This summer, I will head to San Jose for BlogHer’s 10th anniversary conference July 24-26. This will be my 6th BlogHer annual conference – and yes, I had to count on my fingers twice before I believed it – and I cannot wait to go for so many reasons.
The first year I attended, I knew close to no one. I had heard about BlogHer that spring, but tickets were sold out. Since it was in Chicago, I managed to purchase a ticket from someone who wasn’t able to go, but I knew no one going. I lucked into finding a few locals who I had “met” online who were attending, but that was as far as it went. Except that was only the beginning. Before the conference started, I was pulled into a group who met up and had dinner at an iconic Chicago pizzeria. And we six of us spent the night at Melisa’s house, having so much fun that we almost missed the train to the actual conference. The friends I met and made became my tribe, and they still are today.
Those women I met and bonded with are ones I look for online, who I chat with regularly, who I keep up with, and who encourage me when I need it. We have our traditions, and BlogHer is the one time when we all – or as many of us as possible – are able to get together and recharge our friendship batteries, reconnecting and strengthening our bond as a tribe. All I have to do is look at a clown nose and smile, with oh so many memories rushing back. BlogHer truly is what you make of it, and part of that is creating your own traditions, and these clown noses are just one of those I’m a part of.
But BlogHer is about so much more than the established tribes. I remember walking into one session that first year and knowing no one there. The room was nearing full, and I scrambled to find an empty seat. I sat and smiled at the woman next to me, and we quickly struck up a conversation. She was there with her baby at her first conference, and we hit it off. I still look forward to catching up with her whenever I can, and she isn’t the only friend I made just by sitting down somewhere – because BlogHer is about all the new connections you can and will make, both with other bloggers and with brands.
My session needs have changed so much from that first conference where I walked in knowing next to nothing. I chose sessions that year based on what sounded fun. Now, I look for so much more, and BlogHer is delivering. The GeekBar sessions leave me with so much information on specific topics where I need help with my blog – without my relying on Dr. Google and hoping I’m following legit advice. This year, the keynote speakers are out of this world from Arianna Huffington to Kerry Washington to Tig Notaro and more. They alone are worth my full conference pass!
And speaking of that full conference pass, there are only 2,500 registrations being sold for the BlogHer conference this year, which means it will be much smaller and more intimate than it has been the last couple years, and of course tickets are going fast. If you’re thinking about going, now is the time to buy before they’re sold out – and – while there is a limited time 25% off sale on the blogger rate for the full conference BlogHer pass.
BlogHer has given me confidence to do things I never thought I could. It was because of BlogHer that a friend and I made a pact to participate in the annual 5K run back in 2010 in New York. Me? Run? What a joke. But we trained, and we did it. It was a glorious morning running through Central Park, an experience I wouldn’t give up for anything, and a morning I’ll never forget. The runners ran (pun intended) the gamut from experienced athletes to those who struggled throughout the run in the heat and humidity. But when we all gathered at our breakfast at the finish, the feelings of comeraderie and accomplishment and sheer joy were palpable.
I know that when I go again this year, I’ll come home refreshed and ready to tackle my next challenge. I’ll be inspired by all the people I meet there, especially after hearing the Voices of the Year readings. That is by far one of my favorite portions of BlogHer. It reminds me of why I’m blogging, and I see so many different bloggers with such difference perspectives who are amazingly creative. I laugh, and I cry, and I am ready to put my voice up there with them on my blog when I return. I have so many friends this year who were honored – deservedly so – with being Voices of the Year, and I cannot wait to see every one of them honored.
Because BlogHer isn’t all about me. Yes, I’m there making new friends and connections with bloggers and brands. I’m there learning from various sessions, inspired by speakers, awed by panels. And I’m there having a blast at the BlogHer parties, especially the ones offering photo booths and dancing. I’m the one exploring a city as a tourist without my usual responsibilities. But at the same time, that inspiration I’m gathering from those honorees is accolades to them, a massive pat on the back for an incredible job. And I’m there to celebrate that, as well.
So tell me. Will I be seeing you at BlogHer? It’s not too late, but it will be soon. Mark your calendars for July 24-26, and get your full conference pass while it’s 25% off! You don’t want to have to create a flat version of yourself to enjoy BlogHer just because you didn’t get your ticket while they were available!