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Random Thoughts about BlogHer 2006 July 31, 2006

Posted by Amy in Uncategorized.

1) It turns out I know more about blogging than I thought I did. I expected to be blown away by how much I would learn about audience building for mamazine.com and other areas I always feel like I should study up on. I’m over that now.

2) Weird swag. I expected to see lots of cool tech products and maybe even find stuff about them in, say, the free tote bag. The free bib was nice—I gave it to my daughter for her baby doll—and the condom was fine, although now that I’ve had my tubes tied, condoms are no longer a part of my life. But the cheesy huge silk flower was just weird. And the diet water? No thanks.

3) The people who can come to these conferences probably aren’t representative of bloggers as a whole in terms of personality and socioeconomic class. The BlogHer organizers did everything they could, I suspect, to make it affordable, and companies like ClubMom helped subsidize the on-site childcare. But it was still $75 a day, and that’s still too much for many, many people. For us, it was a BIG financial stretch to drive an hour and a half and pay for two nights in the (not swanky AT ALL) hotel, not to mention the conference fees.

For most bloggers, I’d guess plane tickets and hotel and possibly babysitting costs were too prohibitive. So there ended up being a lot more people there who blog for money and possibly for a living than is probably true of bloggers in general. That’s not a criticism of the conference, just an observation. I’ve only ever attended academic conferences, too, so my perspective is different from someone who regularly goes to conferences with corporate sponsors who aren’t textbook publishers.

4) The corporate sponsors didn’t really seem to get who their audience was, with the Be Jane weirdness being the primary example. All around me, people were making comments about feeling like “Math is hard” Barbie was up on stage talking WAY down to us. Here’s a hint: if you’re facing a ballroom full of hundreds of smart, tech-savvy women, “home improvement is scary” isn’t the way to our hearts.

5) I like sleep more than partying.

6) The Mommyblogging is a Radical Act session was disappointing. Not because of the moderator or the panelists, who were as intelligent and funny and thoughtful in person as on their blogs, but because question-and-answer sessions only work if people ASK QUESTIONS rather than make statements promoting their own blogs. (The next session I went to worked better, though, because there was a wireless mike being carried around the room and people were able to ask questions in response to what had just been said and/or asked.)

Also? The room was way too small and really hot. It’s possible that I was also hungry and cranky by then, too. Plus, the only other session I really, really wanted to go to, the Edublogging session, was at the same time. What–mommybloggers can’t also be educators? I know it wasn’t intentional. I just found it interesting that once again I found myself choosing between the two main parts of my life–teaching and mothering.

7) I feel generally blah about the whole experience, and that surprises me. I usually come home from conferences feeling inspired and full of new ideas. I just don’t have that feeling after this weekend. Maybe it was the focus on blogging for money (which I’m not opposed to in theory, at least)? The idea of a person being a brand? For most of us, that’s not what blogging is.



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