August 6 12

So, I am home from BlogHer. I hopped into a cab and got on an earlier flight (for freeee!) yesterday morning because I was really missing my little ones and I’m so thankful I did because even though TSA stole my Trader Joe’s cookie butter, I a) got to stand in the long-ass line with an entire adorable men’s lacrosse team and b) didn’t have to spend the day and night at LGA unlike the 4,999 other BlogHer12 attendees. I came home, ate sweet and salty popcorn, had copious amounts of coffee, took a disco nap, jumped on the trampoline, and made the best homemade chewy chocolate chip cookies with my girls. So, you know, pretty much a piece of perfection.

I really want to tell you about my trip, but I kind of feel hung over, even though I really didn’t drink very much—half of a vodka gimlet until it got stolen and a few sips of champagne (take that, Leisel Von Trapp, I *did* get to taste my first champagne, in her honor).

This year, BlogHer was…interesting. I took, maybe, 12 photos, and I ate Cuban food, which really tells you one very important thing:

I have absolutely no idea who I am right now. 

I did get to spend some quality, quality time with some of my very best friends in the world—people who make me laugh until I cry or pee my pants, or, you know, until she cries real tears outside of the McDonald’s in Times Square. (THIS MONEY…is wet.) I am so thankful for this.

I most definitely had a great, great time.

More than great, even. And not just because there were cupcakes and Christmas decorations involved.

(Also, it didn’t help that I didn’t have a working phone or computer—thanks to my crappy US phone and my ability to forget necessities. Facebook? Nuh-huh. Twitter? What’s that? Texting? Nope. Email? Not happening. I was essentially unplugged at a SOCIAL MEDIA CONFERENCE. I’m smart, you guys. Really smart.)

But then. THEN!

I am beginning to think that this conference has grown too big for my little britches. Back in San Francisco, or Chicago, or New York the first-time around, I was able to see and catch up with so many people. I was able to stand around in the lobby of the various hotels and run into everyone I wanted to see. I was able to attend sessions that were able to teach me new things, to teach me to be a better blogger, to teach me to be a better editor. The conference has gone HUGE, which is wonderful for BlogHer and for this little thing we call blogging—you know, that thing that my friends still mock me about and think is not actually a real thing (“are you going to put this on your BLAAAAAWG?”), but I think that maybe it’s just not FOR ME anymore. I think it’s wonderful for people who like free shampoo samples, people who know the business of blogging and who—unlike me—don’t consider the idea of monetization to be so much overwhelming work, for people who like to fight to get into a private party that sells out in 14 seconds. And if that’s for you, I don’t begrudge you AT ALL. If that sounds like you, that’s great. It’s just not…me.

I don’t know if the conference is just too massive now, if the parties were just too dark and loud, if the sessions are just no longer relevant enough for me, if there are too many exclusive private parties that are all at the same time off-site…but I didn’t get to see and hug and chat with so many people. It wasn’t enough, conference-wise. There was not enough face time with friends—there are people I didn’t even see a single time, and people who I saw for exactly eight seconds in passing while on my way to the bathroom. There was not enough learning.

Just not enough. 

Not enough hugs.

Not even a little bit.

But if you need me, here’s where I’ll be today.

Getting enough.

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  1. You know, after being to Blissdom Canada and then Blogher, I felt exactly the same way. Blissdom was enough. Blogher was just way too big and felt impersonal after awhile.

    You just put exactly into words how I felt about Blogher last year, and why I was okay with missing it this year.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Scatteredmom on August 6, 2012
  2. I’m just so glad that I got to see YOU as much as I did. And that I finally met Jen and Meghan. And that I still giggle when I think of us telling Lou to lick the Biebs’ face.

    (I may snag the photos with me in them for when I can write about BlogHer, if that’s OK by you. :) )

    xoxo

    [Reply]

    Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] replied on

    YOU? Are pretty and one of my favorite people I got to see.

    [Reply]

    Angella replied on

    You meant that comment for Ali, right? ;)

    ’twas good to see you, too, regardless. Us curly girls have a special bond. :)

    [Reply]

    Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] replied on

    Friend, that was for you. I left Ali her own love-comment.

    ali replied on

    Snag away, my friend, snag away :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angella on August 6, 2012
  3. This was just what I felt during the conference. I felt like I had to unplug while there because there were too many people. Great for blogging and Blogher, like you said, but not for me. I felt it was not relevant to me anymore. Maybe it’s that I’ve been doing this since 2007 but not being able to attend anything because there wasn’t room was so diappointing. Having it happen every time but once. Too much. I may opt out next year though I will miss everyone so much.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Vicky on August 6, 2012
  4. I totally agree that we (the collective) didn’t get enough time to see friends, but at least you and I got to giggle on the couch together. That was a highlight for me.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    YES. The couch that night. That was one of my favorite blogher moments. Definitely.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on August 6, 2012
  5. It was too much. Too big. Too many people. I took like no photos and I never got to talk to you.

    I mean, I had an AWESOME time, but that is because I went in expecting not to really do any conference stuff.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    NOT ENOUGH KRISTIN AND ALI TIME.

    [Reply]

    Kristabella replied on

    NOT. EVEN. CLOSE.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Kristabella on August 6, 2012
  6. I’ve been blogging a while – and I loved my experience when I went in 2010. But it was huge (to me) then, and I can’t IMAGINE what it’ll be like next year, if it continues it’s huge growth. You put it perfectly – everything. I didn’t go this year, and although I wanted to, I couldn’t justify the EXPENSE just for free shampoo (which I DO like) LOL and the opportunity to hang around at dark, loud parties where I don’t know anyone and also, I don’t drink – and it seems like you really NEED to drink in order to be a part of the “cool” crowd at the parties.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Dawn @ Finding the Happy on August 6, 2012
  7. I’m just going to go ahead and cut and paste this post into my blog. That’s totally cool, right?

    Took the words out of my mouth. 100%, except for the part of getting home on time. Yeah, that didn’t happen for me.

    But I got to see you, and that was icing on my bland BlogHER cake.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Getting to see you and spend time with you was a huge highlight for me. You are one of the most wonderful people I know ;)

    [Reply]

    Comment by designhermomma on August 6, 2012
  8. This money…is wet. Everything was DAMP, and not just Meghan’s purse/money.

    Also, why aren’t my kids better roommates. I really appreciated that you three were all, “morning? whatever. let’s go back to sleep.”

    [Reply]

    Comment by Jen on August 6, 2012
  9. I went to the second day of BlogHer because… I mean, what the hell.. I live in New York and it would be dumb not to make an appearance, and I felt myself feeling the same way. It was probably worth the price tag of coming home with enough swag to necessitate not having to go to the drug store for the next couple of months, but… meh?

    I’m only casually interested in monetization (and very picky at that… I’m relatively anti-corporate at this point.) and 90% of the sessions seemed aimed at a demographic or skill level that was not mine. I ended up coming away from blogger thinking that I want to be a sex blogger, because those were literally the only sessions that seemed remotely interesting to me.

    I met 2 people out of two-dozen on my shortlist of people that I’d like to say hello to and both possess bright pink hair… and being day two of a conference, you could just see the social fatigue on the faces of some of the ladies. I didn’t meet nearly as many new people as I would have expected because people just seemed too tired to talk.

    [Reply]

    Comment by nikkiana on August 6, 2012
  10. So, perhaps I should shoot for attending Blissdom as my first bloggy conference instead of saving up for blogher next year?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Nuala Reilly on August 6, 2012
  11. Thank you for posting this.. I have been looking at going to my first blogger conference next year and I was thinking Blogher would be a good idea.. but now that I think about it… 5,000 is pretty impersonal. I think I should start with something smaller.

    [Reply]

    Comment by michelle r on August 6, 2012
  12. I’ve found that, in general, the content at conferences like this is no longer relevant to me. Too basic for those of us who have been blogging 5+ years and do this for a living (like you, like me). Agree?

    [Reply]

    Comment by Camels & Chocolate on August 6, 2012
  13. I took the train to NYC spur of the moment and didn’t tell anyone, so it’s my own fault for not meeting everyone I wanted to meet and HELLO yes, my social media devices didn’t work either. Irony.

    But yeah…I’m not sure what I’d prefer. Smaller conference with meatier round-table discussions would be great. I’ve only been to one other BlogHer, but yeah…for the few sessions I did sit in on, I didn’t feel as if I was hearing anything new. I think there were as many women in the audience who were just as valid authorities on the subject as the women at the front of the room, so again…round table OR get speakers from outside the blogging world to talk about matters at hand. Just my opinion. I’m sure it will amount to squat.

    Anyway, I posted my experience on my blog. It includes an Appalachian Thru-hiker and a mean barista. But I didn’t need to spend conference fee to get that.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Josette Plank on August 6, 2012
  14. It was great to see you! It’s just too bad I was melting to death at the time. Also, wearing tights. Hahaha… xoxo

    [Reply]

    alimartell replied on

    LEGGINGS AS PANTS, Karen. :)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Karen Sugarpants on August 6, 2012
  15. I’m so glad I saw you, if only for a little.

    [Reply]

    alimartell replied on

    Me too! So glad! I needed more time, though. boo!

    [Reply]

    Comment by jodifur on August 6, 2012
  16. But how was the Cuban food?

    [Reply]

    alimartell replied on

    It was delicious. I’m glad that I trust MeghanGWine to introduce me to new foods ;)

    [Reply]

    Comment by Roxanna (miguelina) on August 6, 2012
  17. I’m with Emily in that I want to cut & paste this to my site.

    I obviously loved rooming with you, Jen & Heather, and getting to spend some much needed time with my favorite girls. I also loved finally being able to meet Emily, Loukia, Angella, Kristen and others.

    But. I feel like I missed out on so much because of the sheer volume of the conference. Previously, I felt like the conference had real substance. Now I feel as though it’s a money making machine, and as long as thousands of people are willing to pay for it, the powers that be will keep growing it regardless of the negative impact that has on their original concept. To me, the Expo Hall has become a way for brands to sell their product, instead of a way for brands to connect with bloggers to create mutually beneficial relationships. I am feeling very “meh” about the whole thing.

    PS – having said all that, I would do it all over again for that one single memory.

    THIS MONEY IS WET.

    PPS – God, I love you guys.

    PPPS – I’d pretty much go anywhere, at any time to spend time with you and take you out on culinary adventures.

    [Reply]

    alimartell replied on

    I seriously miss you so much right now.

    Yes. Totally. The Volume…it’s just too too much. And do not get me started on the EXPO hall…I was thoroughly unimpressed.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Meghan on August 6, 2012
  18. I keep hearing that as as common theme, its gotten too big.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Corey Feldman on August 7, 2012
  19. LOVED seeing you again, lovely Ali. Even though, yeah, not enough time. That sucks, though, doesn’t it? I miss BlogHer hard. And so many people. Sigh. I just posted my post about BlogHer. Clearly, you’re in it. xoxo

    [Reply]

    Comment by Loukia on August 7, 2012
  20. The size never bothers me, because it just means a bigger chance of seeing all the people that mean a lot to me. Some of my favorite moments were the karaoke at 2 AM or the Sunday night dinner with a few people, or even Wednesday in the bar meeting up with people as they drifted in. The lunches, at a table in the ballroom with people I know, also gave me a chance to enjoy a smaller moment among the giant crowd.

    As it’s gotten bigger, I find that I just stay longer in order to make time for people. I’m glad I got to see you a few times, though I would have loved a chance to sit down and talk. I’m really trying to come to Blissdom Canada, though, so maybe then. :)

    [Reply]

    alimartell replied on

    I’m guessing staying off site worked against me…that chance of randomly walking into people. Also, for me, when it’s bigger…people I *know* get lost in the crowd of the thousands of people I don’t know at all.

    My favorite party, by far, was the canadian party…because it was small and well-lit and I got to REALLY talk to people. I wish there were more parties like that…or more parties like that that I get invited to. Heh.

    [Reply]

    Avitable replied on

    I would have liked to go to the Canadian party – I love Canadians! :)

    Staying on-site is something I always recommend. Sometimes I would just sit in the hotel bar and say hi to people for a while.

    Of course, I also stand out in the BlogHer crowd, so it was easy for people to find me.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Avitable on August 8, 2012
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