BlogHer is this yearly convention for women bloggers. It’s also a pretty terrific website and community that allows us lady bloggers to make connections and promote our blogs. This year’s convention was in NYC, and I didn’t go, but next it it will be in Chicago, which is only a hop, step and a jump away. To be honest, I never gave much thought to BlogHer in the past. I don’t really know a lot of bloggers. No, that’s not exactly true. I know many people who blog, but the blogs that I keep up with on a frequent basis are usually personal blogs, where the word “networking” is virtually unknown. I didn’t want to be broke, anxious and alone at BlogHer.
However, this year, two of my friends went. It made me realize that broke and lonely wouldn’t have to be the case. I could go and meet some online friends, and we could all join forces and have eachother’s backs. Jenn and Kylie are the two ‘net friends in particular who went, and it looks like they both enjoyed their time. They networked, attended some panels and got some swag. I’ve spoken to Jenn, specifically, to get some more information on the ins and outs. She wrote an awesome wrapup post, and BlogHer ’13 started seeming like a reality.
Then, the other posts started rolling in. The complaints are far and wide, but some of them are ridiculous. Are you really going to complain that the President of the United Fucking States didn’t cater his speech to you? I mean, come on. You’re lucky he even knows what a blogger is. Let’s get real guys. You got Katie Couric and Martha Stewart and, yes, maybe they focused more on themselves than you, but that’s fucking progress.
Are you going to bitch that people went crazy over swag? Of course they did. Wait, are you the crazy person who thinks that companies brought the wrong kind of swag? Here’s an idea: you don’t need to accept it! And you don’t need to be in the expo hall. Hit up some panels.
Do you think that people shouldn’t go to the parties, because the Internet is serious stuff? Lawls. Seriously, though, there are two general camps of people who have talked about BlogHer after the fact: those ladies who enjoyed it and got some swag, and those women who didn’t, because they’re professional bloggers or they simply write to write. They’re somehow above bloggers who are taking advantage of the fact that the world is noticing us. But here’s the thing: a blogging convention is about more than just writing. Any time something becomes a conference of a convention, there’s something more to it. There’s networking and learning opportunies and there’s fun–and why shouldn’t there be?
Plenty of bloggers learned some SEO and how to market their blogs. Other writers attended sessions for small blogs, and I heard there was an interesting session for husband-and-kid-less bloggers that I, personally, would have loved to attend. It’s a conference. You have to expect the crazy, and then you have to learn how to avoid it, because you can, if you still choose to go.
This attitude runs rampant, and the conversation extends to not just blogging conventions but to blogging in general. Some people argue that there are now two camps of bloggers. It’s interesting to read, because I share some of these same complaints, but not in the context of blogging conventions. A convention is a location that exists solely to sell out, is it not? Still, I’ve seen the change in the blogosphere.
Is the blogosphere different today than it was ten years ago? Palin would say “You betcha.” Is that always a good thing? Nope. I find myself struggling with defining my blogs as a brand. It’s something I feel like I have to do on Reviews by Cole, yet it’s not something that I will ever do here. Her Realm is, and always will be, a personal blog. I don’t focus on SEO. I note how many visitors I have, but one thoughtful comment is worth more than 100 hits. I do miss the days of returning every single comment. I miss making friends, not networking, through blogs. But what do we expect when more blogs exist now than ever?
More bloggers and types of blogger exist now than ever, and while I struggled with that, because change is difficult for the best of us, I cannot change it. I can only try to adapt as well possible while remaining true to myself, which is exactly why I’ll continue to have a stand-alone personal blog and the swag and parties of BlogHer are appealing. I suggest that anyone who thinks she is truly only one thing is doing little more than limiting and hurting herself.
Because we’re complex humans, and when we all get together, it leads to complex interactions. BlogHer may not offer only the things you want, but I bet it offers something for everyone, and that’s enough to encourage me to check it out–at least once.