[Originally posted on my BlogHer page 9/10/12]
I was invited to volunteer at BlogHer 2012 this summer. BlogHer 12 was held at the Hilton by Rockefeller Plaza. It is a beautiful hotel. I can't really say about the rooms. I had put in my requests to volunteer the minute they were announced, but I wasn't chosen. At last minute they needed volunteers, so I got to go. I was given a full conference pass for my time. Yay for me. I was able to enjoy the conference for a little bit. I didn't get to do much but volunteer and see the exhibitors. I was only able to listen to the panels that I worked.
Thursday I had volunteer training and picked up my conference badge. I also go to visit the exhibitor booths. It was too late for any panels, so I quickly went around the booths. There was a lot of food and swag. I stopped at some very interesting booths. There was a booth that called (started with J). They are a net software to assist with blogging. It is a browser plug in that helps you find links to items you are discussing in your blog post. There was also a booth on parental control. They are looking for bloggers to write about it and they would pay up to $200 for the post. I decided to mark up my program for panels I wanted to see and ones that I worked while I had a bit of time. The rest of the evening, parties were held. Since I am a bit socially awkward, I decided to go home.
Friday, by time I got off work, there were only parties so I didn't go. I wish I were more social. I could blame my mom but really I can't.
Saturday is the day I could spend the whole time. There. I woke up early and left to attend a panel I was most interested in; Telling Stories with Pictures: Incorporating Graphics, Cartoons, and Iconography. Due to NYC transit I missed the panel. So I just explored the conference a bit. I found other rooms with swag.
It was finally time for my first panel that I worked; Blogging into Midlife: The Tension Between the Online Spotlight and Offline Invisibility. I was a mic wrangler. You the girl that brings the mic to people who have questions to ask. Yep that was me. This panel was all about your identity as a blogger as you get older. Society doesn't make it easier for older people to be taken seriously or they don't have anything today. It is a bit unfair. I see it all the time in corporate America. Older people do not get hired as quickly as younger people. It's not fair, but it is what it is. This panel was talking about how they can combat this. Some people suggested not to discuss age related topics. That is totally unfair. Bloggers should be able to discuss whatever they want to. Readership should not die because of age. Blogs will and should gain readership based on people's interest. Questions like, "I'm a mommy blogger. what do I blog about now that my kids have left the coop?" we're abundant. I say blog from the heart. Blog of what interests you. If you try to be someone else, readers will know and you will lose readers. Just because you are old doesn't mean you don't have anything to say. Other questions like "I take offense of the word 'old' in advertising." There was a dislike to an exhibitor's booth that had a slogan saying something like "Are you scared to get old?" (I don't really recall the correct verbiage.) the women in the audience felt that it makes getting older a bad thing. Some people throughout that we should take back the word and own it. More like take it as a compliment so it doesn't affect you negatively. This topic can go on for days. What I took from the panel are as follows:
* we are all getting older, but doesn't mean we have nothing to say
* older women rock and have tons of wisdom to share
* we need, as a society, to not discount what an older person has to say.
After this panel was lunch, so I left and went to Chipotle even though BlogHer provided lunch. I was in the mood for a mexican meal. After lunch, I went back to the exhibitors areas. I managed to pick up my BlogHer swag bag. There I met the a lovely woman whose twitter handle is @Uncommonchick. She was the first person to talk to me. We had a nice conversation. We exchanged information. I've tried prior to talk to people and they were a bit snobbish. Thank you @uncommonchick for making my day a lot better. We parted ways but I left with a more pleasant look. I then went to go to the main exhibitor hall and bumped into 2 girls I know outside of BlogHer. I didn't even know they were bloggers. Funny what you find out about people. I hung out with them for a while going thru the hall and to lunch. Katie Couric panel was going on, but I didn't really have a fascination to see her. I'd rather Martha Stewart, but I had to work. My friends and I parted ways because I had to go mic wrangle another panel.
My next panel was called #Blog2012: A Conversation. This panel was just a panel based on a twitter chat of bloggers. In this panel all topics were sort of discussed:
- why blog?
- do I have to have a niche?
- should I try to monetize?
- how do I get readers?
This panel was more informative. The panelist were a bit warmer. I liked them immediately. They didn't preach as if they were experts. They took a more relaxed conversation method. I got a lot more out of this panel. I'm thankful I was able to work it and listen to it. I follow 2 of the panelist on my twitter because I liked them so much. Thank you @schmutzie and @neilochka for a brilliant panel.
After this panel, I made my way to the closing Keynote. I was a mic wrangler for this too. We got front row seats for the event. When I got there, I bumped into my 2 friends again. We spoke for a little before I went to find my place. When I found who was in charge we were told that we didn't need to mic wrangle because there wasn't any Q&A after the keynote. So another mic wrangler mic wrangler and myself sat and listened to the speeches. Towards the near end, we were told we needed to mic wrangle. We were missing one girl so one of the tech ladies had to wrangle with us. We managed to get thru the rest of the speech fine. Learned a lot listening. They also revealed the location of BlogHer13 and couple other conferences they put on.
After keynote, I went back intoning exhibitor room to see if they were unloading a lot of stuff. It was a bit too late. So at that point I left. For what little I was able to see the conference was okay. I can't really make it sound more enjoyable. Everyone gets something out of the conference. I worked the conference more than I was able to participate in it. Those who I've met except the ones mentioned here, we're not all that friendly or receptive. I wish I had gotten more out of the conference. I'm an amateur at blogging even though I've been blogging since 2006. I wanted to learn a lot more. Maybe next time BlogHer is in NYC, I will go and not volunteer. Maybe I'll feel different that way. Until the next BlogHer.