BlogHer: My Benchmark In Blogging! #BlogHer11

NEWS | | August 31, 2011 at 8:12 pm

 

I am asked often why I go to BlogHer. I hear responses from learning, to meeting brands, a break,  parties, etc – but none of those are my prime reason. In fact when I met Lisa Stone, after I got over the shock that she knew me, I told her that BlogHer was an addiction and I wondered if she thought I was joking, because I wasn’t. I will whine about the cost, time and effort etc but one thing is as certain as the sun rises in the east: I will be at BlogHer come hell or high water.I know what you’re thinking (yeah, call me psychic) “but why do you go?” – simply I go for the other reasons too but I go to hang with my friends. Now you’re thinking what an expensive jaunt that is, right?

Yes, and no. Financially it is a killer but we look at it as investment rather than an expense and somehow that makes it an easier pill to swallow. While brands are great I do believe, outside of my content, my friends are my biggest asset. They are. I have received some of the best projects by referrals but better than that many have held my hand in trying times. As many offline friends go helter skelter busy in their own lives my online friends have helped me survive all the trials these past few years – from job losses to dealing with special needs. While many people assume that online friends are just virtual friends – we speak almost daily hence they know me and and my family and probably meet face to face with all the events more than offline friends do.

 

To that effect I consider BlogHer to be my ultimate benchmark. Seeing my relationships evolve and seeing the people around. Looking at the people I once revered some move on for the better and some, well let’s just say it is not just actors who should retire while they are ahead of the game. I loved thinking about how each of my BlogHer conference experiences were different. In 2008 I attended a smaller BlogHer conference in Boston – I knew very little outside of my own blog. I realized that year that the blogging world was so much bigger. I also saw the snippets of the cliques and saw opportunity (which most passed by, thanks to their obsessions with themselves). That opportunity grew and made me bolder. By the time BlogHer 2009 rolled around I had already met quite a few bloggers.

 

But I still managed to see people who I revered talk to me only when there was no one around. I felt small when they did not bother to introduce me and turned their back on me. It was either that or the fact that this was the year that it was my first time away from the kids, but I cried for the entire overwhelming experience. By the last day I called local friends to regroup and was back on track. That year I was also sponsored and realized though I loved the company being sponsored ain’t as glorious as it is cracked out to be.

2010 in New York City was mine for the taking – close to home and also with my best friend in hand. I went unsponsored but I volunteered. I was invited to many more events and amazing experiences but had a shadow cast over it with the news of my MIL’s death. 2011 was a real crunch. $563 was the cost of the flight alone. So still swallowing the “investment” pill I went but this time a group of friends discussed all things BlogHer and it was a wonderful experience to feel someone’s got your back. Also I roomed with Stacie. Now you know the thing about rooming with someone: if you didn’t hate them before you get to hate them after. I have known Stacie for years but you know how to get to know someone when you room with them? Yeah! Well not only did I not want to throw her off the balcony after 5 days, but I grew to love her more. That lady is all heart and one of the most hard working people I know.

I spent the time flitting from event to event, but spending time with friends on the go. Getting to parties were fun but mostly with friends I loved and AliciaDesiree, and Caryn were perfect hangout buddies. They even indulged my perfect night of ordering in pizza at midnight while we (okay just I) drooled over Anderson Cooper on CNN. Meeting so many fabulous people who I knew on twitter and many more that I had not met.In fact I mentioned to Kate that my favorite moments at a conference are those bonding with friends back in the room and I meant every word. As a community we can only go up if we uplift the community.

Speaking at the conference was a new thing and I was dreading facing an empty room. I was amazed to see a room so packed with people – that many were sitting on the floor too. We decided to keep the format open with questions (in the room and on twitter) and I could clearly see that it was appreciated. We also were open about what we considered ok or not and the audience enjoyed our candidness about our differences – clearly showing there is no right way to do product reviews, just different styles.

I was also invited to a few special meetings that made me feel appreciative of being recognized, and I will be writing separately about my favorite (a meeting with Indra Noyi – CEO of PepsiCo). When I finally hit the expo hall it was almost time for them to close down but thanks (again) to my friends I knew which companies that were focusing on philanthropic activities to follow up on for Mommy Niri Cares. I decided to take a chance on an earlier flight and was glad to see more friends at the airport in the form of Megan and Jodi. Success comes from the heart and if you spread a lot of heart with your friends, success is sure to follow close behind.

See you in New York in 2012!

27 Comments

  1. 1
    Holly says:

    You are an inspiration. xxxooo

  2. 2
    Jessica says:

    You are such an inspiration! I would have LOVED to hear you speak! Hopefully next year at BlogHer ’12!!

  3. 3
    Kelly Tirman says:

    This was my first year at BlogHer after several years of thinking about it. I was on the fence about going to NYC for BlogHer12 but after reading your post I am game! Thanks!

    • 3.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      I always sit on the fence – this is the first time I actually bought my ticket so early. I finally accepted that BlogHer is in my destiny ;-)

  4. 4
    CanCan says:

    You are so real Niri, I really think the world of you.

  5. 5

    I’m so with you on “friends are my biggest asset.”
    THAT has paid dividends for me in both emotional support AND work referrals.

    • 5.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      It really is and it must be the reason I get excited when I know some of my friends are going to an event too.

  6. 6
    Alicia says:

    Niri, you are an amazing person and I will always remember the pedicab ride, the introductions, the pizza, and sitting on the floor during your session with Stacie and Amy. BlogHer ’11 was my first BlogHer and because of you, Stacie, and Desiree, it will not be my last! Xoxo, Alicia

    • 6.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      As I looked through the pictures (I wish I had taken more) I realized seeing the pictures with friends still make me happy. Speaking of pedicabs – that was my favorite picture!

  7. 7

    I just love you more after Blogher!!!

  8. 8
    Jodi says:

    Niri! You write just like you talk – I love it! I’m so glad I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with you! Hope I bump into you soon!

    • 8.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      See Jodi, this is why the connections part is my favorite. It goes beyond a campaign or goal. See you on your coast or on mine!

  9. 9
    Chris says:

    I can see how BlogHer is hard to pass on after doing it just once. It is an amazing experience & so well-planned. Loved meeting you & Stacie. And your session was so informative – I liked that you didn’t all agree!

    • 9.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      Thanks Chris – I think people work with us and unlike having an agenda with a motive – we were just fellow bloggers sharing what and whys. Honestly blew my mind the response after. Thank you so much for coming to it.

  10. 10
    Kate Hayes says:

    Great summary, Niri! Especially love that last line, “Success comes from the heart and if you spread a lot of heart with your friends, success is sure to follow close behind.” Good stuff. I’m proud to have mentioned and so thankful to have been a small part of your BlogHer experience!

    • 10.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      Kate, personally I felt guilty that I had not spent more time with you. I knew it was your first conference and I really wanted you to have memories that made you smile. To have you singing in the room will definitely be pocketed away as a sweet memory for me.

  11. 11
    Des says:

    Niri, My wonderful angelic friend…here’s the thing about you. You have no idea just how incredible you are. You are that gal who sends an email just “checking in to say I miss you”. You are that gal not afraid to stand up for others who have been treated poorly, who deserve better. You are the very best example of good. I am so stinkin’ proud to be counted among your friends. Hugs and love and all that other good stuff. :)

    • 11.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      Ok, how does someone respond to that? All I will say Desiree is you make it easy to be your friend. If I could bottle an ounce of your zest and oomph I would be the happiest person, but for now I am happy to tag along with you.

  12. 12

    What a heartwarming post! I think we met at a BlogHer too? Memory fails me now and to be expected after 3 kids. Maybe we will see each other again in 2012.

    • 12.1
      Mommy Niri says:

      Yes, we did – at the Chicago one. Time flies, right? Missed seeing you in your hometown but maybe you will make it to NYC

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