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BlogHer ’14 Recap: The Post is in the Comments!

Several of you have mentioned that you were looking forward to hearing about my time at BlogHer ’14, and I desperately want to write a recap or two (or five), but honestly? For whatever reason I’m having a really tough time pinning down (and then shaping into something shareable) any of the myriad thoughts and inspirations and musings that have been floating around in my head ever since I first set foot in San Jose last week.

I’ve tossed around ideas and made a few notes and drafted some posts, and I know I’ll be able to capture and nail down bits of my amazing experience in the form of words and sentences – eventually – but in the meantime I thought I’d try something a little different so as not to leave anyone hanging.

I’m going to ask YOU to help me write my post!

A week ago... #blogher14

Do you have a burning question for me about BlogHer ’14? Interested in what I did, where I went, who I met, what I ate? Wonder how my trip went, where I stayed, what I thought of the city? Here’s your chance to ask! And then, as you post your questions in the comments section below, my answers will (hopefully) come together to form a synopsis of my time in San Jose – so your curiosity will be satisfied, and I’ll get my recap. Win-win!

What do you think? Let’s give it a try!

So… what do you want to ask me about my time at BlogHer ’14?
Please share!

NaBloPoMo August 2014

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Bethany August 2, 2014

    Sounds like a fun trip! What was your favorite part of the trip, something that really stood out to you?
    Bethany recently posted… Senior Year Tips for HomeschoolersMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 2, 2014

      It was a great trip, Bethany! I think my favourite part was the opportunity to spend time with and be surrounded by so many other bloggers – people who are doing the same sort of thing I’m doing, people who get it. Very few of my “real life” friends are bloggers, so it’s a real treat to be able to hang out with others who understand the ins and outs of blogging. And the fact that I found everyone to be so friendly, open, and approachable was the icing on the cake!
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: BigMy Profile

  • Cheryl Jones August 2, 2014

    I want to know what you thought of the food and what was your favourite thing you ate while you were in San Jose. Did you go to different restaurants or did you tend to eat in the same two or three places? Did you try anything different?

    Is this too many questions? LOL

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 2, 2014

      Not too many questions at all… though you’ll probably find my answer to be rather anticlimactic, as I found the food to be the LEAST exciting thing about my trip, LOL!

      I arrived on Wednesday and three of us ended up at a chain restaurant for dinner – Johnny Rockets – which was tasty but nothing different or special. Thursday was breakfast at Starbucks (what?!), followed later by lunch with three friends at the San Pedro Square Market (http://www.sanpedrosquaremarket.com/), where we each ordered something different and then came together to eat. I chose sushi, as I figured it would be my only chance to do so (I was back on the West Coast, after all!), and it was delicious but not overly filling.

      From then on, everything we ate was supplied by the conference centre caterers for BlogHer. Thursday dinner wasn’t really dinner, but rather finger food and snacks at the opening reception. Friday and Saturday breakfasts were fairly typical breakfast foods served buffet-style – they were probably my favourite meals of the conference, tasty and offering plenty of choice. I thought Friday and Saturday lunches were just meh – tossed salad and a sandwich one day (and fruit tarts for dessert which I couldn’t have, as they included kiwi fruit!) and a salad with the addition of chicken and/or beef and/or tofu, with a small plate of fresh fruit for dessert, on the other. Oh, and rolls. REALLY nothing to write home about!

      Friday dinner was once again reception finger food (tasty, but not overly filling unless you wanted to embarrass yourself by returning to the buffet again and again!), and Saturday dinner was – believe it or not – Happy Meals from McDonalds, who sponsored the closing party. (They were also passing around salads, but by then I’d had enough of the green stuff!) Again, not very filling.

      In between meals, several sponsors had drinks and/or snacks available in the Expo Hall, which helped to fill the gaps.

      So really, the food was probably my least favourite part about BlogHer ’14 – it was fuel, but nothing much beyond that. Thankfully the rest of the experience made up for it. 🙂
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: BigMy Profile

  • Beata August 2, 2014

    Hi Laurel,
    I am a very newbie blogger so I don’t even know what type of an event BlogHer is… Could yo include a sentence or two on that, please? 🙂
    Beata recently posted… Experiences Matter, Not Material ThingsMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 2, 2014

      Hi Beata – thanks for stopping by! First off, if you haven’t yet discovered the BlogHer site (http://www.blogher.com/), it is totally worth checking it out – then set up your own account (free!) and start cross-posting your blog posts to your BlogHer profile. It really helps to expand your readership… plus it’s possible one of the editors will see a post you’ve written that they feel warrants some extra attention, and feature it on the BlogHer site (which drives even MORE traffic to your post).

      The main conference is held once a year, and brings thousands of bloggers together for two days of networking, workshops, hands-on writing and technical labs, keynote addresses, opportunities to connect with brands and sponsors… oh, and FUN! (There is also an annual BlogHer Food conference which is geared specifically to food bloggers.) This year was my third time attending the main BlogHer conference, and each year I learn something new from the experience. I will do my best to return for as many years as they hold them!
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: BigMy Profile

  • Suzanne Fluhr
    Twitter:
    August 2, 2014

    From what I’ve read, it was a nice networking event and chance to see old friends, but did you find that you learned anything substantive about blogging or writing?
    Suzanne Fluhr recently posted… “If You Want to Make God Laugh, Tell Him About Your Plans.” Honolulu, Hawaii EditionMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 2, 2014

      Suzanne, I wouldn’t say that the workshop sessions themselves did that for me, as it seems that for the most part they’re geared toward helping newer, less experienced bloggers with taking their blogs to the next level. I learned more at the sessions I attended in my first and second years at the conference, back when I WAS less experienced in the business of blogging, than I did this year.

      But as far as I’m concerned, the keynotes are the main reason I attend the event each year, and once again they didn’t disappoint. Just hearing from so many inspirational people – some of them bloggers doing the same sort of thing I’m doing – gave me a charge of inspiration and a boost in creative energy and made me feel so much a part of a community that I never want to leave. For me, that gave me everything and more that I needed and was looking for.
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: BigMy Profile

  • Kay Lynn
    Twitter:
    August 2, 2014

    I want to know why we never got to meet!
    Kay Lynn recently posted… Surpahs Digital Body Fat Scale ReviewMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 2, 2014

      Yes! Me too! I feel as though I did meet so many of the people I wanted to see, but missed out on so many too. It’s difficult to connect with everyone – wish I’d had a couple more days! Next year, right? 🙂
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: BigMy Profile

  • Sammy d August 2, 2014

    What a great way to get yourself started on debriefing. I’m not surprised you aren’t able to coalesce your thoughts … yet. For me, it’s not unusual to mull and take notes and mull some more for months before my thoughts are coherent enough for posts. And that’s just my general musings, let alone a conference like this !

    Being an introvert and generally feeling “misfit” in crowds – I’m intrigued but hesitant to attend. Are attendees and conversations more “marketing-centered” or “connection-centered”? I absolutely LOVE the connections I’ve made with bloggers who blog because they value connections, and I would hate to have my enthusiasm dampened by attending a market-centered or primarily book-publishing convention. Of course I understand a desire to build an audience. But I want connections to bloggers, not exhortations to join all the social media out there.

    What say you?

    Since you’ve been more than once, you obviously like it. Do you tend to spend time with bloggers who follow you, bloggers you follow, bloggers you met the first time who come again? What the heck DO you do while you’re there. What specifically energized you this time -a person, a topic, a chance meeting? What drained you (besides the food)? Can I ask more q’s 🙂
    Sammy d recently posted… Tomato Tom-ah-toeMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 8, 2014

      Hi Sammy! While there are sessions on marketing your blog, improving your writing, and that sort of thing, I wouldn’t say that the overall focus or feel of the conference is on marketing. Networking is a huge part of the whole experience, with plenty of opportunity to make personal, meaningful connections. To me, the connections with other bloggers are part of what has always made my experience so amazing!

      For all three conferences my roomie Sabrina and I have spent lots of time together, meeting and connecting with others along the way – usually people we’d never previously met or heard of. This year we also met up with several women from a group of midlife bloggers of which we’re both part – people we’d only previously known online.

      The days at a BlogHer conference are FULL… from the Expo (connecting with brands/sponsors and getting freebies!), to meals, to keynotes from well-known people, to sessions and workshops, to the community keynote (“Voices of the Year” – which is what I think of as the heart of the conference), to receptions, to parties… and more! There is a lot going on, and little time to be bored or wonder what to do with yourself.

      This year I’d have to say that I was most energized by the connections I made – specific ones to individual bloggers, but also a general sense of being with “my people.” And really, the only part that drained me was a touch of jet lag from the three-hour time difference, LOL!

      Sorry it took me so long to get back to you – but ask as many questions as you’d like! 🙂
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: From NatureMy Profile

  • Susan - ofeverymoment
    Twitter:
    August 2, 2014

    This is such a creative idea for a post!
    My question would be regarding the sessions themselves. My computer skills are limited and I would really like to learn more about the “Backdoor” aspects (computer techy stuff) of blogging. Are there hands-on learning opportunities in any of the sessions?
    Susan – ofeverymoment recently posted… Farewell Yahoo Contributor Network – R.I.P.My Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 8, 2014

      Hi Susan – Yes there are! While I’ve never taken any of them myself, I know people who swear by the helpfulness and benefit of what are called “Geek Bar” sessions where you learn and get help with the technical end of things. BlogHer has thought of everything, it seems! 🙂
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: From NatureMy Profile

  • Suzy
    Twitter:
    August 2, 2014

    Obviously there were so many awesome moments. So if you had to pick one special moment which one would it be.
    Suzy recently posted… Under God’s HeavenMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 8, 2014

      I think for me, one of my favourite parts of the conference is always the Voices of the Year Community Keynote, where a number of selected bloggers get up and read one of their posts. A variety of topics are covered, and it’s a powerful and emotional time… my only regret is that EVERY year I forget to bring tissues. Because you need them!
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: From NatureMy Profile

  • marika August 2, 2014

    Okay, I am a little confused does Blogher help you with finding content or give you tips on how to keep constantly coming up with new content, or help you with your creativity — or is it about making blogging a business … I am asking because you mentioned the business of blogging.
    marika recently posted… Day 55 – 100 Happy DaysMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 8, 2014

      Hi Marika – BlogHer covers a little bit of everything to do with blogging, really, including all the things you mentioned and more! For me, the “business of blogging” doesn’t necessarily mean making blogging a business, but rather taking it a level beyond simply writing and sharing a post… e.g., making sure your blog is up to snuff from both a technical and editorial standpoint, promoting your blog on social media, intentionally building a readership and cultivating relationships, and so on. Does that make sense?
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: From NatureMy Profile

      • Marika August 15, 2014

        Yes and no. I guess, I understand if you are going to use your blog to promote your business I get it … but I have never understood blogging AS a business – and I’ve never gotten the appeal of blogs that are a business … but hey, I sure could use the technical help!
        Marika recently posted… Day 69 – 100 Happy DaysMy Profile

        • Laurel Regan
          Twitter:
          August 15, 2014

          I’m not someone who would want a blog as a business either – Alphabet Salad exists primarily as a platform for me to express myself and share my writing with whoever is interested in reading it. That said, opportunities DO come my way because I have a blog and have been building a readership – such as the product review I just did this week, and the sponsored post I did a few months ago – so I’m interested in making sure that in addition to being my own platform, it’s appealing to potential sponsors as well. After all, I only work part time and yet pay a chunk of money for my blog hosting, conferences, and so on – anything I can earn back via appropriate sponsored posts to help me pay for it is always welcome. 🙂
          Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: MoodyMy Profile

  • Eli August 3, 2014

    What a great event! Reading through all the questions- satisfied my curiosity, because I didnt know alot about the event itself either.. Sounds great. But did you get a lot of time outside the event – to explore the city? And if yes, what did you like the most and would recommend others to see once there>?
    Eli recently posted… Happy Friendship Day!My Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 8, 2014

      Hi Eli! Unfortunately I didn’t get much chance at all to explore. 🙁 What I’d really hoped to do was book some extra time at the end of the conference and drive up to San Francisco for a few days (it’s less than an hour’s drive away), but after paying for the conference, airfare, and hotel, I just didn’t have the funds to extend the trip. Maybe next time!
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: From NatureMy Profile

  • Raquel August 3, 2014

    I would love to know what your favorite breakout sessions was and why. I was there too and could not attend some of them since time conflicted.
    Raquel recently posted… BlogHer San JoseMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 8, 2014

      This is going to be a really weird answer, but I’d have to say that my favourite breakout session was one I didn’t actually attend! I’d really been looking forward to the personal/life bloggers mini-con, but when I found out which room it was being held in (the same one I’d been in the day before for a different breakout) I knew there wasn’t a chance I’d get in as the room was far too small to accommodate all of the personal/life bloggers who I knew would want to attend! Sure enough, it was standing room only. 🙁 I actually ran into several others who were disappointed that they weren’t able to attend either – which is really unfortunately, as I have a feeling this one would have been a really helpful and meaningful session.
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: From NatureMy Profile

  • Cathy Graham
    Twitter:
    August 3, 2014

    So you think joining BlogHer is really valuable? I’d like to get more serious with my blogging but am not much of a business minded type and more of an artsy fartsy dreamer. I don’t expect to make any money doing it but it would be interesting to hear about just the same. I do enjoy connecting with other bloggers though and have enjoyed all the challenges with the Write Tribe group. Would be fun to learn more with the BlogHer gang. You must think it’s a great group to brave that great distance for their conference as San Jose, California is a fair distance from Windsor. Glad you had such a great time.
    Cathy Graham recently posted… Fears Hold Me Back as a WriterMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      August 8, 2014

      Thanks Cathy! I love BlogHer, and have benefited so much from being a part of the community for all these years. Even if the conference isn’t something you’re ever able to attend, signing up on their site is worth it on its own, as cross-posting to your BlogHer profile will give your posts that much more exposure to a whole new audience.
      Laurel Regan recently posted… Photo Friday: From NatureMy Profile

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