BlogHer '17 Experts Among Uschanges, thoughts, and pictures
My first BlogHer conference was in 2012. 5000+ women (and all genders) descended upon the Hilton NY for a weekend of learning, parties, connections, and more.
The moment I walked into the conference space was the first time in my life I felt 100% normal. I felt like belonged – finally.
In my limited experience I was told this was the conference for swag – product and such given by brands in the expo hall.
I made a few good connections, but the expo hall was so congested you could barely hear yourself talking, never mind having conversations with brand reps.
There were so many community parties it was hard to keep track of them all. The classics – VOTY reception, open mic, kareoke, the closing party – were also enjoyed.
It was an amazing experience of learning, inspiration, parties, and new connections.
So What’s Changed?
BlogHer was acquired by SheKnows Media a few years ago, and I’ve noticed changes with each passing year.
The tag-line became ‘Experts Among Us’.
We are seeing a renewed focus on learning.
There was a major crackdown on off-boarding in 2014. There were also fewer sponsors than previous years and swag was not as significant.
BlogHer’17 keynotes had less ‘fluff pieces’ and important conversations are being held on the main stage.
There’s no longer a panoplie of parties to choose from. The classics were enjoyed but I didn’t hear of any others this year.
Along with sessions on the classics such as writing, web design, SEO, and community building BlogHer’17 had sessions on the next step in our career. Where is our blogging taking us? What’s waiting for us around the corner?
This year’s conference had a small expo hall which some loved and others grumbled about.
Sponsored private events were held as usual and anyone reading their emails had a fair chance to get in (depending how quick your fingers were).
Several sponsors were there to help us further our career (as opposed to shilling out swag and hoping for connections or social mentions).
Why all the changes?
I suspect many of the changes implemented by SheKnows Media and the BlogHer team were very deliberate.
A conference can’t tout itself to be about experts among us while still being seen as the swag-whore mecca.
The smaller expo hall and increased business focus discourages said swag-whores which results in brands making more meaningful connections that will lead to lasting relationships. This keeps the brands – who highly subsidize our conference fee – happy and increases the chance they’ll be back.
The conference was smaller but in my opinion attendees and sponsors came out with more than previous years.
BlogHer’17 – Different yet Same
This was the first BlogHer where I only ran into a small handful of legends I look up to. Many were simply not there – some have stopped blogging while others are now working in PR and social marketing.
Looking around the room, there were many new faces, young faces.
Our community is as diverse as ever but there’s a new generation of bloggers at the helm and I suddenly found myself a veteran in the crowd.
BlogHer is not a swagdom, nor is it a space solely for ‘mommy bloggers’ (gag me) to learn their craft in between parties.
BlogHer is a business conference for those who blog.#BlogHer is not swagdom for 'mommy bloggers' (gag me) It's a business conference for those who #blog Click To Tweet
Our industry is forever evolving and we must adapt or jump ship. So far I like the boat, i’ll be sticking around for a while.