For the past two years, I’ve attended the annual BlogHer blogging convention, but this August I was across the country in Manhattan, the site of last year’s BlogHer.
While I was too busy enjoying NYC to follow either #HomeHer or #BlogHer11, BlogHer was on my mind. At the Museum of Natural History, I sent twitpix of female science students to @WhyMommy, the woman who inspired this blog, and whom I finally met last summer at #blogher10.
I snuck a few minutes to google “blogher + blogs,” and to email my green blogger friends, just back from BlogHer 11, to get the scoop.
As always at BlogHer, it appears there were some controversies. The “Anti-Green Movement of Bill My Parents?” – bad joke, overzealous marketing, or actually quite funny? Those Styrofoam plates – ditch them, Blogher! And the HuffPost women session? Whiners or honest sharings?
The fact is, BlogHer is as close as some of us will get to a slice of truly all American apple pie. No, BlogHer in some ways is not as diverse as America – it’s more affluent, more white, and better educated. But the fact is, it’s a place where for several days, in packed conference halls and on dance floors, women interact. The “Queerosphere” group of LGBT women is there, with their rocking party, open to all. So too are the “Modern Marthas,” women who blog about hearth and home. There are the Change Agents, radical Moms, activists who want to change the world. Then there are those who pack extra suitcases just for the swag, or come solely to connect with brands. There are those who refuse to set foot in the exhibit hall because of the rampant commercialism. And there’s an entirely different world of private parties for those who serve as brand ambassadors.
But you know what? They all get along.
It’s a civilized gathering.
A joyful society. A respectful confab.
And as my train pulled into Washington, and I glanced at that beautiful Capitol dome, now a symbol of so much dysfunction, it occurred to me…Wouldn’t Congress be a better place if we got more of our BlogHers there?
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I had a great time at Blogher. Some people in my circles asked why, given all the controversy about the Nestle sponsorship and the excessive, sometimes reckless consumption which marred BlogHer ’09.
So here’s why. Here’s a list of the Top 10 Things I Loved About BlogHer.
- It’s the only time I get to see my tribe: the members of the Green Moms Carnival and the many other bloggers whose work I respect so much. I tweeted that I was up “partying” with The Smart Mama, Condo Blues, Fake Plastic Fish, Mindful Momma, and The Soft Landing. But actually, we’re a little nerdier than that. Sure we love to party. But you can do that anytime. Looking up municipal water tables and calculating the amount of time a glass of water stays fresh before bacteria breeds? I just can’t do that with my friends at home in Bethesda!
Ok, Ok, this pic was taken last year at BlogHer ’09. Can you believe we don’t have a group shot from this year?
2. I loved seeing all the women. It’s a very special experience to be at a conference for women, by women, particularly if you’ve worked in fields, like I have, where there are few women on the conference circuit.
Doppelgangers? It’s been said that Alicia of The Soft Landing and I look alike. What do you think?
3. It was a better BlogHer than last year from a sustainability perspective. Would I call it a Green Conference? Or even say, “BlogHer Goes Green?” Uh….no. But it was a huge step in the right direction. And I’ll have more to say on that in my next post.
4. Great speakers. My favorite this year was the ending keynote. When I listened to the beautiful 70-year old Marie Wilson of The White House Project and Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, I was inspired. Her vitality made me think, “Wow, I’ve only just begun. I’m not so old after all. I have a lot yet to do and to give.”
6. Great dancing. The dance floor rocked. How often do most of us get out dancing? Uh…never. (Except for my recent college reunion!)
8. Never being asked to stop tweeting.
9. Interesting people. The opportunity to strike up conversations is right in front of you all the time. Every woman there has a story. What’s hers?
With Debbie Bookstaber, co-founder of Bloganthropy. (Thank you, Corolle dolls for your sponsorship of Bloganthropy!)
10. Wonderful venues. New York, of course, was amazing. So was Chicago last year (my first BlogHer conference). And next year, BlogHer ’11 will be in San Diego. I’ll be there. Will you?
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