My BlogHer this year was pretty much a big sundae with a thousand cherries on top. I know there have been some reports of swaghogging and general misbehavior and/or cliqueishness but my own experience was incredibly positive. That's not to say I didn't experience moments of social anxiety or feelings of inadequacy or even experience times when I wished I had never heard of BlogHer or the Internet. But on the whole it was as it has been the last two years: an experience I wouldn't miss for the world.
If nothing else, I got to talk and listen about blogging, social media, and the Internet-technology-at-large for 3 whole days. For the rest of the 362 days out of the year I get very few opportunities to get my geek on so BlogHer is a pretty fun place for someone like me. And if that weren't enough I get to see all my friends from inside the computer in one place. For a whole weekend. WITH BOOZE, a lot of it FREE. I'm sorry, but if you know me you are probably shaking your head in disbelief that I ever came home.
My panel on microblogging went really well and it was incredibly fun to do. Which, honestly, surprised me because I was pretty nervous beforehand. But often when I am sitting in audience at the panels I wish I could just chime in on the conversation whenever I want and this time I could chime in to my heart's content. That was really fun. Especially because I was having a conversation with such interesting women, both on the panel and in the audience. I hope that I added some new insight on why microblogging (i.e. Twitter) is such a compelling format. I know that I learned a lot from Erin, Susan and Lucretia as well as from everyone who spoke from the room. I would love to do it again and I sincerely hope I get the opportunity.
The other panels that really stood out for me were The Transformational Power of Blogging, Women of Color and Marketing, and Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard. All were really interesting with fascinating women on the panels. Women of Color and Marketing may have been my very favorite and not because HeatherB is my friend and Thruway neighbor or because Karen Waldron called me a genius when I stood up to ask a question (whereupon I lied down and whispered into the mike that God could take me now) but because of my absolute conviction that the world we live in now is a far better place than the world we were living in just two years ago. I left the panel brimming with optimism, which with me is no mean feat. Then again the comedy panel might win as favorite for the motherf*cking LULZ. Holy crap did these women bring it. I was truly laughing my ass off as I was sitting on a very hard floor (another totally overflowing room). It was totally inspiring and made me want badly to strive to improve my funny. But then again the stories in the Transformational Power panel had me weeping. Listening to Kate from Sweet|Salty made me want to kiss the Internet on the lips. It is a completely transformative medium in the adept's hands. And, boy howdy, is she ever an adept.
Other highlights were both speeches and spaces. Like last year, the Community Keynote was a knock-out. Amazing stories told by incredibly brave people. My only criticism was that they did not hand out Kleenex and I had to keep bumming it off JenB. (Hello? Kimberly-Clark? I am no marketing whiz but I know an branding opportunity when I see it.) And the Saturday morning keynote with Tina Brown, Donna Byrd, and Ilene Chaiken was outstanding. When Tina Brown started things off by saying that she would never want to go back to print my jaw went crashing into my cherry danish. And it pretty much stayed there. The Shutter Sisters suite was an oasis in the chaos. Seeing Tracey and Jen again was a treat and they and the other sisters were so generous with the space. And Isabel and her cohorts outdid themselves with the CheeseburgHer party as well as the Recovery Breakfast in the presidential f-ing suite. Fabulous doesn't even cut it.
As wonderful as the panels and keynotes and as fun as the parties and the bags of free stuff can be the sundae cherries that were the sweetest were my old friends and my brand new ones. So many awesome friends.The parties? They were fun because my friends were there and I met all kinds of new friends. The late night Chi Bar scene? Fun because I was with my friends. The musical chairs seating at breakfast? Great because I met cool new people at random.The run to Walgreens for Visine? Fun because my friends reminded me to get Advil too. I can't, and won't, list everyone because it's late and I'll forget someone incredibly wonderful and I can't stand that. You'll see many, but by no means all, on my Flickr stream (if I ever finish uploading, which feels unlikely right now). But I will mention just one: my sister, Kara, made it this year and that was the cherry de la cherry. She took BlogHer by storm and I fully expect everyone to be saying "aren't you Kara's sister?" next year. Next year? New York City, kids. She'll be coming. And I hope you will be too. We'll have a blast. If you can get me to shut up about the Internet for five minutes.