Was BlogHer Worth It?

I was looking forward to going to the BlogHer conference in NYC so much that it rivaled the wait for Christmas. And I really, really LOVE Christmas.

After a month or so of mental build up and a few days of intensive tweeting, the conference went by in a three-day whirlwind. In a way it felt like it took forever and at the same time I feel like I’ve been pummeled from head to toe with an angry swag bag.

Since I had never been to a blog conference before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was really hoping to walk away from the event with a bunch of new contacts, a notebook of ideas to implement and a couple new friends.

So, did I do that?
Here’s the breakdown:

In the Good Pile

  • I have 17 pages of handwritten notes to go through. The plan is to create a list of Action Items and then slowly chip away at each task.
  • I have 31 business cards from the conference – a mix of fellow bloggers and possible sponsors. I need to click around on each contact’s links. Bloggers I like will go on a frequent read list and sponsors I like will go on a ‘need to email’ list so I can follow up with them.
  • I was offered a few guest posting and sponsorship opportunities from a few different brands – a couple of them fit fantastically with Pocketful of Joules and I’ll definitely be following up on them. In one case I need to devise a plan to use the product, blog about it and also create a giveaway for my awesome readers so that you can receive the product for free!
  • I was able to meet up with bloggers/twitter friends that I only knew in the online world and had a great time getting to know them in real life. Three of my total favorites that I was able to hang out with were: Lauren from Filing Jointly, Diana (who’s business card I can’t find right now but I really liked her) and Marcella, the Social Media Manager for Citrus Lane (as you know I’m kind of obsessed with Citrus Lane and their monthly box program)!

In the Bad Pile

  • This year’s BlogHer had over 5,000 people signed up to attend. It’s great that the conference is popular, but there were so many bloggers at the event that I found it difficult to make one-on-one connections with people. So many times I’d run into someone, talk to them a bit and then never see them again. As much as I wanted to leave with a few new best buds, it was really hard to break through the crowd to find them.
  • There are always a couple bad seeds out there. Two bloggers I met were total asshats and I’ve already thrown away their business cards so I don’t make the mistake of following up with them.
  • Apparently some bloggers were sponsored by multiple brands that paid for them to attend the conference. Which is totally fine. But I was a bit disgusted and turned off by some of their blatant shilling of their brands – both in person and on twitter. It’s cool to support and thank a brand or two, but to have a dozen different brands sponsoring all areas of your trip and wardrobe and to have to tweet/talk about them nonstop is just a bit too much for me. At least with television infomercials I can fast forward with my tivo…
  • On my train ride home I totally misheard the conductor (the speaker was turned way down low…) and got off at the stop BEFORE my stop. So instead of getting home around 10:45, I didn’t walk in the door of my house until almost midnight. BOO!
Yes, I played with Lauren’s tentacles and it was everything I thought it would be.

Random Bits O’ Fun:

  • Celebrities I saw: Martha Stewart, Katie Couric (both interviewed at BlogHer), and Matthew Broderick (on the street outside of his latest Broadway play).
  • Most embarrassing: When I blurted out to my new friend, Diana, “PLEASE tell me your ring is fake” upon seeing her engagement ring. It wasn’t. It was also a crapload of carets and super sparkly. Absolute mortification.
  • I’ve still got it: The secret to walking around NYC without being hassled is that you need to put on your “Stankface” before you leave your hotel. Basically, you don’t make eye contact with anyone, you don’t look up at the buildings and go “Oooooh, look how tall” and you walk like you’re pounding the runway on America’s Next Top Model. I pretty much rock at this and not one random person tried to mess with me. Meow.
  • Lauren from Filing Jointly totally let me play with her tentacles. And no, that’s not a euphemism for anything naughty.
  • I brought home an absolute ton of swag. In fact, I’ll be writing a whole blog post on JUST the swag I got.
  • This trip was my very first time being away from my (almost) 6 month old since he came home from the hospital and I totally did not cry once. I missed him and my husband though and was happy to come home on Sunday. Even though Jack learned this terrible horror movie kind of scream that scares the crap out of me and the dog.*

Random Pictures from my BlogHer weekend:

The view from my room — totally wish it was New Years so I could see the ball drop!
My brand-spanking-new blog business cards!
With another blogger (not even sure we exchanged names) at the Stella and Dot booth. Obviously I’m a pretty, pretty princess.
Lauren from Filing Jointly and Me — we didn’t get around to hair braiding and she’s afraid of pillow fights. However, she did bring me an awesome gift for letting her crash with me!
Oooh, look a fake fire and smores! I’m not sure if this was before or after I gaped at her ring.
Yeah, that’s me with the Jimmy Dean Sun. Because I’m totally THAT cool!

All in all, I arrived in NYC on Thursday with an excitement level of a 4 year old hyped up on sugar and left feeling vaguely overwhelmed and absolutely exhausted.

So, the question is… Was it Worth it?

My main reason for attending the conference was to learn more about professional blogging. I’m going to be launching a blog at my day job in higher education and wanted to be sure I do it with as few kinks as possible.

My secondary reason for attending BlogHer was so that I can learn more about personal blogging. After stumbling through with Pocketful of Joules for the past 1 ½ years, I really want to focus on improving and growing my blog. I learned a lot at the conference and have a hugely intimidating list of ideas that I can implement as soon as I have the energy, time and money to do so.

All in all, I’m feeling overwhelmed yet inspired. Which I’m going to count as a win for BlogHer!

*Honestly, this new scream sounds like he’s a cross between a possessed demon child and someone in true terror running from an ax welding mad man. It’s horrible!

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16 thoughts on “Was BlogHer Worth It?”

  1. Awesome recap. I didn’t catch up with you but I’m glad I got a chance to “meet” you on Twitter last week and will definitely be stalk…errr, reading you! 😉

    1. Thank you for coming by — and yes, I totally rocked it out with the Jimmy Dean sun…so a good time was had by all!

  2. I’m enjoying reading all of the recaps and hearing everyone’s perspective on it. Sounds a lot like the real world–bound to run into some asshats.

  3. Great recap! I love reading these, too! This was my second BlogHer and I only came for a whirlwind 24 hours. I posted about it on my blog, and I think there are a few similarities in our experiences.

  4. Great recap! Loved reading it and love the photos! (I didn’t bring my stinking camera.)

    I wrote a post, but I was only there for 24 hours. I still think we had a lot of similarities of experience (even though the rest of mine was pretty…weird, lol.)

    Again, LOVE the photos!

  5. I had the same problems networking because of the huge crowd. This was my 3rd BlogHer and I might look for a smaller conference. I really missed having the space to meet other bloggers and have more than 3 sentence conversations.

  6. Thank you all for stopping by — I wish I had met you while I was at BlogHer. Feel free to poke around and let me know if you have any ideas on how I can improve/grow my little blog! Joules

  7. I have been wanting to go to Blogher for a while and never have, so yes, I’m jealous. 🙂 Maybe we can go together next year? Thanks for giving the scoop here. It sounds like a great experience.

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