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BlogHer ’09 Recap & My Thoughts On The PR Blackout

I've been mulling for days how to write these posts. Instead, I've opted to write them into one big, long post, because they truly intertwine into one another.

Let's start off by saying that this was my first BlogHer.  Yes, I was a BlogHer virgin.  Okay, enough with the snickering.  To be honest, I had no  idea what to expect at all.  When my cab didn't show up to get me (another post will be written about this!), I thought that was the beginning of the end for this trip.  However, I learned more than I thought and made some great connections.

Also, I do need to say, my blog is my business.  As you all know, I make money from my blogs.  I get products to review for my blogs.  And last I checked, that does not make me a sellout.  The fact that there was a fight in the sponsored vs unsponsored session about this makes me sad.  There are no rules to blogging, and I don't get why people have to impose their blogging edicts on me.  Seriously.

That all being said, since my blogs are my business, I try and act appropriately.  I would never elbow a baby in the head to get free stuff or try and blackmail a company's spokesman.  That is just, well, bad.  The part that scares me is that this kind of behavior scares companies away from us.  It does.  You want advertisers to send us products, quit acting like the children we left at home.  Seriously.

I know you are all cringing, but yes that behavior did happen. However, the flip side of this is that there were awesome, caring people there too.  When a couple of my friends saw that I didn't have any swag on Thursday night, they gave me one of their bags from the 704 party and one from the People's Party.  Seriously.  Now, how is that for the people who think swag should be done away with?  For as much bad behavior there was, the good always shined through.  It really did. (I'll admit it — I am swag whore but my roommate and I shared and traded lots of our swag).

I read some posts stating that they didn't get anything out of this conference.  I say to those people, did you go into this with a goal or purpose?  If you didn't, you just wasted your time.  Personally, my goal was to meet bloggers and PR people I hadn't before.  You can't go to a conference without a plan.  (Again, this falls into the business end of things).  Maybe since I have been to several conferences, I know this and others still need to learn it.  Ticking off PR people by holding them hostage doesn't help either (the crocs incident).  I tried to be friendly and cordial (since I need these contacts) is always a must.  Also, my drinking was kept to a minimum.  You never know who is watching or who is going to post a really bad picture of you.

With all that being said, the PR blackout was discussed often.  I personally think it is dumb.  I mean I have no other words for it.  Since my blogs are my business, I've had to take control of them.  That requires me to say “NO”.  I don't need permission from another blogger to do so.  If you go check Lisa Reviews (where I post all my reviews), I haven't posted there in a week, because I choose to take a break.  I didn't announce it.  I didn't ask other bloggers to join me.  I just took a break, since I was going to a conference.  When I start getting burned out, I do the same thing.  I just take the break I need.  I don't understand why other bloggers can't do that.  Then again, I guess I consider my blogs a business and treat it as such.  If you were working in an office, would you and your coworkers decide to boycott the office for a week because you were feeling burned out?  That's how I feel this is.  (Feel free to disagree)

Back to BlogHer.  I missed the keynotes, so I have nothing I can say about those.  However, I did attend quite a few sessions.  My thoughts are a bit mixed on them.  I guess my biggest thing is that I hate when I know more or as much as the speakers.  I did speak up in one session that was giving bad advice and was shot down, so I kept my mouth shut after that.  I then had to laugh when the next day I was in a session whose speaker was a true expert (Vanessa Fox), and she pretty much said what I did.  Whatever.  I would love to see “real” experts on panels not fellow bloggers.  I heard several people say the same thing especially after having session contradict themselves.  The excuse I heard was that they couldn't afford real experts.  Well, if that's the case, don't have the sessions, because bad information was being given out.  (Then again, this happens at every conference I've been to, so the experts don't know everything either).

I personally loved the Expo Hall. I loved the swag.  I loved talking the PR people (shout out to the Tide booth since I talked to them for like an hour).

Food.  This could be slightly improved upon.  Since I am lactose intolerant, there was really nothing I could find to eat besides fruit (not all that filling) for breakfast.  Neither day could I find a plain bagel or anything that wouldn't make me sick.  Also, I would pay extra if they would include some sort of dinner.  The best dinner I ate (besides the Team Mom dinner I was invited to Thursday night) was the Cheeseburger Party!  That consisted of a cheeseburger and a small fry.  I heard this years food was an improvement from last year, so I hope they continue to do well on this front. I also couldn't find a plain old boring bottle of water either.

The Parties.  If you have rules, seriously, stick to them.  If you tell people on your RSVP you are giving them swag, don't be surprised when they don't, they get it they are ticked.  If you have a list, stick to it.  Especially when people were seen walking away with more than one bag (or being told they were out but “special” people were still getting them).  Personally, I wasn't expecting anything, so it didn't bother me all that much.  If you have an event at this conference, expect babies to come with their moms (I think everyone heard about that snafu).  I'll be honest, the 704 party free for all sucked.  I felt like I was at a concert for as swished as we were all getting.  In their defense, I don't think they had any idea how crazy that was going to be.

Wow.  This post actually turned into a book.  What can I say?  Would I do Blogher '10?  If I can find a sponsor, heck yeah!  There is no way I could afford this without that, but if I line one up, I am so there next year.  For all the bad things, there were 10 times as many good things.  There were so many bloggers that I wanted to meet and didn't.  There were bloggers I was too afraid to approached and now I read their posts and wish I did.  Was it worth it all?  In one word, Yes!  (Pictures will be forthcoming as soon as I find the cord that gets the pictures off my camera.  It's here somewhere.  I think.)

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4 thoughts on “BlogHer ’09 Recap & My Thoughts On The PR Blackout

  1. Here's hoping you will be in NYC with me next year for BlogHer10. I've got my ticket and the hubby is going with me. (Finally a honeymoon!)

  2. I does sound like you had fun and maybe learned a few things. I wanted to go myself this year, but my funds would not allow it. Maybe next year or the year after that I'll get there.

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