I arrived at BlogHer, the world’s largest conference for female bloggers, excited to write a parting post about how to find cheap, eco-friendly gifts to bring back to the kids as souvenirs of our time away in Chicago.
I was going to include this photo of the postcards and maps my husband brings back as gifts from his meetings in far flung places.
And I was planning to include this picture I took of the many great free maps and guides that could be picked up around Chicago.
And I even snapped photos of local “Chicago chocolate” in case some greenies just couldn’t resist the impulse to bring back more of a traditional gift for the kids – a little box of something consumable. Hey, at least it would be local and cheap (although not fair trade).
I never wrote that post – it didn’t seem appropriate at BlogHer. And I’m embarrassed to confess that I left the conference loaded down with “BlogHer swag.” (Swag= stuff we all get).
My children? They’re getting the Chicago maps and brochures I picked up at the train station. But they’re also getting a teddy bear, a DVD about puppies, and a book about Spiderman. My husband? He gets a new backpack (eco-friendly of course, made of recycled plastics). And me? Books, a T-shirt, and a new water bottle.
And that’s considered a “light load” from SwagHer. (I mean, BlogHer).
I didn’t really need any of this stuff except for the backpack. My husband’s backpack is hanging by a shoulder thread – he’s been putting off that purchase. The kids? Yes, they’ve wanted to visit Build-a-Bear, but I’ve never taken them. Now we have discount coupons and bears to “dress.” And me? All I really wanted was an autographed copy of my friend Jennifer Taggert’s new book, Smart Mama’s Green Guide. (Thank you, Jennifer!)
Call it the “herd mentality.” We follow others’ leads. And there were very few women at the conference who didn’t participate in the conspicuous consumption. At times the blow-out parties and swag made me wonder if it was ’99 instead of ’09. It sure didn’t seem like the Great Recession at BlogHer.
Hey, I knew my kids would love those teddy bears even though they already had bears at home. Everyone else was taking bears back to their kids! And they were blogger bears! And I was right, wasn’t I? Doesn’t Boo look cute cuddling that bear?
The notion of feting women bloggers, of celebrating their achievements, and of giving gifts to women who may not treat themselves to much in life (especially the Moms) – was heartwarming. But with so many extravagant parties and suites, the evening scene at BlogHer turned into a combination of Halloween trick-or-treating and Mardi Gras. And with so many sponsored bloggers interrupting others conversations to give a product pitch, heck, at times BlogHer seemed like a crazy reality TV show that was interrupted by sponsored programming! Don’t get me wrong…a lot of it was fun. Who doesn’t like parties? But somewhere, somehow, things seemed to become a bit…excessive.
Aside from the environmental implications of all “that stuff” we really don’t need, the other major impact of “SwagHer” was that for many women, all that time lining up to get into swag suites came at the expense of deeper conversations with the women we commune with online everyday. It’s sad that so many women left Blogher bemoaning the fact that they didn’t have time to really talk and connect with the women they met. What were we doing?
I think next year BlogHer will be different…many of us “greenies” — and even those who don’t consider themselves “green bloggers” have been emailing and tweeting about options for next year – everything from a new track within BlogHer to swag-free conference to a separate online or “in real life” conference. We’re in the brainstorming stages.
Still, BlogHer was a fabulous experience. Although I personally thought some of it was over the top, everyone is different. In fact, one of the great things about BlogHer was to see how diverse the blogging community is – something you could get a sense for at the “Birds of a Feather” luncheons. (No, it’s not all about Mom bloggers…And full disclosure, I’m co-authoring a marketing report about the conference with Maryanne Conlin, aka @mcmilker. )
Here are some pix of the fabulous women I enjoyed so much at Blogher .
Photo: Some of the Green Moms Carnival Members at BlogHer: Top Row, LtoR – Lynn of OrganicMania; Micaela of Mindful Momma. Bottom Row, L to R: Maryanne of Not Quite Crunchy Parent; Lisa of Condo Blues; Beth of Fake Plastic Fish and Diane of Big Green Purse. Missing: Sommer of Green and Clean Mom and Jennifer of The Smart Mama.
My trip to BlogHer was made possible by my sponsors. Last year I missed BlogHer. And as I blogged here, I wasn’t even planning to go to BlogHer until Stonyfield Farm approached me about a sponsorship. Getting to a major conference and back is expensive – especially for someone with a small business still in “upstart” mode. So a huge thank you to wonderful @StonyfieldSarah from Stonyfield Farm. It was great meeting you at BlogHer! And thanks to my other sponsors – my former client Mom Made Foods and Snikiddy, a local Mom-led company based right where I live and work in Bethesda, Maryland. Thanks to them, thanks to Blogher’s corporate sponsors, and thank you to the founders of BlogHer for pursuing an incredible vision of blogging community that has brought so much to so many.
See you in New York! I think we’ll all be treading a bit more lightly on Mother Earth at the next conference!
Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Blog | Wordpress Comments (8) |
I’m the worst when it comes to posting press interviews. One would think I would have this down by now since it’s part of what I do for a living, but I always wind up feeling awkward about doing so (only when it comes to me, of course, not my clients!)
Anyway, after a month’s delay and with great apologies to Elisa Parker, producer and host of See Jane Do, here is a link to the interview posted about the online green activism practiced by the women at the Green Moms Carnival. Joining me in the interview is Green Moms Carnival Founding Member, author, environmental expert, and XRF-gun wielding lead-toy-tester Jennifer Taggert – also known as The Smart Mama – and Lisa Frack, online parent organizer at The Environmental Working Group. You can click here for a podcast of the interview which was broadcast on community radio station KVMR.
See Jane Do is the newest program program launched by nationally acclaimed community radio station KVMR, which documentary filmmaker Michael Moore calls “the best public radio station in America.” Thanks to a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, See Jane Do is being distributed to a national audience. Their focus is on ”capturing the stories of everyday women doing extraordinary things for the planet.” The producers have already gotten some fabulous interviews archived on line with fellow Green Moms Carnival Founding Member Diane MacEachern, author of The Big Green Purse; Chef Ann (transformed school lunches with Alice Waters), Joan Blades of MomsRising.org and MoveOn.org, Elisa Camahort Page of BlogHer and Anya Fernald, director of Slow Food Nation.
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Uncategorized | Wordpress Comment (0) |
Normally the Green Moms Carnival runs the first Monday of each month, which means by rights you should be enjoying the posts today. Coming on the heels of our win for “Best Green Content” on Twitter in the first Shortys Award Competition, we’re eager to kick off the next carnival.
Eager but tired.
My friend Jennifer Taggert, aka The Smart Mama is hosting the next carnival over at her site next Monday. She and I were up until 3 a.m. EST/midnight PST sending out a stream of crazy tweets trying to round up the final votes in the competition. I don’t know about you, but it takes me a lot longer to recover from staying up till 3 a.m. than it did in my single days!
Many of you have contacted me asking how to participate in the next carnival. Here’s how:
1. Write a post on the topic of “I Believe.” As Jennifer explains it, “This is an open topic. The idea stems from a website I read a year or so ago that asked people to do post 500 words starting with the words “I believe . . . ” The particular website was a toxicologist’s website, so the various posts were all technical in nature.
But, the idea here is to talk about what we believe – do you believe small steps can change the world? the power of the big green purse (Diane)? that we can (or can’t) solve global warming? that Obama means a new era? You could talk about faith & being green, or whatever. It really is open. Just start with the words I believe and reflect from there. But keep it green or healthy or non toxic in the theme of our carnival.”
3. Submit your post to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, February 8th.
Please bear in mind that due to the volume of submissions, there is no guarantee your submission will be chosen. Posts are selected purely at the discretion of the blogger hosting each month. Rules are posted here on the home page.
And if you just want to check out the submissions, be sure to visit my friend Jennifer, who truly is one SmartMama, next Monday, February 9th.
Thanks for your interest!
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Green Moms Carnival Home Page & Calendar | Wordpress Comment (1) |
People who know me “in the real world” know I’m not shy. You can still tell that I was the girl voted “most talkative” in my high school class! Yet when it comes to the blogosphere, I haven’t always been my normal gregarious self. I’ve been ribbed about not having a picture up on Twitter, and for trying to pass myself off as Catherine Zeta Jones here on OrganicMania.
There’s something special about connecting with other like-minded souls though the power of our words. When I read blogs, I think about the blogger’s sentiments. I don’t look at someone who may or may not share my race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or age.
Yet as I prepared for BlogHER DC and my first face-to-face meeting with some of my Green Mom’s Carnival friends, I reverted to the old stereotype that I poked fun of in this post, BlogHERs Worrying About What to Wear. Of course, I had more to worry about than just meeting a bunch of cybersisters for the first time – I was also self-conscious about appearing on camera for noted documentary film maker Min Sook Lee’s upcoming film.
I couldn’t avoid the camera this time. This was something different – something worth doing. Min Sook is trying to raise awareness of the toxic products marketed to the most innocent among us – our babies.
She first spoke to Sommer Poquette aka Green & Clean Mom about her film project, and Sommer suggested that Min fly to DC’s BlogHER conference to meet several of the other “Green Moms Carnival” Moms. Although we email each other on a near-daily basis, it was the first time we had all met each other – Jenn Savedge of The Green Parent, Jennifer Taggert, aka SmartMama, Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse fame, Jess, formerly of SurelyYouNest and late of Green Phone Booth, and Sommer.
So I put aside my fears and put on my lead-free lipstick and marched out to the conference. We enjoyed BlogHER and met up for dinner afterwards, joined by C. Levine of FoodieTots.
It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my journey as a mother. These women are so bright, and so committed to making a difference and to empowering other women to make the right decisions for the health of their children.
And as I looked around the BlogHER conference room at all the women I didn’t know, I smiled at a few of the BlogHERs. As I looked at their faces, I wondered about what was going on inside their heads. What words of wisdom would pour out of their blogs the next day as they reflected on BlogHER?
In some sense, I wish I hadn’t been so preoccupied with Min and the cameras – I missed much of the conference as Min filmed The Smart Mama testing Big Boy’s toys for lead. (Be sure to read Jess’s great post about what turned up in the lead testing). But next year, there will be another BlogHER. The opportunity to be a part of Min’s film and to connect with these very special “Green Moms” was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Just one more example of how blogging truly has changed my life.
Copyright 2008 OrganicManiaFiled under Green moms, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (10) |