My first time at BlogHer!

I had the great pleasure to attend BlogHer for the first time this year. How did I get to attend? A perfect storm really. 3 things happened that allowed me to attend: first, a customer had asked me to support them in their session and to talk about how my book on social media helped them with their strategy, second, I spoke with Charlene Li at the WITI conference and she knew the founders and secured me a ticket and then finally, I was asked to speak on how to leverage social media as the only real IBM presence at the conference.

So what is BlogHer?
I pulled this from the BlogHer site. It was founded in February 2005 by Elisa Camahort Page, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone. BlogHer’s mission is to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment. BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online and creates opportunities for its members via a community hub (http://blogher.com), annual conferences and a publishing network of more than 2,500 qualified, contextually targeted blog affiliates. BlogHer provides the highest quality content on a range of topics, with all blogs continually edited to meet strict editorial standards, including content quality, category relevance and blog frequency

The Top 10 Ah Ha’s
1. The Business BlogHer had a lot of great case studies. While not sold out on the business side, I found the case studies innovative and best practices. I have blogged on the specific case studies that I heard … Allstate, Tropicana, Pepsi, Sprint, Coach and many others.

2. Lots of Geek Labs – Hands on! I love the hands on labs. You could set up a new blog here with step by step instructions to learning HTML and PHP.

3. Networking The conference was setup to network. They did speeddating in a new and innovative way, and arranged the sessions and breaks to stimulate discussion.

4. Community keynote I attend a lot of corporate events and shows. Usually the keynoter is the CEO or GM in charge of the work. While powerful, I have not experienced a more moving and powerful keynote that BlogHer did on Friday night. It was a community keynote where bloggers were selected to read their blog entries. It was amazing. I am glad someone who had been here before told me to make sure I didn’t miss it!

5. Swag. Again, going to CeBit or GiTex is an experience and everyone gives away their toys. But I have never seen the swag that was at BlogHer. From products, to free services on site, to designer scarfs, and vendors printers, servers, and p