Monday, August 15, 2011

BlogHer '11 Special Needs Mini-Conference

This is embarrassing to admit but I didn't know about the BlogHer '11 Special Needs Mini-Conference until about two weeks before BlogHer '11. I knew I was going to the BlogHer conference for an entire year! About 8 months before the conference, I put my name on a list of bloggers who addressed special needs issues. I thought the purpose behind the list was so that we would all know who was going so we could meet up for dinner or something.

Then, one night when I was in Twitter, Julia Roberts from Support for Special Needs tweeted me that she needed me to submit a photo for the mini-conference. I was really confused. She explained that the BlogHer was graciously providing lunch on one of the days for the special needs bloggers, and we were having our own panel after the lunch. I had no idea! I was so thrilled!

It turned out that the Special Needs Mini-Conference was the absolute highlight of BlogHer for me! For one thing, I was able to meet all my fellow bloggy friends and idols that I've long wanted to meet. And they were all in one room! The other highlight was that the topic discussion was the most relevant one I went to at BlogHer '11. I really enjoyed hearing people discuss the challenges of blogging in a niche that maybe many outsiders didn't really want to read. We talked about how to make our blogs more accessible and relevant to all readers.

We definitely didn't always agree on our approaches (do we ever?). For example, we talked about whether writing anonymously or writing under our real names were important. We also talked about how divided our communities were when they really should be united to get actual change in providing support for our kids.

I left the session feeling I could conquer the world!

And did I mention that the food BlogHer provided was sublime? They actually provided us with much better food than the general conference received including a dessert table with about 5 different desserts. It was fabulous that they provided so much support for our community.

My only complaint was that the mini-conference should have been longer! The lunch and one session wasn't enough to cover everything or even have good chitchat time with my colleagues. We're all beginning to think that this should be an all-day thing or even a separate conference.

It was fabulous and I want to thank Julia Roberts for putting this event together, even if she did refuse to give me an autograph (hehe).


  1. I feel the same way about the mini-conference. It could have gone on all day for me. I really hope the next time we do it we will be able to break out for sessions on how to advocate, relaxation techniques, alternative therapies, etc.

  2. I'm so glad you all did this. I really badly wish that I could have been there!

  3. What a great post (so true about the food!) -- about to add it right now.

    So glad to heave met you...meeting everyone in the room was a highlight. 100% of the comments we're hearing is more time! BlogHer folks know!

    @stimey - next year?

  4. It's probably a step forward that there was a special needs mini-conference at all. Maybe you do need an extra day for special needs writers tacked onto the beginning or end of these types of conferences.

  5. A separate conference would be awesome! I'm so jealous you got to meet people there.

  6. When I popped my head in the room looking for you, I was blown away by the feel and the energy in there! What an awesome experience, and I am SO glad you were able to go!

  7. I'm sooooo bummed I missed this! I was being pulled in 100 different directions that day. I hope they will do a special needs pathfinder day next year.

  8. What an amazing opportunity to get to talk with other bloggers! I hope you tried all the desserts.

  9. So glad we both found out about it at the last minute and I'm so glad that I got to meet you! Was the food really better at the mini conference!? LOL I had assumed it was the same stuff. Lucky us!
    I agree it needs to be longer next year. And maybe, more introductions? Are you going next year? Maybe we can catch the same flight. :)

  10. It sounds great, I'm very jealous! Also curious about the anonymity or not thing, would love to know more about that x