I spent a good part of last week with 2400 women from all walks of life, from coupon moms to political activists. Women bloggers descended on The Hilton in NYC for the BlogHer ‘10 Conference. This was my first BlogHer and I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be cliquey? Would it be overwhelming? Would it be inspiring? Well, guess what? It was all those things, and much more.
What did I learn at BlogHer ’10?
- Women bloggers have serious reach and influence, but they’re not using them to their fullest power. Forget brands and coupons and all that “stuff” what women need to do is take their voices on the web and turn them into political reality. I spent a day at The White House Project, a series of lectures and hands on learning about getting women to run for office and get where the real power lies. I don’t know if I will ever run for office, but I walked out of there thinking I could. And so should you. Want to know how and why? Check out The White House Project – it will change the way you think about politics and female politicians. I’m still thinking about how I can implement this at a young level for my 8 year old daughters.
- The Food Revolution Ain’t Happening. I’m sorry but the amount of processed food crap at BlogHer was really appalling to me. Entire brand suites filled with chemical, corn syrup and hydrogenated oil laden products that were being packaged and pushed on moms so they can go home and serve this junk to their kids. It was really disappointing and disheartening. And yes, I know these companies are big sponsors of these events but shouldn’t bloggers be using their power to influence these brands instead of the other way around?
- There are so many funny, interesting, smart and witty women writers in the world. The Voices of the Year celebration highlighted many of these amazing women, and you should read all of them. But I feel like my faith is restored in the blogging world just by going to BlogHer and being exposed to so many new bloggers.
- My friend and fellow blogger, Amy Oztan, might be a “SelfishMom“ (yes that is her blog in case you don’t read her – and why aren’t you reading her?) but she is a kick-ass friend. Amy actually wrangled me an unofficial invite to lunch at The New York Times with Lisa Belkin because I basically told her I was a crazy weird Lisa Belkin fan. And luckily Lisa said I could come rather than seek a restraining order! It was a BlogHer highlight hanging out with The Motherlode mistress and a few incredibly funny bloggers in the gorgeous New York Times Building.
- I actually like meeting new people. This is shocking to me because really I hate group things. I would never go on a cruise or even a tour. I detest bed and breakfasts. I dread small talk. But BlogHer was different. When you’re a writer you lead a solitary work life. When you’re a blogger you lead a solitary yet virtually connected work life. And so to meet women in real life whose faces I usually see in a teeny tiny square on my twitter feed or read in the ether was thrilling.
So even though there were too many people I never got to meet, and not enough time to get to the panels and parties and brand meetings all happening at once, it was worth it just for the experience of being a part of something big and just in its toddler stage. And it inspired a whole new project for me and three other fab women bloggers –FromHip2Housewife, Coast2CoastMom and SelfishMom – that will launch shortly, stay tuned…