I Promise It’s My Last Post About BlogHer

This post may not be interesting to some of you, but many people have expressed some curiosity about what specifics were discussed at BlogHer.  I’ll hit some of the highlights and give you more links than you could ever want–my apologies in advance for the carpal tunnel syndrome you’ll develop if you click on them all.

First, because I know some of you aren’t familiar with the whole deal, BlogHer is the world’s largest blogging organization for women, and membership is free and open to anyone.  They hold a yearly conference chock full of panel discussions and speeches; interestingly, they reported that it’s the world’s largest blogging conference, regardless of gender (I believe there were around 1,000 attendees this year.)

Here are the sessions I attended (if you click on the title of each session, you can see the live-blogging record.  For a master list of live-blogging from the whole conference, go here.  Or, you can go here to see the post in which Chilihead has posted her typed notes and totally blown my mind):

Finding and Following Your Passion

The Art of Storytelling

This was one of my favorite sessions.  One of the speakers was Ree from Confessions Of a Pioneer Woman, a blog I’ve enjoyed for a long time.  Birdie Jaworski was also a very impressive panelist.  Don’t miss her series on writing at BlogHer.org (can’t find the link, but I’ll add it in if I do).

Does the Blogosphere Need an Intolerance Intervention?

I attended this session primarily because my good friend Kathryn was a panelist.  (You can see her impressions of the experience here.)  I wondered, going into this discussion, if a panel of women from such varied backgrounds talking about tolerance might dissolve into some sort of shouting match.  It didn’t, and excellent points were made by everyone.

The State of the Momosphere

I could write volumes about this one session–there was no shortage of opinions!  I was interested to hear many mommy-bloggers vent their frustration that they’re not "taken seriously" by other bloggers (I have to admit that, even if it’s true, it doesn’t particularly bother me).  Moderator Jory Des Jardins drove home the point that regardless of what other bloggers may or may not think, corporate America takes mommy-bloggers very, very seriously.

There was rigorous discussion of how PR firms might approach mommy-bloggers with more sincerity (instead of "Hey, how are was your vacation, wanna try these ginsu knives?").  And in one of the more interesting turns of the weekend, general disdain was expressed for the system that is PayPerPost (discussed by panelist Chris Jordan here).  The PPP issue was raised more than once through the course of the weekend, an interesting turn of events, since they were a corporate sponsor of the convention.

And of course the question was raised the way it must always be raised when a group of women do something:  is the momosphere like high school?  Panelist Catherine Connors was one of the most articulate speakers I heard all weekend, and she answered this beautifully in the discussion, and then later on her blog.

Book to Blog and Back Again (notes not yet available)

This session was very interesting, and it confirmed what I’d already suspected:  if you’re betting between getting a book published and being struck by lightning, bet on the lightning. 

Professional Blogging, Ways and Means

This was a very basic look at some of the options for turning a blog into income, something I know interests many of you.  Check out the notes, and also see the post I’ve written on this subject here.

Professional Blogging:  Business Considerations

Without a doubt, this was the most helpful session I attended the whole conference.  It addressed some of the business-oriented aspects of blogging, including tax considerations, copyright/trademark management and other legal issues.  All the panelists were excellent, but TaxGirl was especially informative (not too mention funny–who knew tax code could make you laugh?)

A few general observations about the weekend….

I was amazed at how many women are writing (or at least contributing to) MANY different blogs.  It was staggering, actually.  Some of these women had six or seven blogs listed on their business cards.  And I’m overwhelmed with just one…

Here’s a new buzz-phrase for you, if you want to sound all smart and techie:  search-engine optimization, or SEO for short.  Basically, this just means getting more people to your blog via search engines like Google.  And that’s all I know about it, so don’t ask me anything else–I just wanted to use the phrase search engine optimization one time in my life.

I had heard reports that BlogHer ’06 was rather clique-ish, but I didn’t experience that at all this year.  Everyone was very kind and approachable, even though it was clear we were all from a WIDE variety of persuasions and lifestyles and shoe choices (meaning others’ were fabulous, mine were comfy).  I was encouraged by that.

Even though I already knew what a vast place the blogosphere is, it was still mind-boggling to see a slice of it up-close.  I know I get content in my happy little corner of the blog world, occasionally forgetting how many people are writing (really well!) on such a vast number of topics.  Though I’ve always enjoyed reading the blogs of people who are from different walks of life, I came home with a renewed interest in finding out what is out there.

I feel a little sheepish sometimes, when I admit to my non-blogging friends that I have on-line friends I’ve actually (gasp!) traveled to meet in real life.  But that’s okay.  An evening or two with these girlfriends is plenty to remind me that they’re the Real Deal.  I love those blogging buddies of mine, I really do.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures to prove I was really there.  Here’s Chilihead and me on Navy Pier, the great skyline of Chicago in the background (aren’t we just a couple of Mary Tyler Moores?):

Shanchili

And here’s one portion of our little posse (I don’t think we ever got the whole group together for a photo, now that I think of it…drat!)  L to R, that’s Tina, me, Chilihead, Jeana, and Kathryn:

Blogfriends

Did I mention how much I love those girls?

31 thoughts on “I Promise It’s My Last Post About BlogHer

  1. Antique Mommy says:

    That was a great recap, but in the interest of full disclosure, everyone should be aware that we all actually weigh at least ten pounds less what it appears in that photo which must have been taken with a wide angle lens. Or something.

  2. Her Bad Mother says:

    This is such a fabulous wrap-up, and I say that not because you called me articulate, but because you taught me what SEO means. And, also, because you’re a lovely writer and a lovely person and you make a great accent to the Chicago skyline.

  3. elizabeth says:

    Where to start… It’s a good thing you got a purty mama, ’cause I KNOW she’s really the one who’s in Chicago… except that I went by her new house to visit when you were away…
    My cousin does SEO. Seriously. One if his clients is National Geographic. He lives in San Fransisco except when he’s in Italy for months at a time. With his long-time girlfriend who’s graduated both Princeton and the CIA. Cooking school, not spy group. I am THE most boring of the cousins. And the least exciting, too. Huff, going to go sit in a corner and knit.

  4. momrn2 says:

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together for all of us! Although some may not be interested in this side of things, others of us (like myself) are! I’m very eager to work through these links and see if I can learn anything… or not! 🙂
    Thanks again!!

  5. Dixymiss says:

    Quick, call the blog police! Chilihead is pictured without her Groucho nose & mustache! Is that even legal? 😉 Great wrap-up. Thanks for all the links.

  6. Barb says:

    Thank you, Shannon. I’ve been really curious what this was all about and even went to the website, only to come away feeling confused and overwhelmed. This was great information.

  7. Sherry says:

    Thanks for the insight. It looks like you had a great time! Maybe next year I’ll be in full swing with my blog and be an actual participant in the conference!!
    For now, thanks for being our ears and eyes!!

  8. Heth says:

    I’m with BooMama, your hair is looking fab. I have to admit, I skimmed over the technical blogging stuff and went straight for the photos and noticed your hair right away. You are so dang cute.

  9. Marni says:

    Did you guys notice you’re all dressed to match in the photo? Something weird going on here…

  10. Mary@notbefore7 says:

    Thanks so much for putting this together. Your blog is actually one of the first I every found and began reading and got me hooked in to blogging myself. The BlogHer conference as an “idea” was foreign to me…I mean, really, are there that many women bloggers? HA HA…clearly I was quite naieve.
    Thanks for the recap. Thanks for the links we can follow too! I have honestly enjoyed hearing what it was all about.
    It looks like you all had a blast! Maybe one day…

  11. Trixie says:

    Hello Shannon,
    Thanks for posting the great convention re-cap and all the links. Can’t wait to check them out!
    This would be a great conference to attend next year.
    Trixie

  12. MamaLady says:

    If Antique Mommy is right, y’all would be model skinny. All of you look great to me.
    Shannon, write as much as you can about the conference. I trust your judgment and take on the subjects covered.
    It’s curious to me that you were not asked to be on a panel given the numbers of visitors you have. I’d love to see you have a voice with the other “biggies” of the blogosphere.

  13. Shalee says:

    That last photo is actually making tears well in my eyes… I want to be there too! But I’m glad I get to enjoy it through your eyes.
    And AM, if y’all looked any thinner, we wouldn’t see you! Beautiful. That’s what you all are.

  14. dcrmom says:

    PHEW! I read every link. I’m overwhelmed. And intrigued. And I love those pictures of you guys. I want to go next year!!!!

  15. daring one says:

    That picture makes me want to cry! Great wrap-up Shannon. I’m still working on… er… thinking of starting mine. Maybe I’ll just send people over here.

  16. Devra says:

    I’m gonna share the term I grew up with for the “Groucho Nose Glasses” which is “Schnozz-n-Specs.”
    Then I’m gonna share that I really enjoyed lunch with you on Sunday!

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