I had the great pleasure to attend BlogHer for the first time this year. How did I get to attend? A perfect storm really. 3 things happened that allowed me to attend: first, a customer had asked me to support them in their session and to talk about how my book on social media helped them with their strategy, second, I spoke with Charlene Li at the WITI conference and she knew the founders and secured me a ticket and then finally, I was asked to speak on how to leverage social media as the only real IBM presence at the conference.
So what is BlogHer? I pulled this from the BlogHer site. It was founded in February 2005 by Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone. BlogHer’s mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online and creates opportunities for its members via a community hub (http://blogher.com), annual conferences and a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates. BlogHer provides the highest quality content on a range of topics, with all blogs continually edited to meet strict editorial standards, including content quality, category relevance and blog frequency
The Top 10 Ah Ha's 1. The Business BlogHer had a lot of great case studies. While not sold out on the business side, I found the case studies innovative and best practices. I have blogged on the specific case studies that I heard ... Allstate, Tropicana, Pepsi, Sprint, Coach and many others (THE Social Media Blog!.
2. Lots of Geek Labs - Hands on! I love the hands on labs. You could set up a new blog here with step by step instructions to learning HTML and PHP.
3. Networking The conference was setup to network. They did speeddating in a new and innovative way, and arranged the sessions and breaks to stimulate discussion.
4. Community keynote I attend a lot of corporate events and shows. Usually the keynoter is the CEO or GM in charge of the work. While powerful, I have not experienced a more moving and powerful keynote that BlogHer did on Friday night. It was a community keynote where bloggers were selected to read their blog entries. It was amazing. I am glad someone who had been here before told me to make sure I didn't miss it!
5. Swag. Again, going to CeBit or GiTex is an experience and everyone gives away their toys. But I have never seen the swag that was at BlogHer. From products, to free services on site, to designer scarfs, and vendors printers, servers, and phones. If you come, be prepared. This shows me that the vendors view this show as an important way to reach the tippers. One of our competitors was here for Small Business and I saw the bump in blogs on their products in the GB space go up 3x over the last 3 days.
6. Panels. Most of the sessions here were in a set of tracks on Geek Labs, Business, Leadership, Room of your own, Identity and Passions. But most of the sessions were panels. If you don't learn this way, it may not be the way for you!
7. Q&A's are LONG! Another culture here at BlogHer is to learn from a Q&A session. The sessions here are meant for learning not gaining exposure. I would say that in the sessions over 1/2 the time was spent answering questions from the audience.
8. Amazing Women in New Media. The BlogHer team brought out the stars. From Lisa Stone to GM of CBS, to Donna Bryne, etc. This is the place for the new adventurers in the social media world!
9. Purpose I was truly impressed by the purpose that I felt from all these women and men. These guys, while looking to monetize, are truly dedicated to their mission. I heard about blogs on the homeless, soberity, raising disabled kids, traveling, shyness, and the list goes on. Everyone I met loved what they blogged on. A great lesson in you do more of what you love -- for employers getting people into the right roles.
10. Fun I loved it. It was energeric, and fun. It energized me and showed me that one with a purpose can accomplish more than you can imagine! There were over 1999 parties. That's right.. suites to teach photography, small busines skills, word of mouth marketing, silk screening, etc.
Next Year: Next year the conference will be in NYC in August. Will I go? Absolutely.
The Future - Generation C This is the future. Everything is going online. 53% of women WW are online. Generation C -- which I have defined as the next generation who wants to co create, collaboration, and use their creavitiy. They are going to be around for a while. Join the exploration and see what works for you!