It has been a few days since BlogHer ended and this review is later than most. I needed a few days to decompress and gather my thoughts from such an eye-opening experience. This may not sit too well with some, but here is what I observed at BlogHer ’12:
Brands can learn from this experience too. For example, think before you donate a heavy bottle of a household cleaning product to over 5000 women, many whom are traveling by plane. With TSA rules about suitcase weight, conference attendees may have to decide which swag to lug home. Gifts for kids and self will typically trump cleaning supplies. Therefore you may have donated almost 5000 bottles of your product to the hotel. Next time go with a coupon.
Send a brand representative who works with bloggers rather than a street team to a blogging event. There are many of us who are there to form a mutually beneficial working relationship. We are the ones who do not do a scavenger hunt around the city for the chance to win something. We do appreciate the swag, but it is not our sole purpose for attending the conference. We genuinely want to meet you, not your street team.
The bloggers at the private parties are not the only bloggers of value in attendance at the conference. Please take some time to get to know others, for they may have something fabulous to offer.
There are two types of bloggers. (Okay, I am generalizing here but go with me on this.) One wants parties, sparkles, unicorns and free swag. The other wants to form brand relationships, attend some sessions and spend time with friends in a more relaxed setting. Neither one is right or wrong, as long as both can coexist peacefully.
And therein lies the recurring theme that has come out of this year’s BlogHer. There is a growing divide in the blogging community. You might assume this divide is among the exclusive bloggers and the newer bloggers but that is not the case. The divide is among those who act professionally and those few who lack decorum. This is not to say that sparkles and parties are not incredibly fun, but rather that the few who care only about those things are inherently damaging the reputation of the whole. Collectively we have so much to offer; unique perspectives, authentic views, unprecedented reach and fabulous ideas. If we want brands and businesses to continue to view us as a game changer, we need to maintain ethics and a little integrity.
Speaking of new bloggers, please consider waiting until next year’s conference if you have only had your domain name for three weeks and are in attendance just for free stuff. Can you not use the money you spent on a ticket to buy the darn swag yourself? Guess what? You may have very real intentions of rocking the blogosphere but for now you fall into the group of those who are giving the good guys a bad name.
Despite any divides amongst our own, we are at a tipping point in the blogosphere. It can not be more evident that our impact is a powerful one than when the sitting president of the United States (and candidate for future president) addresses conference attendees. Perhaps this is all the more reason why we owe it to ourselves and to one another to behave like respect-worthy professionals and represent this business we all love with decorum and dignity.
Those who were there to learn and grow and meet new people did so with grace and kindness. I got to meet bloggers in real life whom I adore online, and those experiences made the entire trip worthwhile. I met women with whom I will be friends for years to come and met some fabulous brand representatives who were in attendance for all the right reasons. The good outweighed the not-so-good by a long shot.
Bloggers truly understand the power we have to create social good and make change happen. That was music to this social good blogger’s ears. The recurring theme of social action was all over (and possibly the best part) of BlogHer.
There’s my two cents, for whatever it is worth. I say this not to be insensitive or derogatory, but to point out that we should not waste this incredible opportunity we have to change the game entirely. Let’s just say that after this year’s conference, BlogHer ’13 is going to be an interesting one!