Friday, August 2, 2013

BlogHer13 Recap - the Sessions & the Parties!

Earlier this week I began to go through and put some of my thoughts to paper - or, well, keyboard - about my recent trip to BlogHer.  {If you've missed my other BlogHer posts, I chatted already about the lodging and food here.}  Following the same theme, let's chat about the sessions & the parties today.

BlogHer13 Recap - The sessions & parties

Let's start with the sessions, which ran all day on Friday and Saturday.

Sessions:

Overall, I think my opinion on the sessions varied based on which session we're discussing.  There were a few that I absolutely loved, but there were a few that I found to be a bit rough around the edges.  I tend to be someone who really doesn't like to get up and leave while someone is speaking, as I feel it's pretty rude - but there were a few sessions I did leave during BlogHer to move to another session.  Overall, it was difficult to find sessions that weren't extremely basic, yet weren't way over my head.  It seemed like a lot of the sessions were meant for someone who either had just started blogging or for someone who was a professional blogger - not too much for those in the middle like I am.  There were also a few sessions where the speaker was mainly just discussing their opinions - and didn't give any information that was able to transfer into improving my own blog.  Additionally, there was one session I was really interested in attending that was actually cancelled a few minutes prior to when it was supposed to begin - but I heard a rumor that was due to a medical emergency.

BlogHer13 Recap - The sessions & parties

That said, there were a few sessions I found to be extremely well-presented and with a wealth of information for a blogger at my level.  Those sessions this year were the Advanced Marketing/Monetization Facebook and Pinterest session {Jill from One Good Thing by Jillee & Phyllis from Phyllis Khare}, the Photo Workshop DSLR Debrief {Amanda from Kevin&Amanda}, and the Beginner Marketing & Monetization Presentation: Media Kits {Jolawn from speLhouseLove} sessions.  I definitely took information from all three of those sessions that I will be putting into practice here on my blog.  All of those three sessions were full of a wealth of information, but also presented by speakers who explained who they were and why they were qualified to be giving that talk before they even started the session.  Two of the sessions followed slides but the Pinterest/Facebook session was almost all Q&A, and luckily I didn't have many answers to about 99% of the questions asked during that session - so it was really helpful for me.

One session that I found to be very frustrating was the Back to Basics SEO.  That session was promoted as one of the "Beginner Tools & Technology" sessions, however - it was anything but beginner.  Not only was it mainly focused on Wordpress blogs only, but the speaker moved very quickly through really dense slides that were moderate to advanced information in nature.  I was expecting a beginner SEO course to explain SEO in simple terms and talk about ways to improve SEO in a slightly dumbed-down manner.  This course was definitely not that.

BlogHer13 Recap - The sessions & parties

In general, though, I feel that there were many pieces of information I'll be taking from the sessions to put into practice on my blog.  As a newer-but-not-new blog - there are plenty of things I can do in the future to help build my little nest on the internet, and several of these sessions will surely help me to get there.

Let's move on to the parties, because - you know you're waiting to hear!  

The Parties:

Because of all of my running around to be sure I pumped as well as a few private events I attended, I wasn't actually able to attend all of the BlogHer'13 parties.  Although I'm not exactly sure if there is anyone who did, because there were a ton of different parties.  Here's a list of just the events on Friday night alone:

BlogHer13 Recap - The sessions & parties

I found the BlogHer sponsored parties to be well-planned, well-manned with good wait staff, and stocked with food and drinks.  Many of the parties I attended this year were in suites, and - because of this - they were quite a bit smaller than I'd expected them to be in size.  However, it did lend to a very relaxed feel where I was able to just let down my hair a little bit {out of my BlogHer braids?} and spend some time with my friends.  

There were, however, some larger parties BlogHer hosted as well, such as the Fashion Show after party and Voices of the Year Reception.  Those parties were larger, included a dance floor, and also had some sponsors in attendance as well.  

BlogHer 13 Sessions and Parties

{For example:  Nicole and I, otherwise known as jean jacket twins, rocking out in our Monster headphones}

On the whole, I really enjoyed all of the parties, even though I'm a fuddy-duddy who is in pajamas by 6p on most nights at home.  I know that there were several private events that others {as well as myself} attended, but I found it to be really great not to have to worry about trekking it around the city of Chicago when there were awesome events in the host hotel.  ...Although I will neither confirm nor deny that Nicole, MJ, & I got lost in the underground bus tunnel underneath the Sheraton trying to find the Sheraton.  Yeah.  That was fun.  And smelly.

One note on the BlogHer parties though would be to remember your conference pass!  I know that there were quite a few people who left their conference pass in their room, thinking they only needed it for the day time events.  Conference passes were checked {and sometimes scanned} at all sessions, events, and the Expo hall.  If you didn't have your conference pass with you or on your body, you weren't able to get into the events.  

How did you like the BlogHer parties?  Which was your favorite?

{And don't forget to stick around for more - I have posts upcoming about the BlogHer Expo Hall, the SWAG, and how to succeed as a breastfeeding or pumping mother at the conference!}

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