I spent all last week attending events from two Mashable parties to the PSFK conference. Along the way I had the chance last thursday evening to attend the opening parties for Blogher - the conference dedicated to women bloggers. The first party was co-sponsored by Alltop and Kirtsy and held in Guy Kawasaki's house in the backyard (see all my photos on Flickr). It was a great relatively exclusive affair with just about every top female blogger you can imagine and just a few guys thrown in. I managed to score an invite thanks to the super nice Kirtsy gals (Laura, Gabrielle and Laurie) and the fact that I was giving away some copies of PNI and all the attendees were wearing their own Nametag 2.0s, which technically made me a sponsor. As I spent the evening being vastly outnumbered by women and getting just a taste of the excitement of the Blogher Conference (which I unfortunately missed the rest of due to the fact I had to be in LA the day after).
As I spoke to more and more people at the party, I learned a few things about the blogosphere, blogging and women bloggers that struck me as worth sharing:
- Woman blogger does NOT equal "mommy blogger." There were quite a few women bloggers who were writing professional content, or hobby related content that clearly wasn't in the category of mommy blogging. Sometimes the easy assumption the many marketers make about Blogher is that it's a network of mom blogs. Actually, there's a lot more to the group than that one category of blogger.
- The first question at Blogher isn't about what you do. Most of the time, there is a temptation at many social media networking events to focus on what your job is and what you do as a first way to get to know people. At the Blogher parties, people were not introducing themselves in this way. As a result, I got to know much more of the personal stories of people as I met them, like where they live or whether they have kids or what they were excited about from the rest of the weekend. The networking was much deeper as a result.
- Rockstars were distributed and size didn't matter. At many other social media events, some bloggers are treated like complete rockstars. I have written before about how this feeds a delusion LINK TO OTHER POST that we all need to fight. At Blogher, whether you had a huge blog or a small blog, people were not basing their interactions on your percieved importance. As a result, bloggers of all levels of fame could feel comfortable at the event.
- There was very little conference fatigue among attendees. Many of the women at Blogher were not on the conference "circuit." They hadn't been to twelve other social media events and were not as cynical as some people who attend too many events and have seen just about everything. The level of excitement was therefore much higher about this conference because for many of the attendees, this may be one of only events of this type and scale that they attend all year.
I've been reading many more real time observations from others who had the chance to attend the entire event, and it has made me completely jealous that I was not able to be there for more of it. I am definitely going to do my best to be part of their next event and if you happen to be a female blogger, I highly recommend that you consider it too. Along with SXSW, Blogher may very well become one of the best events of the year for social media types.
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