Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Five Things I Didn't Love About BlogHer

I'm not going as far as to say I Hated These Things.. They were simply the things that detracted from the experience.

1. Sponsors with a flawed marketing concept for the group. While several of the sponsors had spot-on concepts and presentations (Saturn, Film-Loop, Six Apart), others were woefully inappropriate. MSN marketing Live Spaces to already bloggers? Elexa by Trojan passing out t-shirts that would primarily fit a 8 year old? Contrex giving us "european mineral water" (not necessarily a bad idea) and telling us that drinking it would make us skinny?

None of these companies quite grasped the concept that this group of women was savvy. That many were highly educated. That they couldn't talk down to us.

2. Poor connectivity. You would think that telling a center you will have 700 people showing up who will all want free wifi all the time, would convince them to have the infrastructure to deal with that. Not true. Apparently the Hyatt thought our demand would be no greater than 700 businessmen checking email. That, and most people couldn't find our complimentary connection so they ended up signing up for the $25/3 days cost.

3. Sessions that somehow didn't/couldn't live up to their description. Heather Champ, who did the session on digital photography, admitted she expected to be talking to maybe 15-25 people NOT the 50-100 that attended each section of the session. And she did it well. Other presenters, promising a lot, left me thinking that I made poor choices. After talking to other attendees, I'm thinking instead that there was a gap between expectations and reality.

I'm not sure how this could be fixed. But next year I'll probably position myself where it will be easier to leave a session when I realize it's not panning out.

4. Some of the food options. Mainly having only 2-3 stations for serving food by the pool meant long lines. And for the $25/ticket price.. I think we deserved a bit more than cold cuts and melons (all I got on Saturday night) and one drink. However the lunches were yummy; with chicken, veggies and fruit offered, and delicious desserts.

5. The sense of us/them inclusion/exclusion. There is a huge discussion going on post-conference about the mommybloggers. Those of us outside that realm had experiences of feeling marginalized by the mommybloggers; they claim we're mistaken. All I know is there was frequently a "in crowd" and "everyone else" division that nobody really anticipated.

Fortunately, the organizers are already evaluating actions for next year to deal with this.

Tomorrow: some of the highlights you might find only at a primarily woman-oriented function.

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