Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Things I Learned at BlogHer '10: A Re-Cap, of Sorts

Last weekend, 2,500 bloggers gathered at the Hilton New York for BlogHer '10. I was one of them. As a food blogger, I knew I'd be in the minority at this general conference, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. Would the breakout sessions be useful for what I do? Would I be the only non-mommy blogger there? Would I do a better job taking photos and documenting this experience than I did at BlogHer Food?

In short: Yes, No, and No.

In general, I tend to find the conference experience somewhat overwhelming - and BlogHer '10 was no exception. So much to see, so much to do, so many people to meet; it all becomes a blur for me at some point. Hence, my continued inability to capture the experience in photos! I will, however, try to capture a bit of it in words.

Below, the highlights ...

The Top 6 Things I Learned at BlogHer '10:
  • Community Counts. Meeting and connecting with other bloggers continues to be the highlight of any conference experience for me. I met Lindsey who writes about interior design; and Erica who writes about modern day manners. I met women who write about writing; and women who write about their daily lives. I met still others who blog for corporations, or private industry, and, naturally, those who write about their children. I met women who tell their stories in words, and those who speak through pictures. And most of all, I met my friend Mo Diva, whom I've been meaning to meet for ages now! We had a blast together! Yay!
  • A Significant Number of Women Who Blog Are Named: Jen. Like this Jen, and that Jen, and even this Jenn. I enjoyed meeting them all!
  • Writer's Block is Writer's Block, Across the Board. It doesn't matter if you're a food blogger or a free-verse poet, writer's block sucks. Shaking out of it can be difficult, and the session on Writing Inspiration: Stoking Your Creativity offered several good and useful suggestions for doing just that. Hit up the link for the live-blog transcript of the discussion.
  • I Need a Better Camera ... And to Pay Attention While Taking My Pictures! And I'm working on that. I attended a really great photography session on day one, and have decided to bite the bullet and buy a DSLR and learn how to use it ... despite the fact that they terrify me. I've also learned that I need to do a better job of thinking before I snap the shot. It sounds silly when I read that back, but nevertheless, its true.
  • Its OK to Love Your Small Blog. Blogging is work; hard work, sometimes. The bigger the blog, the more the work. I'm a small fish in a HUGE pond and I'm OK with that. Why? Because I sat in a room with hundreds of others like me and connected to what they said. You can read about it here.
  • Never Underestimate the Power of Advil and a Really Comfy Pair of Flip-Flops. Dude, by the end of day one I was sore all over. Every part of me hurt. Hurt! The fact that I was laden with bags and bags of swag may have had something to do with it, or it could just be my age. I walked billions of miles in cute silver sandals on day one. Day two? Soft cushy flip-flops and Advil every 4 hours. Really. I mean it. I still haven't recovered.
Of course there's more, much more, but the hour grows late and this post grows long. I went, I saw, I learned, I connected ... and that's what conferences are all about - for me, at least. If you're reading this and you're a food blogger, I strongly suggest you make plans to attend BlogHer Food '10. I'll be there, and I can tell you from experience - its not to be missed. You might also choose to attend the Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. And, if you're lucky enough to have the time and the resources, by all means do both.

If you're reading this and you're a blogger of a different feather, make plans for BlogHer '11 in San Diego ... oh, and don't wear heels!



Erica said...

Hi! It was so great meeting you as well. I didn't realize you were at the Loving Your Small Blog panel as well. Would have said "hi!" again.

Glad we met.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Hi Erica! So great to meet you too! I also didn't realize you were in the small blog room ... bummer! Let's make a plan to reconnect here in the city at some point. :)

Mo Diva said...

i loved your recap!
And your 2nd bullet cracked me up! there was def an abundance of Jens! and Jenns! LOL
I so would love to go to BlogHer food...i just dont have the fundage. My broken heart. Im looking into means for BlogHer 11 though... becuase i have never been to cali and figured WHY NOT. Oh and Jenn said I'd better...or else! LOL
i had a blast with you and yes my backis still sore!
damn swag!

Dana McCauley said...

Sounds like a worthwhile experience - but you didn't mention if there were cocktails? Hope so.

Love your comment about being content with being a small blog. After all, it should, first and foremost be about the blogger IMHO. And, as a burned out blogger myself, I know that pushing yourself to post ruins the fun.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Mo - I laughed when I wrote that about the Jen's too. Just so funny that I met them all in one day! I wish you could do BlogHer Food, no sponsors left for that?

At this point, I don't think I'll do San Diego, but I suppose that could change. I feel like the food conf. is where its at for me. We'll see. Meanwhile, I hope to see you soon!

Dana - would you believe it if I told you no ... no cocktails for me this time. I was so burnt out by the end of the day I went home. Which is perhaps, an unfortunate consequence of attending a conference in your own city ... its too easy to go home! LOL

I feel pretty refreshed by the idea of accepting and loving my small blog. And, it was nice to connect with so many that feel the same way. I've had a lazy summer and I've enjoyed every minute of it too. That wouldn't be possible if I was running a mega blog and more and more I'm kind of digging that fact. There's room for all sorts of fish in this pond and I don't need to be a whale! LOL

Molly said...

It must have been really fun to be able to see the faces behind the blogs!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Molly - it is! That's the best part by far! :)

Mrs. Potts said...

Hi again! Love your recap - and completely agree with so many of your points. Working on my own post - will get it done at some point!

Carla and Michael said...

Sounds like you had a blast! Wish I were there. Thanks for the insight.

pixelgal said...

Dear Diva;
You are too hard on yourself. Your pictures are always fine! But by all means buy yourself a new toy and learn the fine art of DSLR. Wonder if they have viewfinders???

Glad you had fun at the blogher conference.


Anonymous said...

Your picture is gorgeous! And, had I known my name was not all that original, I would change it to something like Helon Wheels.

Juliet said...

You mean your name isn't Jen? So funny. Bet it was fun to go, though. :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

Great tips Diva, I am certainly guilty of writers block from time to time, and the pictures are a problem for me too. I hate taking pictures :( but its something i have to do force myself to do.
*kisses* HH

Same Sweet Girl: Memoir of a Southern Belle said...

Oh that's so cool!!! Thanks for the great tips!!!!!! :)

I have definitely noticed a lot of Jen's on here!!!!!! I think I follow about 5 different Jen's!

mysimplefood said...

I would love to attend BlogHer event one of these day! I have not taken the plunge on DSLR yet...still wondering if I should

Wilma said...

Hi Auntie,
So much fun! I must find myself a doggy blog conference. Especially if they will feed me too! Somuch good info, thanks Auntie!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Lindsey - so hard to sum it all up, isn't it? LOL Thanks, and looking forward to your recap as well!

Carla and Michael - hopefully you'll have the chance to catch a conference sometime as well. They're fun and really worthwhile. Glad you enjoyed the post, thanks!

pixelgal - guess what? They DO have viewfinders! And, having trained myself away from them, I found it odd to look through a viewfinder again when I was testing the Nikon!

Coconut Diaries - I hope you know I was kidding there ... I think I'm expected to be funny now and again! LOL

Juliet - nope, I'm not Jen ... at least not today! ;)

HH - I think your pictures are great! So it surprises me to hear that you don't like taking them. You'd never know it from the looks of your blog! xoxoxo

SSG - How funny! You too?!

The Diva on a Diet said...

my simple food - I've been holding off on the DSLR because I'm literally afraid of them. I feel like they might be too much camera for me. But, I like some of the features I saw on the Nikon. Still researching it!

Also, if you have the chance to do any of the conference, jump at it. So rewarding to be with so many fellow bloggers!

Wilma - the food was good! I think you'd really like the whole BlogHer vibe ... maybe next year? :)

Lentil Breakdown said...

Wow, I'm tired just from reading your post! Even my feet are sore, and I'm sitting on my you-know-what.

The Mom Chef said...

Ugh. You hit me between the eyes with the camera summary. I own a camera that we got free with our printer/scanner, so you can imagine how cheap it is and how that correlates to the resulting photos. Unfortunately, right now we can't really afford the bullet it would take to bite in order to buy a new camera so I'll have to leave significant hints to family members. Keep prodding me though (and thanks for your kind words on my blog).

Dana said...

Indeed, who would want to be a whale? Kidding aside, I totally get what you're saying. : )

Tangled Noodle said...

Thanks for the recap and links - it's almost as good as having been there. Of course, it would've been better if I were actually there! 8-)

I wish I could be there for BlogHer Food - have been hearing so much about it. But the best part would be to meet up with you!

Charmian @Christie's Corner said...

Don't be afraid of DSLR cameras. They aren't as hard to work as you think. Plus, food doesn't jump around on you, so once you learn to take a decent still shot, you are on the home stretch.

Fun recap. My husband teaches university and there's always at least 3 Jennifers in each class.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I think this is a good list of lessons. I get overwhelmed very easily, and I would have run away in the other direction if I attended due to the sheer number of people. btw, I also am one of many that suffer from writer's block.

Sherry said...

Sounds like an awesome time! I've been to conferences and met folks that I'd only known online, and it makes a world of difference in how we perceive ourselves and our liveihood. Thanks for sharing your experience!