garden yetis. Not because they are big hunks of plastic resin that have a negative impact on the environment but because it’s a 2 foot tall Sasquatch as d├ęcor in your freaking garden. It must be mocked. I’m just the gal to do it.

So since I put these marketing obstacles in place I felt that I should go to BlogHer and learn how to promote Condo Blues in a world where if you don’t have the right keywords in your blog title you are largely ignored. I also considered test marketing a rebranded blog title Condo Blues Mommy Green Metatag Metatag but after giving out so many Condo Blues business cards I decided against it. Until I get home from Chicago and Husband casually suggests the new blog title Condo Blues and Greens. Great name! What do you think?

OK, moving on to the touchy feely. This is why I really went to BlogHer


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I met over 135 really great people and got their business cards. I gave out 252 of my business cards to people who wanted them. I networked my face off.

I helped make BlogHer less wasteful by being on the BlogHer Green Team. We offered suggestions about reducing waste, for doling out useful/more eco swag (it did happen. It wasn’t all about the drama), and even participated in a conference call with Pepsi one of the major sponsors about what they planned to do at the conference. I’ll blog more on that later.

One of the greatest things I took back from me is what Elisa from BlogHer said to me in the lobby right before I went home. She thanked me for being on the Green Team. I tried to apologize for some of the team's rather, ahem, intense discussions regarding a few things that transpired right before the conference. She wouldn’t let me. She told me that I did my job. The team challenged and pushed BlogHer and the sponsors to be more environmentally friendly. She said magic words, “You made a difference.”

Me?

I made a difference? Big corporations listened to me? As an expert? In a nonprofessional setting?

I have a voice.

I made a difference.

Wow.

You don’t get that feeling of pride and empowerment from a free camera people.

And this:


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Top Row, LtoR - Lynn of Organic Mania; Micaela of Mindful Momma. Bottom Row, L to R: Maryanne of Not Quite Crunchy Parent; Me! Lisa of Condo Blues; Beth of Fake Plastic Fish and Diane of Big Green Purse. Missing: Sommer of Green and Clean Mom and Jennifer of The Smart Mama.

I met some of my fellow bloggers of the Green Moms Carnival up close and in person. We became fast real life friends when I saw them in the lobby Thursday evening. There were hugs and squeeing (in my head) when I saw them.

This too.


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This is my new friend Vanessa from Chef Druck Musings. I made a new blogging and local real life friend because she moved to Columbus right before the conference started! I didn’t know about her or her blog until we drove in the same carpool thanks to Chevrolet and BlogHer. We’re making plans to check out our local farmers market and ethnic grocery stores once she’s settled in.

I was so surprised to see that she was the live blogger and I was the mic handler for the Blogging Identities and YOU session. It was a great session. It was fun working together.

So yeah, those sponsorships are nice to have as in I am very, very grateful for the opportunity. I don’t think sponsorships are an entitlement because I’m an optionated dork with a high speed internet connection (most people call them bloggers.) I tried to do right by Chevrolet since they gave me that opportunity out of the goodness of their own heart. Which means I didn’t crash the car they let us drive.

Volunteering as a mic handler meant that BlogHer paid my conference fee. I did not get any extra anything for volunteering to serve on the BlogHer Green Team but I’d do it again in a heart beat because I made a difference.

BlogHer selected me to fill one of the few volunteer spots out of the 150 people who applied. I wanted to do good by them too. I literally ran around meeting rooms making sure that participants could be heard and recorded while not interrupting the flow of the discussion in my assigned sessions because I wanted to be deserving of the conference fee scholarship BlogHer awarded me. Thank you BlogHer for the opportunity to go to some great sessions I may not have otherwise, those were my favorites.

Also thanks to my BlogHerShip, I didn’t have to get up early to run the BlogHer 5K and I still got my cardio workout in!

However this drama, I could do without

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There’s a lot I could say and will say about SwagGate. Most of it comes down to parties allowing more RSVPs than they had room or gifty things for the attendees. Once word got out quickly via Twitter, a few feral attendees felt the need to get there super early, swoop in grab THE STUFF and leave. The majority of us were there for fun, networking, and some wacky behavior.

My next post about BlogHer I will tell you about the fun stuff. Like how I partied with Mrs. Potato Head (she’s a wild woman!) and had an in depth discussion about the comedic potential of the word “Hobo” with none other than The Bloggess.

Forming relationships, making a difference, and partying with a giant potato. That’s why I went to BlogHer ’09.