This past weekend was Blogher 2009, the largest gathering of women bloggers. And I believe that is the key to the many tensions that hovered over the otherwise amazing conference. Women are not one cohesive entity. While there might had been 1500 different visions for Blogher, a few key issues did surface over the weekend.
First...Not all women are moms and not all moms are mommy bloggers: The amount of companies that attended with products directed at moms were staggering. The best of the mom swag? Getting to meet Nina from Sprout's Goodnight Show. Despite valid concerns about the "Goodnight Show" I let my six-year-old watch it because well, that's the only time of the day she gets cartoons. And not even every day. Now my daughter has a signed photo from her favorite TV crafter! But seriously, the mommy stuff was waaay over board.
Second...Blogher a tech conference or a trade show? When I attended Blogher 2007 the swag tables were set up as if I was at a high school college fair. Long tables and not too much sizzle. This year, OMG...It was intense. We had two cartoon networks (but not the actual one), soft drinks, chips & snacks, women's clothing, make-up, hair styling products & actual hair styling, big box store, cars and even the big D. There was an online photo editing company, printer and a camera company in the house, but I don't recall one company that actually allows us to publish a blog. The growing debate over product reviews only intensified the tech vs trade show question. Don't get me wrong, some companies did a great job - it just depended on your point of view. I even saw one tweet that labeled Blogher as a writers conference.
And lastly...This blogger brought to you "buy" [insert corporate logo here]: I mused last month on my blog about the "good old days" of mom blogging. Where we were a community supporting each other and not trying to sell things to each other. It's kinda like going from a La Leche League meeting and suddenly finding yourself at a jewelry party (not that those aren't nice!). But many think the corporate sponsorship of bloggers has gotten out of control.
It wasn't all drama. I had a great time hanging out with friends and meeting people who use to be just an avatar to me. It's still weird introducing myself as "Hi, Veronica...veronicaeye." But it's awesome to connect in the flesh with writers whom I admire. Next year Blogher is in New York and tickets are already on sale. Not sure if I'm going yet, but until then let the debates rage on.
This is cross-posted to AWEARNESS.