My BlogHer ‘14 Recap (Part 2)

See (Part 1)  for more details from my BlogHer ‘14 recap.

Friday, July 25th

At 8:00am on Friday, all of the BlogHer participants gathered together for breakfast before the conference officially started.  There was a newbie breakfast for anyone first time BlogHer participants and another breakfast for everyone else.  So like a dope, I ended up missing most of the newbie breakfast because didn’t follow directions and ate breakfast at my hotel.  I was a little annoyed at myself that I missed out on this part of the day. I didn’t realize that there would be a hot breakfast available and I didn’t know that someone would be speaking to the newbie group.  Lesson learned. I was just concerned that I would be stuck only eating bagels and pastries all morning and that would not have lasted me too long. I’ll have to make sure I follow the conference agenda from now on and carry my protein bars for my critical low blood sugar moments.

After breakfast, I walked into the grand ballroom for the official conference opening.  As I scanned the ballroom for a seat, I became a little overwhelmed by the amount of people already seated in the room.  I must have looked like a deer in headlights as I walked by each fully occupied table, because one girl walked up to me to see if I wanted to sit with her.  She didn’t have a table yet, but it made the process of finding a table much less daunting.  Shortly after we got settled in at our table, an inspirational video began to play. The video included BlogHer participants sharing their reasons for why they blog. The video really set the tone for the rest of the weekend.  At that moment, I began to feel like I was part of a much larger community. Check out the video titled “Why I Blog” below. 

The BlogHer founders also welcomed all of the participants and we listened to two remarkable ladies speak before the keynote speaker made her way to the stage.  These two ladies were part of the 10x10 series, which included 10 bloggers that BlogHer selected to make brief presentations throughout the conference.  These bloggers were tasked with discussing a “look back at what the blogosphere built and look ahead to where we’re going.” Each speaker covered 10 years in 10 minutes.  The first 10x10 speakers included Danah Boyd, author of It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, and Shannon Des Roches Rosa, an advocate for helping parents with autistic children.

The welcome keynote speaker was an interview between BlogHer co-founder Jory Des Jardins and Jenny Lawson from The Bloggess and the NYT best-selling author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I have to admit that I had never heard anything about her until I registered for this conference, so I didn’t know what to expect.  But she was hilarious, a little snarky and some might even say slightly inappropriate, but I loved every minute of her discussion.  She discussed so many topics and even mentioned a little bit about her layover experience in the Denver Airport and how she bought human hair from a kiosk.  After listening to her speak, I followed her on twitter immediately.  I’ve already added her book to my list of books to buy in the future.   

At the end of the opening, everyone was encouraged to take some time to meet and greet some new people in the ballroom and exchange business cards.  This icebreaker was suppose to be a BlogHer style speed dating but they changed it up at the last minute.  During this time, I met several great ladies that were eager to talk about their blogs and learn about mine. By the time I finished chatting, it was time for the first break-out session for the day.  There were a variety of options available for just about everyone anywhere from, publishing, visual web (video blogging) to publishing and blogging fundamentals.  I decided to attend the session entitled -Blog Monetization Landscape: Don’t Leave Monday on the Table.   We listened to the panelists discuss creative ways to explore monetization potential beyond the traditional channels.  Although I found the information to be very helpful, I think this is something that I will consider later in the year.  I’m finally getting back to blogging on a regular basis, I don’t want to add another layer on my plate too soon.

When the session ended, I made my way up to the ballroom for the luncheon with the keynote speaker, Tig Notaro, a Grammy-nominated comedian and writer.  Tig was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2012, but she turned that deadly serious stuff into comedy gold during a stand-up act in Los Angeles, delivering a monologue that was instantly legendary.  Luckily this time, I didn’t have trouble finding a table.  As soon as I got my food and sat down, I wanted to learn more the 3 other ladies sitting at my table.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really listen to all of the speakers because I was too busy chatting it up with my tablemates.  I also left the luncheon a little early because I really wanted to walk around the Expo again.  The lunch was scheduled for two hours and the afternoon sessions were scheduled to start at 2:30pm, so we had a lot of down time. 

Before the afternoon session started back up again, I met up with a group of black women bloggers outside of the convention center.  All of these women were so smart and their blogs were so creative and diverse.  And we all had our natural hair in common.  I loved meeting other women that look like me that are motivated and passionate about what they do.  we each talked a little bit about our blogs, took some pictures and exchanged business cards – it was a great impromptu meet up.  Shortly after our meeting, I attended another break-out session titled Blogging Fundamentals - Set Yourself Up for Business Success.  This session involved another group of panelists that discussed understanding the business basics for blogging success, which I found very informative.

Throughout the entire day, I checked twitter periodically to check out all of the #BlogHer14 tweets during the conference.  While I was on there, I discovered that Hege and Cotille, representatives from Stitch Fix, were also at the conference.  So I reached out to them to arrange a quick meet and greet.  I was pretty excited to meet with the Stitch Fix team because I had only heard about the company briefly but I wanted to learn more about their services.  It was pretty cool to meet with two warm, friendly and really down to earth ladies that were excited about the company they represent.  Are any of you familiar with Stitch Fix or have you used their services? I'd love to hear about your experience.  I plan to write more about this company in a later post, so stay tuned.

After my quick meet up, I attended the Voices of the Year Community Keynote and Reception where 12 of the 100 BlogHer Voices of the Year shared their winning blog post live on stage.  It was really powerful to hear so many different types of emotional stories.  I was in awe of these blogger’s transparency and  courageousness to read their post out loud to a live audience.  As I sat there I thought about my blog and wondered if I could be that vulnerable and transparent? I’ve always wanted to share more on my blog, but stopped myself every time and just played it safe.  Attending this conference was a real eye opener for me and I hope to open up more over the next few months.

At some point in the evening, I made my way back to my hotel room mostly because I wanted to change my clothes and drop off my bag of stuff I accumulated from the Expo. I later met up with the ladies from Stitch Fix for dinner and we made our way to the Hilton Hotel for some suite parties hosted by some of the sponsors.  We didn’t stay at the suite parties long because they were pretty crowded, but we ended up at the BlogHer karaoke party at the convention center.  We had some drinks, danced and attempted to sing until the party ended.  Oh so get this! While I was at the party I met Gigi from Gigi’s Gone Shopping.  I have to admit, meeting her was one of the many highlights I had on my trip.  I was pretty excited to actually meet a blogger that I’ve been following for a while now.  She’s just as fabulous in person as she is on her blog.

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my blog later this week for the last day of the conference.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention! That was a fun way to meet. I'm so glad you found me in that dark, crazy room. lol I didn't think I was going to have a voice from that the next day. Another great recap from you. You're good!! And I like that you captured and shared things I didn't see. I was getting a copy of Thrive and other things when some of the announcements wer emade. I agree the conference experience is overwhelming.


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