I wanted to wait before I wrote my BlogHer 2012 recap post to put a little distance between me and the conference. Sometimes my thoughts and opinions can be a little impassioned and I wanted to make sure that I was representing the conference in a fair light and not just in an embellished state of exhaustion.
Let’s start with The Ugly. Professionalism. Some bloggers need to get some. (FYI, I’ve already had to delete and start this paragraph over.) There is a low barrier to entry for blogging, which means anyone can do it. Some people should not, and if they do they should remain in the privacy of their own homes while doing it. In my opinion, they give bloggers a bad reputation. I’m going to leave it at that. I’m sure you can find more information about this in other places around the web.
The Bad. At the opening ceremony, they announced that just over 5,000 people were in attendance at the conference this year. Managing that number of people takes a tremendous amount of planning and effort, and I have to say that they failed. I’ve been to a lot of professional conferences, and this was by far the worst in people management I have ever attended.
I’m not sure when the planning for BlogHer 2012 started, but I truly hope that they did not realize the attendance would be that large and still plan to have it in the venue they chose. The Hilton New York is not a convention center and was in no way prepared to handle the number of people attending this conference. The sessions, which were held in meeting rooms, were overcrowded and I was only able to attend one of my choosing. Additionally, all sessions ended at the same time which created a mass of people trying to enter already congested areas. The first day we came off the escalator into the lunch area and just packed on top of people that were already waiting.
The largest parties were held in an L-shaped room that was too small for the number of people. You were basically crushed into a room with people drinking, dancing, and trying to talk, which was impossible because the music was so freaking loud that you could not even hear yourself think. Last year the parties were held in a ballroom where you could actually get away from the music and sit and talk with your friends.
Which is actually a nice segue for the The Good. By far, the best part of going to a blog conference is seeing the people that you’ve come to love online live in person. I sat in the Serenity Suite and saw one person on one side of the room look up and see an online friend on the other and yell her name, and then they almost ran to each other and just embraced and the love was so strong it still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. No amount of negative experience will ever outweigh that feeling for me.
Me with @buriedwithkids and @RachelVoorhees while they took a break from shaking what their mommas gave them at SparkleCorn. (I can’t believe this is the best photo of us. I’m going to have to talk to my photographer about that.)
And that is just the tip of the friend iceberg. Big, squishy hugs and long talks over meals and just sitting in our room chatting… all of that is just the absolute best that anyone could ask for. Take a good girl’s night out and multiply that times about a million. That’s BlogHer. And that’s why I will be in Chicago next year.
All of the photos are from Elaine. She does a great job of getting photos, and I do a horrible job of getting photos. This is why she has to go with me and be my roommate every year.