I know most of you readers aren’t bloggers but for my blogger friends, this post might be interesting. And I hope the rest of you can grin and get through this just for today. A few weeks ago, I attended my first ever blog conference in Chicago. This particular blogging conference is supposed to be the largest one in the country and it is through a community called BlogHer. I’ve been on BlogHer for a few years and while it is interesting and useful for blogging information, I find the content on their website overwhelming. Too many tabs, too much information. I was nervous to attend the conference as I am still a beginner and blogging isn’t something you can I can just go take a local class on. You learn from other bloggers, sometimes books, through online resources and I was hoping to add blogging conference to the list. Much to my surprise, the conference “preclasses” started off with a bang, a very political one at that. I was sitting in a room with approximately 300 or so ladies and felt completely isolated. While BlogHer made a comment through the interview process with their guest speaker that they were nonpartisan, I was pretty sure I was the only one in the room who felt the presence of evil. It was so scary to me, all the hair on my arms stood straight up. And I’m thinking the whole time, what the heck does this have to do with blogging????? Needless to say, I was the only person in the room who did not give the guest speaker a standing ovation at the end of her speech or applauded her. That was the start. I wasn’t sure if I should still attend the rest of the conference or just go home at that point. The conference turnout was supposed to be about 6000 women. And I can’t say how many there were for sure, but it was hosted at two locations, one at a hotel and another at a convention center. Let me tell you, for a conference that is in its ninth year, you would think it would be well oiled machine. All I kept hearing from people is how they were lost, I got lost and even one of the moderators at a session missed half of the event because they were lost. Really? Good signage, great maps and a few people to pointing the way would have really helped. The best part about the conference was hearing The Pioneer Woman speak. She was just the way she is on her blog, witty, down-to-earth and I know we could be fast friends. 🙂 I even got my picture taken with her. Beyond all of the politics and getting lost, I tried to learn something. I did my best to navigate the sessions based on the poor information that was given about what to expect to learn at each. The first two days were almost a total loss. The last day I think I finally found a few good sessions simply because I got to talk one-on-one with some folks. But the really sad part is that I left there feeling like most of my questions weren’t answers. What I did take away were networking opportunities and resources to finding my answers out. I would be willing to try another different conference out after carefully reading more about it. I have a sneaking suspicion I’d learn more with an online class. So I guess the conferences are all about networking??? Would I go back to BlogHer? Not in this lifetime.
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