BlogHer09 Virgin: Better Than Swag, Business Cards
Some people at the BlogHer09 conference went mad for the swag. BlogHer Conference virgin that I was, I missed prime swag opportunities, I've been told. But seriously, I have pack rat issues already. Me and swag would have been a dangerous thing. Business cards, however--that's a different story. At the other end of a BlogHer business card is rarely a major corporation trying to sell you a tangible product. It's a woman saying "This is who I am" or at least how I want you to see me at this moment in my life. It's someone with whom you may build a friendship or strike a mutually beneficial deal.
I don't know what the other women did with the cards they received from fellow conference goers, but I'm looking at mine this moment and sharing links from those cards with you. And it's a good thing. After driving with my daughter, age 28, from New Orleans to Chicago in my Toyota Corolla, stopping overnight in small town Missouri, downing Frappuccinos, and putting faith in Google Maps, to post the names and links from those cards here at BlogHer.com is the best thing I can do.
This deed will help me remember my first BlogHer Con and the people who inspired me. I met amazingly talented women and felt small at times, but their stories, endeavors, and skills built my confidence.
The first list below includes women I met during BlogHer's speed dating session on Day One. After the welcome, the women formed two circles, a large outercircle that went around the main hall and a smaller inner circle. Members of these circles faced each other. We introduced ourselves to the person facing us for one minute. When the minute was up, the people in the inner circle moved to the left, faced a new partner, and the introductions started again.
- Yvonne DiVita of LipSticking.com, a blog that focuses on marketing to women online, and ScratchingAndSniffings.com, a pet care blog. She is the author of the book Dick*less Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online. I met Yvonne first and learned more about her later when she moderated the "Blog to Book" session. She has book publishing and promotion experience.
- Lee Ann Thill of the The Butter Compartment, a blog about coping with Type 1 Diabetes. later heard her asks questions during business sessions. She is also an art therapist.
- Kim McAllister, RN, of Emergiblog, the life and times of an ER nurse. She lives in California and has been a nurse for 28 years.
- Kat Shumar of The Burb Blog told me that she writes about her neighbors. At her blog it says she's a mommy blogger without children who loves to gossip. Recalling the perils of the woman who wrote Peyton Place, Grace Metalious, I asked her what happens if her neighbors recognize themselves. She says she's careful.
- Also in the speed dating circle I met Jamie Pearson of TravelSavvyMom.com. Her card has an offer, "Got kids? Like travel? Write for us." I just checked out her blog and the first post is "Niagra Falls with Kids." In the sidebar she has travel categorized by country or continent such as Europe, Africa, Mexico, United States. Jamie's also been published in hard print magazines such as Parenting and Utne Reader.
- Mara Gorman from Mother of All Trips. She says at her blog, "I travel with my kids because I believe that the more I take them into the world, the more they will be able to experience both the reality and the possibility that lies around them."
- I think Kim Borchert had a baby on her hip when I met her who was very friendly and kept trying to take the business cards. Kim lives in Utah and blogs at PrairieMama.org. She has a post at her blog right now about her BlogHer 09 experience.
I am sitting at a table with a few ladies I know in a room of strangers. We are all listening to several bloggers read selected posts. I have been laughing, and holding them in my heart. I am tired though and my feet ache and my baby is asleep on my chest. I am getting hungry and really I am ready to be done.
The Emcee introduces the last blogger to share with us. My heart skips a beat, I know I won't get through this one without tears. I know I will be crying when she is done. I am prepared for this.
Heather Spohr gets up and talks about the kindness of her internet family. All of those who have left comment after comment, sent food, gifts and prayers. All of those who have wrapped their real, and virtual, arms around she and her husband as they have had to do the unthinkable, live without their daughter.
Spohr read her post during the "Community Keynote" and it shared her gratitude for the Internet community's support for her and her family after her daughter Maddie died. Kim has also lost a daughter, Emma, who died in 2003 at 8 months and 8 days.
- Finally in the circle I met a content provider and a reporter, Lianna Shen of Kudzu.com, a business reviews site, and Heidi Brown of ForbesWoman, a venture of Forbes Magazine.
The exchange of business cards did not end with speed dating. I left the open and welcome and went to Chicago X, the site of the Business of You sessions, presentations to help bloggers who were are wanted to be professional bloggers. Here are some of the people who gave me cards over the course of two days.
- Pamela Punt of Will Run for Cake (When you love to eat, you've got to move.)
- Kamy Wicoff, founder of SheWrites.com, a group for women writers.
- Ananda Kiamsha Madelyn Leeke, author of Love's Troubadours: Karma: Book One which has its own site, a podcast.
- Penny C. Sansevieri aka as BookGal on Twitter was one of the presenters for From Blog to Book. Her website is Author Marketing Experts.
Tami Winfrey Harris of What Tami Said and AntiRacistParent.com. I was already familiar with Tami's blogs. It was a pleasure to meet her in person.
Sitting at the tables in the main hall, waiting for a keynote speaker or a panel to address the entire conference, I met Adela Crandell of TheBlackTortoise.com. Her blog covers medications interactions and also Chicago sights. Later I met Megan Jordan of VelveteenMind, a blog at which she chronicles her life as a stay-at-home mom, and BlogNosh, an ezine.
I even met people as I headed out the back to my room for my final night of good sleep before I and my daughter headed back down the Interstate to New Orleans: Bronx Bohemian (Trudy), who describes her blog as kind of artsy and green, and ModernMami aka Melanie Edwards, who's one of many women talking about BlogHer09 at her own blog.