BlogHer 2011 Diary, Day 2

And so, my first ever conference for bloggers comes to a screeching halt.


I was just beginning to learn at the feet of giants!  And by this I mean, bloggers who have been blogging way longer than I and who have far more experience than this gal from Queens, aka, me. And yet, this week does mark my one-year anniversary of blogging. One year?

Hooray for me! That’s 112 posts in 12 months and nearly 30,000 page views!

But anyway, I was just beginning to learn the secrets to their success!  And I was beginning to recognize that Mommy Bloggers–of which I am not one–are the new Soccer Moms, and they sure have a whole lot of clout!  Witness all the private parties, luncheons, spa treatments, hosted by big-ticket sponsors—just for them! From what I could tell, Mommy Bloggers represent 75% of all bloggers.  But that is solely based on how 2 out of 3 bloggers I met were MB’s.

Here’s what else I discovered:

Bloggers are very supportive of each other:  I met many a blogger willing to answer my questions and offer me tips of the trade.  Like, how mediabistro is a great site for anyone who creates or works with content, and I can learn my clout score by going to klout, which determines your level of engagement in social media. I’m a 37 and my score increased by 1 point over the past day (which I assume is a result of attending the conference and tweeting like crazy while I was there). Here are some other highlights of my conference experience:

Here, I’m with She Writes member and Assignment & Syndication Editor, Rita Arens. Rita participated on a panel, “Owning Your Beauty: If We Change the Conversation, Can We Change the Culture?”  Hmm, that’s a tough question to answer in just one sentence. What do you think?

Each of the sponsors had a suite. Here I am in the Hallmark suite with new friends and fellow bloggers, Margo (Nacho Mama’s Blog) and Berenice (Adventures of Three). Aren’t we cute?

Lisa Stone, Co-Founder & CEO of BlogHer, moderates closing keynote with, from left to right: Fatemeh FakhraleRicki Lake (yes, the Ricki Lake!), and Carol Jenkins. The topic, “Women in the Media, Women Making Media” was very insightful and empowering.

After all is said and done, I got a chance to sit down with Lisa Stone, Co-Founder and CEO of BlogHer, and let her know just how much the conference meant to me. Lisa gave a big shout out to Kamy and She Writes.  “I LOVE She Writes!” Lisa exclaimed.

Well, it’s officially over. I made lot of contacts, new friends–and so many memories! Hasta luego, BlogHer11. Thank you for giving me plenty of opportunities to network and nosh. It was sheer heaven!

Please note: Because I was so busy attending BlogHer11, The Road Taken saga will continue next week. So, stay tuned!

BlogHer 2011 Diary, Day 1

Now that I’m blogging, I don’t get out much. What can I say, but I’m glued to my computer, and my mantra is always the same: gotta write, gotta write.  Of course, I make an exception, now and then, this being one of them.  I’m one of 3,600 bloggers attending the BlogHer 2011 conference being held right here, in San Diego.  In the same locale that just two weeks ago hosted the famous–and infamous–Comic-Con.

Well, having spent my first day at BlogHer 2011 yesterday, and returned home exhausted and full—because, frankly, there was just too much to eat—here are my random thoughts and observations on Day One:

That's me at the conference! I forced someone to take my picture.

Everything seemed well organized, except maybe the speed dating during the morning session, which is designed as a networking tool for bloggers to learn about each other. But perhaps it’s too much to expect 3,000 or so participants to form proper lines and switch to the next person every couple of minutes. Plus, it was hard to hear the instructions above all the chatter.

Men are BlogHers, too.  They represent a small percentage of the total number of attendees, but they’re here, they’re proud and they blog.  And what do they blog about? What else? Parenting and traveling.

At lunch, I got to meet the team behind Hispanicize, a resource for Latino social media marketers and bloggers.  Actually, I was not familiar with this group until today and found them to be an extraordinary group of individuals with a passion for what they do. Manny Ruiz, chairman and co-founder has a blog of his own, PapiBlogger and is blogging about his journey from Miami to Alaska, with a stop in San Diego for BlogHer conference!

I also got to meet Margo, the amazing woman behind Nacho Mama’s Blog.  Margo’s been blogging for about six years now, and has brought the art of blogging to a whole new level. I hope to learn a lot from Margo, who’s got some dance moves, too. Yesterday, during lunch, she was one of 100 or so who participated in a flash mob. Something I had never seen live. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Margo, the Nacho Mama, does the flash mob thing.

Power strips at every table are a smart idea!  I have an iPad and iPhone and brought my charger with me, thinking I’d have to find a wall with an electrical outlet and stand next to it while waiting for my electronics to charge. Not necessary with power strips handy on every table during the breakout sessions.  Anyone who needed to, could just plug in and power up!

Dove Ice Cream makes divine ice cream.  Like I said, there was PLENTY to eat. At every turn, down every corridor, there was something to nosh on. The peanut butter swirl ice cream dipped in chocolate, was heavenly.  I also enjoyed the fruit served on skewers, which made it easy to carry to the next session. Don’t even get me started on all the food samples in the Expo area.

It’s a small world after all.  In a post I wrote for She Writes about the conference, I indicated that I’d only met one She Writes member, Sidney Patrick.  Which immediately caused another member in attendance to comment on my post.  “I’m here, too!” wrote Lauren Marie Fleming from Portland, Oregon. “Let’s meet up,” she added.  So we tweeted back and forth, making plans to meet and, gradually, we came to realize that the entire time we were tweeting each other, Lauren was actually sitting directly behind me, just a few feet away, in a session on Peer Networking.

And during said session, Lauren asked the panel what they thought about She Writes as a resource for networking.  Turns out, the person who responded, Ananda Leeke, founder of Digital Sisterhood Network, is also a She Writes member and absolutely adoresthe site.  She is a big fan and friend of Kamy Wykoff, the Founder and CEO.  “When Kamy told me she was starting She Writes, and asked me to participate, I was in,” Ananda said.  She went on to describe how it was Kamy’s passion and belief in She Writes that inspired her to get involved.  Which just goes to show you, Ananda, who’s been a member since the very beginning, knows what most all of us know—She Writes is the best place to be for women writers everywhere!

That's me with the Renna Family, including Sara Agnello (far left), the brains behind the business, if you ask me.

During my walk through the Expo, I got to meet a lovely family:  The Renna Family. Turns out, they have a decidedly delicious family business:  Michael Angelo’s Italian Gourmet Italian Food.  I’ve been enjoying their eggplant parmesan for years, which tastes very homemade if you ask me, and never suspected that there was a real family behind this company (as opposed to a corporate conglomerate).  Well, to Sara Agnello, the matriarch, who knows a thing or two about cooking, I say, “It was so nice to meet you and your loving family.”

Finally, today I collected about 100 business cards and gave out just as many.  There are a lot of cool, creatively-designed business cards out there. Some dare to be different—smaller or narrower than the typical business card—but I don’t like those, because they’re easy to lose. One blogger forgot hers, and wrote her name for me on a post-it note. She also included her blog’s name, though at first I thought she was just sending me a message. Here’s what the post-it note said:

“Life Doesn’t Have to Suck.”

I’m glad of that.  Stay tuned for Day Two!