Or was it the venue? Or was it the amount of Private Parties? Maybe it was the BlogHer sanctioned parties? Their has been a barrage of ‘What went wrong with BlogHer12’ blog posts that I have refused to read until I could write my own wrap up. Of course the murmurings on Twitter and Facebook were hard to ignore, so I thought I must must must get some of my thoughts out before I attend my second ever Blog Conference. BlogHer and the Conference I am on my way to are completely different beasts, it won’t be like comparing apples to apples – and really it is not my intention to compare them. But, I’m sure when they are both over, somewhere in my subconscious I will make a comparison.
BlogHer offered me some huge learnings, and most of them didn’t happen in the seminars or while watching a panel. One of the things I learnt at BlogHer relates to compassion. I’ve always been obsessed with the notion of compassion and it has only been heightened since moving to New York. I still believe that New York is not the rudest city in the world. Though its inhabitants can clearly be more forthright and bold than people of other North American cities. I’ve even noticed a change in my way of dealing with people now that I live here. We all rush around getting from point A to B, and I’ve seen it countless time, the woman who berates the check out girl who doesn’t check out her order quick enough, the bus driver who looks at me blankly when I say ‘good morning’ as I step on his bus, the businessman who bumps shoulders with the doddering older person as he walks by swiftly – not even attempting a backwards glance and mock apology.
I think it has something to do with living one on top of the other in sky high concrete boxes, moving around on congested roads, busy sidewalks and sometimes stinky subways. To get anywhere, to get anything done, you have to just say what you want, no mincing words.
How does this relate to BlogHer? The same intensity that is always alive in New York City was prevalent in the days that made up BlogHer. Thousands of people packed into conference rooms, around lunch tables and into expo halls over three and half days made for some interesting dynamics to say the least.
BlogHer was a micro community for a few days and each individual had their own agenda. Now, I’m not saying every person there had no sense of compassion, but like all communities, their were people who tipped the delicate balance by being inconsiderate. The blogger who rolled up to a brand’s booth and demanded “so how do I get a free one of your so and so’s” unsmiling and brash. Oblivious to the weary person behind the booth who was on day 2 of standing for 6-8 hours manning a booth, often repeating the same spiel and answering the same questions. A little graciousness, a little compassion and a little awareness of what was going on around that blogger dude or dudette would have been nice. In that instance, he was oblivious to the conversation he had rudely interrupted between myself and the brand rep. The rapport I was trying to build, was gone. I moved on feeling at that very moment embarrassed to be a blogger, and the brand rep was made to feel just that more unsure as to what the hell he was doing here and why he would even want to engage with this community. My best time on the expo floor was when I sacrificed watching Katie Couric in order to move through at a time that was relatively quiet. I saw similar situations several times over the conference.
I suppose the same way that I have reminded myself not to lose sight of myself and my simple belief in treating people with humanity as someone who lives in New York, were the same rules I applied to my time at BlogHer. If a situation rubbed me the wrong way I just made a conscious decision to move on. Time was of the essence, and energy could be easily zapped if I had to absorb everyone giving off bad ju-ju.
Unfortunate for me, I also had a horrendous cold during BlogHer. But, on the bright side, that coupled with the home court advantage of living in the host city made me be very precious with my time. Rather than clamoring to every party, and ‘having’ to be everywhere at all times, I tried to make my movements purposeful – attending parties that I felt had a rapport with what I am trying to achieve with my blog and treating people the way I wanted to be treated in return. I learnt alot from BlogHer, including not to poo-poo on how others want to shape their conference experience, we’re all allowed to have our own agendas.
I guess my takeaway though, is that if you want to be a good conference citizen you do have to mindful of others, and how you impact on each other.
I suppose the same people who pushed and shoved their way through the expo hall for more swag and more freebies might not feel that way. They will continue to be the ones that leave a bad taste in my mouth post-conference.
Listening to the ladies pictured below was a definite highlight to my Conference experience – their humor, tenacity and openness was a breath of fresh air – entertaining and informative. Their panel was called Strategic Content Development Across Multiple Media: Onstage, Onscreen, and Online.
So whatever your ‘BlogHer Story’ I hope that you managed to get something out of it – for me I did get to connect with a handful of brands that I would actually like to work with in the future as well as fellow bloggers that I either got to reconnect with or meet with for the first time ever. I also learnt alot about how else I could interact with brands in the future in a similar situation as well as what I hope to get out of my next blogging experience.
Thanks BlogHer for an unforgettable experience