I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
February 23, 2010
>I was at dinner with a bunch of bloggers Thursday night when a woman with a swingy white bob approached the table and began chatting with everyone. Noting the hair, I turned to the woman beside me and said, “Oooh, I just love Heloise.” I know, I’m so very, very funny, aren’t I? I don’t know why I don’t have my own sitcom! (Kidding, trolls. Kidding.)
Anyway, the next morning, my roommate Isabel and I were talking and she mentioned Heloise coming over to our table the night before.
“Oh my gosh!” I said excitedly. “She did look just like Heloise, didn’t she? I was thinking the same thing.”
“No, Lindsay,” Isabel said, “That was Heloise.”
These are the kinds of things that happen at blogging conferences.
This most recent one was called Mom 2.0 and I attended Blissdom here in Nashville two weeks before that. In August, I’ll head to New York City for BlogHer. I’m missing Blogalicious and the Type-A Mom Conference and heaven knows which other ones I’ve forgotten or have never heard of. Suffice it to say that now that Mommyblogging is Cool, there’s a conference for everyone.
Blissdom, for example, had its own unique persona. While the speakers were diverse and included everyone from MckMama to Her Bad Mother to Deb on the Rocks, the attendees seemed to consist largely of new bloggers, Christian bloggers, and coupon/bargain bloggers. The biggest difference I noticed was at the bar- At most conference cocktail parties, the bar would be four deep with women trying to exchange their tickets for a drink. At the Blissdom cocktail party, the bar was a wasteland. Also? There were a lot of zebra stripes. I’m not sure what that says about the attendees exactly- obviously, I loved their style– but at one point, I did have serious concerns that all of the zebra-stripe-wearing women would form a herd and end up stampeding Harry Connick Junior, which would not have looked good for Blissdom in general.
BUT. I really loved Blissdom and hope to go again next year. The word I think of most often to describe it is “charming.” There was an excitement and passion about blogging there that was infectious; I got home itching to write some great posts or something!!!!! I laugh about that now, but really, I did. It was a very happy conference and I had the opportunity to meet lots of new people, which I really enjoyed. I also went to a couple of fantastic sessions which gave me some great ideas on what to do with my new style blog.
Mom 2.0 is my favorite place to see my oldest blogging friends- For whatever reason, it draws a lot of women who started blogging somewhere between 2002 and 2006. Most of them are professional bloggers now and Mom 2.0 is a very professional conference- but since it’s put on by the Kirtsy girls, it has a laid back vibe and plenty of downtime, which I really appreciate. At Mom 2.0, I had a chance to not only meet new friends and contacts, but I also had time to really connect with them since the conference had only 350 attendees, and that’s important. I also got to secretly mock Heloise about looking just like Heloise! Where else could I have done that?!
If you’re going to go to only one blogging conference, though, I’d have to say go to BlogHer, the Mother of all women’s blogging events. It’s huge, it’s a whirlwind of sessions and parties and swag suites and events, and I never get to spend as much time with anyone as I would like, but it’s the one conference that has everything. It’s like all of the smaller conferences rolled up into one huge event. Each year, I come away from BlogHer so overwhelmed and distressed that I have trouble blogging for a few months afterward, but despite that, I wouldn’t miss it. Hey, how else could I get my name in Advertising Age for all the wrong reasons?
I would also advise you to go with a friend, or meet up with one there. I’ve seen women go it alone at these conferences, but that’s got to be tough. Bloggers aren’t generally as outgoing in person as they are on the computer- they’re not working the room at these events, they’re hanging out with their friends- and unless you are very good at meeting people, you’re probably going to end up feeling out of the loop.
And don’t believe any of the post-conference snark you read about A-listers and B-listers and big bloggers ignoring the “little” ones. Bloggers at conferences are, SHOCKINGLY, just exactly like women in real life. You’ll meet some you love. You’ll meet some you can’t stand. You’ll meet big bloggers who are endearingly humble and not-so-big bloggers who are so full of themselves, your mind will boggle. You’ll tend to become friends with bloggers you’ve worked with on projects or attended events with in the past, or bloggers who read you and are familiar with your life. Those are the main factors that determine who hangs out with whom at conferences. Yes, there are women who are obviously just trying to befriend the most important people in the room, but isn’t that true of real life, too? You just can’t escape that. The majority of women, though, whether they have 10 readers or 10,000,000, are nervous and excited and slightly socially awkward. JUST LIKE YOU! Fun, right?
So that’s my general conference recap.
I leave you with a discussion point, something that came to mind at the last two conferences. It’s a point I might expand on later in another post.
Is it just me or does the snark and realism that made mommyblogs popular in the first place seem to be disappearing?
Mom bloggers do stand to make a good amount of money based on the projects they’re able to negotiate as a result of their blogs- I’m seeing more and more women, even the ones who are “writers first” sort of tone down their…. everything… in order to be more appealing to PR firms, advertisers, and their increasingly mainstream public. Do you see this happening in your online reading, or am I way off base? I’m just curious if this is just my observation or if others share it as well….
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