Why I’m going to BlogHer ’13

BlogHer ’13 is in Chicago July 25-27. I was at Lollapalooza last year when I heard the news. As I was checking Twitter for updates about what would become Lollapalooza’s first weather evacuation I also saw a number of tweets from people at the BlogHer conference in New York sharing the news that BlogHer ’13 would be in Chicago. The announcement brought two questions to my mind: “Would the conference be the same weekend as Lollapalooza again?” and “Should I go to BlogHer ’13?” The answer to the former question was “no,” and the answer to the latter became “yes.”

BlogHer is an annual conference for bloggers that draws several thousand attendees. Although the BlogHer organization focuses on female writers the conference is open to all. The BlogHer conference site says that 10-15% of the attendees are men. The conference includes workshops, round table discussions, formal presentations and parties. Speakers for BlogHer ’13 include Sheryl Sandberg, Randi Zuckerburg and Guy Kawasaki.

When I started telling people I would be attending BlogHer ’13 I got more harumphing than support. I was told that BlogHer is all about sponsored posts and advertising. I was pointed to posts complaining about invite-only parties and obsessions with swag.

Yes, the BlogHer conference agenda does use the words “monetization” and “sponsored” quite a bit. Yes, there is talk of swag, and I’ve only been invited to one “exclusive” party. Still, I’m excited about going to BlogHer ’13. Here are 3 reasons why I am going.

1. To be inspired

BlogHer '13In 2007 one of my plays was selected for the Great Plains Theatre Conference. I had a great time at the conference, not just because my play was presented and not just because I got to meet and learn from Edward Albee, Patricia Neal, Arthur Kopit, Will Eno, and Romulus Linney. (Although those things were great.) I loved spending multiple days surrounded by people who love to do what I do. To spend days thinking about plays and talking about plays. To be deeply immersed in a community of other playwrights. That’s inspiring. That’s energizing.

Since blogging is a lot like theatre I expect to be similarly inspired and energized after after two days at BlogHer ’13.

2. To meet friends I’ve never met

BlogHer '13When I first learned that BlogHer ’13 would be in Chicago I hadn’t even been blogging here for a month. I had no idea if I would still enjoy doing this a year later. Why then did I grab myself an early bird ticket (other than the substantial discount)?

A bunch of people I follow on Twitter were BlogHer ’12 attendees. Many of these are people that also follow me and with whom I’ve been interacting online in some cases for years. I figured that if I went to BlogHer ’13 I might finally get to meet some of those people in real life. I’m already thrilled because @BurghBaby and I have agreed to some mutual stalking.

I hope to meet new people as well.

3. To do something for myself

BlogHer '13I am an only child who lived alone for more than a decade, yet when I had my first child I completely abandoned “me time.” I was a mostly a hermit for at least 6 months after my son was born. I think I did a tad better after my daughter was born. (Neglected friends can leave dissenting comments below.) Still, it’s been years since I’ve spent more than a few hours doing something just for me. BlogHer ’13 will be more than 48 hours on my own. No kids. No husband. No chores. Heaven.

If you lose track of me I may be in my hotel room enjoying the peace and quiet. I am, after all, an introvert. Even though I expect the BlogHer conference to be more enjoyable than a job fair, I may still need to run and hide occasionally.

 

If you are in or near Chicago (or can get here quickly) you can still register for BlogHer ’13 here. Use promo code BH13Chicago for 25% off the blogger rate full conference pass and/or code PREChicago to get 50% off all pre-conference events (Pathfinder, HealtherMinder and ViewFinder days).

Are you going to BlogHer ’13? I hope to see you there..

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