BlogHer Baby Grows Up?

BlogHer Baby Grows Up?PINIMAGE

BlogHer Baby Grows Up?

Here’s my wrap-up. I know you’re all on the edge of your seats.

 

 

Having BlogHer in NYC was fun because it’s in NYC, but… it’s a pain in the butt because it’s NYC.

 

But I ‘get’ it… get it… get it….

 

The Hilton was very accommodating. Bravo Hilton. Nice rooms (and Room Mate Linda from Elleroy Was Here– if you don’t read her- you should. Awesome has a face). Good conference space. Excellent signage. Fully stocked bars. Men’s Rooms that had been temporarily changed into Women’s Rooms (smart). Fully stocked bars (Did I already say that? Oops.)

 

The break-out sessions were actually informative. Someone has been encouraging the ‘Experts’ to ‘practice’ their presentations, unlike a few past sessions (that were more like slide-shows of flowers) and organize the information they will impart. Always a good idea.

 

Suggestion: a take-away flyer with all the bullet points so that people aren’t madly transcribing every word, missing the bullet points, that are the ‘take-away’. Just sayin…

 

Re-connecting with on-line friends, and connecting with new people is always a great time. This conference did not disappoint in that regard. Hell, we could all meet in a subway or in a Subway and have a good time.

 

And/But/However there ARE a few ‘things’ that I found interesting (code for ‘still considering’): 

 

I sensed a shift in who BlogHer has identified as their audience and, hence, their power base.

 

 

It’s not all about Mommy Bloggers anymore.

 

Ohhhhh no it’s not.

 

It’s also not about MidLife writers.

 

And it never was (here- at BlogHer, otherwise we ROCK everywhere) but that’s okay ’cause we pick-up the tabs and tip well. People love us.

 

The attendees were much more diverse- in gender and race and sexual orientation and point-of-view- which brings me to my next point… Voices.

 

The ‘Voices’ that were chosen to speak on the stage sorta bummed me out.

 

Wow. Talk about people that have had a few shit pancakes thrown at them.

 

But those are the ‘pieces’ that ‘won’ the opportunity to present, which means, BlogHer is becoming a platform for, not just social awareness, but CHANGE. And not just CHANGE but sorta in-your-face CHANGE, but not really YOUR face, more like that weird neighbor’s face that never peeks from behind the drapes, because we all clapped, we wouldn’t dare not clap, because we’re in this together, except we’re not, if the pieces presented are all about the worst of Humanity, with nary a lighter, well written (of course) piece.

 

Now, let us assume that BlogHer is, in it’s essence, a commerce driven organization.

 

 

As such, they will be looking for ‘identifiers’, or ‘trends (if you will) that they can promote directly or indirectly.

 

This would lead me to believe that the ‘sponsors’ would be vetted/chosen/courted to fit with the tone of the conference, that the Expo sponsors, would know HOW to work with bloggers.

Sadly…

 

 

“Hi. Your product looks interesting. How do you see yourself working with Bloggers to promote it?”

“We’re sorta in the experimental stage. We really don’t know what we want, but if you want to buy one…”

 

cricketscricketscrickets

 

 

“Hello! This looks serious! How can I help you increase your sales- get your word out?’

“You can sign-up for a free five minute analysis of your finances, and here, we have funny hats and will take your picture!”

 

Oh boy.

 

 

“Hi there!”

“Do you Blog?”

“That’s the rumor.”

“Maybe you could write about us.”

“Do you have a sample or a sample program?”

“Here’s our flyer. We just want you to write about us.”

“And that’s working?”

 

Not so much.

 

 

“Hi there! I love your product. My readers are your demographic! How can I help you?”

“We’re selling ad space.”

 

Aren’t we all. 

 

Postscript: Seriously, I had a wonderful time. It did my heart good to re-connect, and connect, with so many wonderfully talented and strong women. I’m looking at you Estelle.

 

 




  • Estelle Erasmus - Cheryl,
    I’m reading your post going uh huh, uh huh and then I see my name. Well, you my lady made my day!! Can’t wait to speak again…soon! xoxoxoReplyCancel

  • Quirky Chrissy - Sigh. You’re not wrong. <3

    Glad you still had fun, though (I did too!).ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Connecting and re-connecting is important, but we’re really all there to build our brands- right? The sponsors need to figure out what to do with us. *sigh*ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - Oh Cheryl, how I love you! Spot on sister. It was such a pleasure spending time with you and I wish I could have kept my eyes open long enough to talk to you more (see: well stocked open bar) because there is so much I want to talk to you about. BlogHer was a good time, a big party, but it has become a corporate, activist, commercial Blogging For Dollars extravaganza. If you need me, I’ll be at Erma at a corner table kvetching about joke writing with nary a swag bag in sight. xoReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I so enjoyed our time together. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy your writing… and you. And yes- we have so much more to talk about. A trip to NOLA? Our own conference? We could rule the world if we put our two gorgeous heads together! HA!ReplyCancel

  • Chloe - This has been the same problem since I first attended in 2010. Companies throw a bunch of money at BlogHer, walk home with nothing to show for it, and that’s the end. Last year companies out and out acted like they were doing bloggers a big favor by being there so we could but their stuff, and they seemed offended when people didn’t.

    I don’t know where the disconnect is, but it is huge.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - If ‘sponsors’ aren’t understanding what this conference is for, then someone isn’t coaching them. If I was responsible for gathering sponsors for a blogging conference, the first thing I’d do is explain to them what Blogging is, and then show them how bloggers can increase their exposure. THEN I’d suggest they create a new paradigm which was focused on corralling bloggers to assist in the company’s mission (which is either sales or exposure). THEN I’d coach the people representing these products/services to approach the bloggers and ALREADY know how they are willing to work with them: have a sample program, have some kind of reciprocity for exposure, the purchasing of AD space, etc. Maybe even a program for product ambassadors. But so many were selling their product to us. Why was the Animal Protective League there? Yes the puppies were cute and many bloggers are animal activists, but how, exactly, was their presence supposed to assist a blogger’s web presence OR the APL? Any animal rights blogger is already aware of their organization. Fact: they were looking for people to adopt the animals. There. At the conference. Or be so inspired that we would write about animal protection as soon as we got home? I just don’t get it. Though I DO get that they helped foot the bill. Ya know what someone needs to do? A bunch of Bloggers need to have a conference with Companies. Or connect with the marketing people and explain to them how bloggers can make them a fortune. Madison Ave. just doesn’t know how to utilize us yet. Baby steps I guess.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - Glad you had fun, networked, loved my backyard of NYC and met some new friends, too. Having a great roommate always helps too.

    I’ve redirected my focus so I’m sorry I couldn’t meet up with you this year. I would have loved to repeat our “love affair” from the Bloomers party at BlogHer ’13. You’re a hoot to hang out with!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - That was a GREAT party- and those sponsors knew what they were doing. I know several bloggers that got ambassador deals from that party. My only regret is that we didn’t get to hug each other again! so OOOOO here!ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - I get the same message from other bloggers about how commercial and yet how unprofessional BlogHer is!
    Okay, I did not expect the analysis for the Voices!! What went on there?ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Just all sad/angry selections. People’s experiences with the worst of Humanity. Not a single humorous note. And some of the winning written pieces weren’t even that well written, but boy were they shocking. I kept asking myself if some of it was actually truthful or amped-up for effect. At one point I said to the lades at my table,”That can’t be true. No one would do that? People can be awful but… really?”

      I started wondering if ‘truth’ isn’t enough anymore, especially if you can’t string a sentence together. Then, maybe, you need to add shock value. It will win you awards. Oh boy….ReplyCancel

      • Roshni - I know what you mean! There are many posts I read about shocking things and I wonder whether it could possibly be true!ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - Okay- some of it, but the majority??? I think not. Wow.ReplyCancel

      • Cindy | The Reedster Speaks - Are you suggesting some of the authors were lying? That’s pretty bold.ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - No. Not ‘lying’ but maybe taking dramatic license? For me- there was one written piece in particular that I just thought was wayyyy over the top. Bordering on exaggeration. But very dramatic. So there’s that.ReplyCancel

          • Erica M - This is an awful, incoherent post, and you seem to be an awful, incoherent writer. To call the legitimate experience of the VOTY readers “a shit pancake” was completely out of line. You and the commenters agreeing with you should be ashamed for diminishing the honorees’ accomplishments.

          • Cheryl - Why Thank You. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski - I wish I could have gone just for the fun of being in NYC and connecting with other midlifers and beyond. Loved your wrap up. Good to know when considering for next time.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Us MidLifer’s had a party! What fun- hope you can join in next time!ReplyCancel

  • Diane - I’m a ‘glass-half-full’ person. I recognize that there is ugliness and sadness in the world, but why wade through it? I would have loved to meet and connect with everyone but the tone would definitely have bummed me out. Thank you for the summary. It will make next year’s decisions easier! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - And mine- unless I ‘Win’ then all bets are off. HahahaaaReplyCancel

  • Estelle Sobel Erasmus - OMG. Cheryl Nicholl I read my name in your fabulous post and literally gasped and put my hand to my heart. XOXOXOReplyCancel

  • Anita Irlen - Thanks for this recap. I wasn’t there and have never been to Blogher But I’ve been to other conferences like this and somehow they mostly manage to disappoint me. I did meet some very nice people, you, at the Midlife dinner though. Those people in those Expos though… Thanks, AnitaReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It was wonderful to meet you too! That dinner was the best of the conference.ReplyCancel

  • Kitten Holiday - You’re saying the breakout sessions are improving over previous years? That’s depressing. Why do people waste their money?ReplyCancel

  • Doreen McGettigan - I have always wanted to attend Blog her but kept reading it wasn’t mid life friendly. I’m glad we have BAM…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - And I’m finally attending BAM! YEA!!! see you there!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Christine Stoian - Nice wrap up. I agree about the expo!! I didn’t do the conference so I can’t speak to that, but I have noticed a shift as well.ReplyCancel

  • Sacha Blessed - I hear you I just started blogging and Im starting to feel like a sales person. ..lol but im setting my boundariesReplyCancel

  • Tammy - I have a bad taste in my mouth for BlogHer. Maybe I attend too many real and professional conferences that when they are run with such disregard to their audience I just don’t have time for them. Last years conference was sloppy at best and offered nothing by way of sponsorship contacts. If I hadn’t met some pretty wonderful people there, it would have been a complete waste of time. I love that it offers a place to connect with our virtual friends, BUT it is a place of business and business should be taken seriously. Hard to build a brand and connect with the right people when the highlight of the day is a Kardashian selling hair products. Yeah … no thank you. I vote we send you in before the next BlogHer to whip those sponsors into shape. What a waste of an opportunity for them … and us!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - As always- you said it better then I did. I guess you’re a pro? hahahaaaReplyCancel

    • Stacie - I don’t understand your comment at all. I spent 30+ years attending “real” conferences with my PhD in biology, getting drugs approved to cure cancer (I am also a 3 time cancer survivor). It sounds like BlogHer is all about making money for you (sponsorship contacts). That’s fine but to me, BlogHer is about empowering women and enabling voices that might not be otherwise heard. I think they excelled at that this year. You have plenty of venues to help you make money without trashing this one.ReplyCancel

      • Cheryl - Well hello! Allow me to respond by accusation: 1) having a PhD does not make you better qualified to weigh the merits of any conference, 2) I don’t need more money, 3) not many support the voice of the disenfranchised as personally I do, and, 4) I did not ‘trash’ it. But I did expect a response such as yours. Thank you for stopping by. All opinions are freely welcome- and posted.ReplyCancel

        • Stacie - My comment was directed at Tammy and her comment.ReplyCancel

          • Cheryl - Rereading the thread, I don’t see how, but if you say so.

      • Chloe - I am dead certain that the vast majority of women starting a blog in hopes of earning a living with it aren’t ponying up $599 plus hotel and airfare to “get empowered”.

        In the past, Blogher has been marketed to bloggers as a professional women’s conference and the expectation of the bloggers is that they will meet commercial contacts in the Expo Hall with whom they can develop professional contacts that will bring them income.

        If BlogHer is indeed about empowerment and not professional advancement and making commercial connections then I can only say that for this chickie it’s been extremely successful. After attending for five years I’ve finally become empowered enough to realize that I don’t need an over-priced girls’ weekend that culminates in a party where I wear a decorated McDonald’s bag on my head. And for this lesson alone, I am forever grateful.ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - Yes- maybe that’s it. It’s become more about empowerment and less about making professional contacts in the Expo Hall. My question is: Can it be both?ReplyCancel

  • Estelle - I want to add in here: I saw a huge difference in the professionalism of the presenters this year, and was glad to be among them. I think SheKnows is really making an impact and the direction is much better. I think the Expo is what the Expo is–lots of brands still figuring out how to work with bloggers.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I too thought the ‘Presenter’s’ were more prepared. The sessions I attended were worthwhile. The Expo?ReplyCancel

  • The Feminist Feline - This was my first BlogHer and as a 20-something recent college grad who isn’t even thinking about having kids anytime soon, I was afraid my presence was going to be crushed by the mommy bloggers. That was not the case at all. I was pleasantly surprised by BlogHer and SheKnows’ unabashed feminism (maybe that’s a product of the merge?). I agree that the expo hall was a bit of a disappointment. It was fun and all but very few of them were interested in forming real partnerships. I swear to god if one more sponsor asked me to take a stupid picture and tweet it with their hashtag to enter a contest I was never going to win, I was going to knock their fancy display over. (I’m looking at you, Best Buy)ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Wow, i never had an expo experience like that. Just awful. I don’t know, I might be over BlogHer. I was relieved to cancel this year.ReplyCancel

  • Carolann - I was about to go this year and had to cancel last minute. I had a friend attend and she is in her 50s and felt totally out of place. I’ll have to rethink next year for sure!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - It’s fine for MidLife just not full of MidLife. But that’s what makes the World go round.ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - That isn’t something I would spend my money, but then I’m a tightwad. At least you had fun. Nothing like a well stocked bar.ReplyCancel

  • Janie Emaus - I missed meeting up with everyone again. But not sure BlogHer is the place to do it.ReplyCancel

  • Judy Krell Freedman - Good to meet you. Like this post and agree with many of your comments.ReplyCancel

  • Aliza Worthington - I’m not inclined to leave a comment outlining the reasons I disagree with you. It’s clear that no matter how respectfully I do it, my comment (because it would take issue with what you wrote) would be met with sarcasm and dismissiveness. I can only assume you won’t be at BlogHer 2016. I hope you find other conferences that meet your needs more fully.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Well, I don’t know? I might attend BlogHer16.ReplyCancel

  • Aliza Worthington - Interesting. My comment, which was awaiting moderation, seems to have disappeared. In case it got swallowed, here it is again:

    I’m not inclined to leave a comment outlining the reasons I disagree with you. It’s clear that no matter how respectfully I do it, my comment (because it would take issue with what you wrote) would be met with sarcasm and dismissiveness. I can only assume you won’t be at BlogHer 2016. I hope you find other conferences that meet your needs more fully.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - As you can see, it did not get ‘swallowed’.ReplyCancel

  • Alyson Rennick Herzig - I love you, and miss you. I am only reading your wrap up – ok maybe a few more but I want the truth, not the fluff and I know how you roll.ReplyCancel

  • Abby - I wish I was there! Sounds like an intriguing thing to do. Missing out on this conference is pretty much the only downside of living in Europe:) Oh, and I see you made some friends Cheryl (see the comment before mine):)ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes- I’m a virtual friend-making machine! *wink* Hope to meet you someday. In the meantime we have technology!ReplyCancel

  • Wardrobe Oxygen - After 10 years blogging and… like 7 years with BlogHer this was my first time to the conference. I’m a 40 year old fashion blogger and while I met some amazing inspirational people I didn’t really feel as though the conference was for me or that I got much out of it. Out of the four sessions I attended, one was really interesting but not helpful for my blog (nor accomplished the description on the agenda), one was completely and utterly amazingly helpful and entertaining, and the other two I “voted with my feet” and walked out. The Expo had very few brands I even stopped to talk to because they just didn’t fit with my blog and like you mentioned, many I did talk to had no idea what to do with me. There were plenty of inspirational speakers and such, but I came to the conference as a blogger and my blog needs weren’t met. The only benefits I gained were from one session, meeting with the SheKnows team, and the Associates session at the Amazon suite. I’m curious to see what happens with BlogHer/SheKnows in the upcoming year and how it will affect future conference.

    As an aside, I must say I love that a brand on Twitter put you and I in their same ??? tweet because it’s how I came across your blog. Already a fan, wish I met you at the conference!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I think we’re saying much of the same thing: “I came to the conference as a blogger and my blog needs weren’t met”. (I wish I had just said THAT). I also joined a few sessions that I found met the mark, others…. As for the brand on Twitter? What am I missing??? I must go look…. and Thank You for stopping by. I appreciate your perspective- reasonable, adult-like, w/o being overcome from the vapors.ReplyCancel

  • SunbonnetSmart - Whoa, Cheryl! What fun to connect with you on-line after being lucky enough to find you, and sit with you, at BlogHer ’15 where we shared our session with Gwyneth Paltrow. I have to say you are a woman after my own heart. Love your blog, this post and all the pizazz. Keep things lively, I say. 🙂 You are a master at camaraderie and I am so glad to have finally met you. Looking forward to seeing you again. You left me wanting more. Much Love, Fondly, RobinReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh Robin! So happy to have met YOU! And Thank God you had my back (purse) when I got ‘sidetracked’.You are a LOVELY woman with a great blog. I’ve been following you for quite sometime. As for this post- you notice I didn’t even mention Gwyneth. I think we covered THAT between us. Hahahaaaa. Again- so happy to have met you!ReplyCancel

  • Arnebya - I’m sorry you don’t feel the conference is midlife friendly (was it ever geared solely to mom bloggers? I never considered it so). For me, it’s always been about what you, individually, seek from it. What do you hope to gain? If you go for that reason, and its met, good. If you go for that reason and it’s not, then don’t go again, give it another shot to see if it was a fluke, or reconcile it however you like. But to suggest that VOTY readers “won” the ability to read or present is just low and dismissive of their talents(suggesting that some were not well written when your post needs editing is curious. Suggesting some took dramatic license just reads as life-acquired cynicism. And, there WAS a humor reader. Just because you didn’t laugh doesn’t mean it wasn’t in that category). I’m pretty sure each of the honorees this year feels as if he/she deserved to be there (as I did when I read in 2012, or when I held the honor another two years after). I also dislike the insinuation that the conference this year was geared toward a trend. Because Black lives mattering certainly is that, right? There’s no way so much emphasis would have been put on diversity at the conference if it wasn’t in the news, yeah? Empowering a younger generation is just what’s hot right now, huh? I’m glad you enjoyed the parts you did. I’m sorry you were dismayed at others. But, surely, you could have presented your dislike in a less accusation-laden, dismissive way (and no, I’m not one of those “play nice on the Internet; you’re such a meanie” women. I’m just genuinely trying to understand the purpose of your post, because it reads more like unhappiness within than with a conference you chose to attend).ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - That’s a mouthful. Do you need more room?ReplyCancel

      • Arnebya - As someone who’s interested in others’ experiences (and the reasons behind them) I was going for discussion. Maybe you needed less room.ReplyCancel

        • Cheryl - You may be ‘interested’ but a little judgy, but okay, here you go- It wasn’t NOT MidLife friendly, just didn’t seem to use our resources, and yes, it was, at one time very Mommy Blogger orientated, because that’s where the numbers were. I agree that any experience has it’s merits and this did as well, but I’m definitely not seeking advice about how to reconcile anything- certainly not a conference that I have experience attending and, at which, I have a professional agenda. And of course the Voty readers ‘won’ (the opportunity to read). What else would you call it? It wasn’t a lottery. As for me being ‘dismissive’ of their talents? You missed my point- entirely. It was the coordinated ‘tone’ of the chosen pieces that sparked my critique. Not a lot of variety- and a few editing mistakes (I guess that’s going around). On other points, I can’t find a single mention (by me) that Black lives don’t matter??? Or that younger (newer) bloggers are only present because they are in the ‘news’?? Stating that the attendees were more ‘diverse’ was a fact, not a judgement (I guess even you can jump to conclusions). Now- as to YOUR ‘tone: combative, preachy, closed off, a bit defensive. Shall I go on? And, ps: I couldn’t care less if you’re sad or happy for me. Who asked?ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - I didn’t make it either. I went to the BAM conference in March. It’s nice to just get to meet the people that we spend so much time for. Hell, we could rent out a hotel and do that a whole lot cheaper!ReplyCancel

  • Elaine Ambrose - Thank you for this excellent review! I was a VOTY winner for my humorous post but I wasn’t selected to read. I also felt the depression in the air after the few, good but heavy posts were read. I won’t attend another BlogHer. I hope to see you at Erma!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - That’s a good way to describe it- ‘heavy’. Too heavy for me. Anyways, Erma’s is looking better and better. Would LOVE to meet you!!ReplyCancel

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