Biggest Surprise of the Weekend
I NEVER had to wait for a bathroom! There were over 3,800 women bloggers that descended on the San Diego Convention Center, yet I never had to wait in line to pee. In fact, most of the time, the bathrooms were relatively empty. Thank you, San Diego Convention Center for making sure to put in enough bathrooms everywhere!
Most Surreal Part of BlogHer '11
In general, the official BlogHer '11 parties were pretty surreal. People decorated McDonald bags and wore them as hats during one party. Another party's theme was appropriate for 8-year old girls (cardboard cut-outs of hunky men, glitter, unicorns, and even a friggin' My Little Pony adorned the room). But the most surreal thing was The People's Party. The Bloggess hosts this party. In the past, however, she never shows up for her own party. She doesn't feel comfortable in crowds, so she hangs out in a nearby bathroom and people just find her there to socialize.
I was anxious to meet her, so I went to the nearest bathroom to introduce myself. She wasn't there, but she left a note saying she was at the party. I was confused, but I thought I'd track her down. While I search the room, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before: a corner of the room was curtained off. When I peeked in, I noticed that area was like a beautiful bathroom you'd find at a ritzy spa, sans toilets though. The Bloggess was there, holding court. When I went up to introduce myself and compliment her on her digs, she said that the arrangement was a complete surprise to her. I guess the BlogHer organizers felt it was high time that she attended her own party, so they set up a quiet sanctuary for her to enjoy her party in!
I wasn't the biggest fan of the sessions. I didn't find many relevant or useful to me, which disappointed me a lot! However, I found that this opened up my schedule to raid the exhibitor's area to score swag.
The Coolest Part of the Exhibitor's Area
Believe it or not, the coolest thing wasn't the swag (surprising, considering I was hoping to score whatever swag I could). The coolest thing was just the energy level of the room! I had an amazing time talking with all the companies who were so excited about their products and having a blast interacting with them. These folks are really excited about working with women bloggers to help show-off their wares. My personal favorite thing was getting into the Chuck E. Cheese ticket booth to try and grab as many tickets as I could in 30 seconds. I think I succeeded in grabbing 5 in my hands! Luckily, they let you keep whatever else you can walk out with. I think about 40 tickets ended up getting caught in my cleavage! Yay me!
Another surprise was that many of the companies wanted to share the charity work they were involved in and hoping to engage the bloggers to share with their readers. It was really nice to see some corporations take on some social good issues! I'd like to see more companies take on these tasks!
Best BlogHer Party
My favorite party was the "Aim Low" party. This was a party geared toward people who generally don't like to party. I really didn't want to go to it, because I like to party. It turned out to be great! The music was low enough that you can actually talk to other people, they gave out bottles of wine (yay) and massages! It was an awesome party!
Worst BlogHer Party
The worst party was the Queerosphere party. There were drag queens there! I should have LOVED this party! But for some reason, it was completely dead. I don't know why, but this party was a drag--excuse the pun!
The Best Part of the Conference
The best part of the conference was meeting my fellow bloggers. It was so wonderful to meet people in the real world and have a chance to connect with them in person. I met a lot of really cool women! I'm hoping to go through the 400 cards I collected to add them to my Twitter rolls and check out a blog or 200. It was so much fun to meet so many people who share the same passion that I do.
It can be really hard to connect with people you want to meet when there are 3,800 women in one spot. Because of this, I'm especially grateful to Julia Roberts for organizing the Special Needs Mini-Conference. (No, she's not the actress Julia Roberts!) This consisted of our own room on Friday for lunch, followed by a session on special needs blogging issues. It was great! My only complaint was that it would have been even better to have even more time to mingle with these amazing bloggers. Maybe BlogHer will expand this even more for next year's conference!
Most Disappointing Thing I Missed
I am disappointed that I missed seeing a flash mob dance which was done in the main lunch area during the special needs mini-con! This was a huge disappointment when I heard about it. I'll have to look on You-tube for it!
I'm sure I'll have more information to pass along, but these are the points that stuck out in my fried brain! I spent a lot of time laughing and crying from the power of the written word. It was just an amazing weekend!