The behaviour of some attendees was less than inspiring. (I’m trying to be polite). They, by their own declarations, were only there for the parties and the swag. Or only to connect with brands or well-connected bloggers who could “do something” for them. On the one hand, that’s just fine. You are free to attend for any reason you choose (although I do wonder about their sponsors – and yes I know they had some pretty major sponsors). I felt that my sponsors would expect a level of professional behaviour from me and that at least for part of the time, I was there to WORK so that I did. If I was going to have Creating the Hive, Charity Wings, and Colour a Child’s World on my business and media cards, I wanted to be sure that my behaviour did them proud and that I didn’t embarrass them in any way. There were some (maybe 5% of the people I encountered) there who would meet me, realize that I, in their estimation, was just small potatoes and they would rudely walk away and ignore me in favour of those they felt could provide them with more clout. There was not even an attempt at making some small talk and trying to appear interested for even just a short time. There was quite a bit of cattiness going on which was very unfortunate but as a friend of mine says, it’s to be expected when you get that many women together in one place. What a sad sad statement.
The grabbing of product from brand reps’ hands – no introductions, no conversations, just a clear message that all these people cared about was getting as much swag as they could. There were many who didn’t even care WHAT the swag was or whether they would ever make use of it. They just obviously wanted as much as they could get. If a brand had no items to give out, some of the attendees would make it clear that they felt that their booth was a waste of time and they would move on. I took only items I knew I’d make use of and I plan to blog about as many of the products as I can.
Line-ups weren’t just frustrating. At times they brought out very juvenile behaviour on the parts of some who engaged in line cutting, pushing, and shoving. I nearly fell on an escalator because of it.
Areas of some of the rooms were downright dangerous and poorly controlled by hotel staff leading to someone I know falling and getting injured while trying to get food in one of the line-ups.
The people who talked LOUDLY with each other during sessions – if you aren’t there to learn, could you just please leave the room so those of us who are can hear? When stuck at the back of a jam-packed room with lousy sound systems it was hard enough to hear anyway especially when the rooms were NOT soundproof. I seemed to always get stuck next to the room next door that was hooting and hollering throughout their whole presentation. Compound that with the people next to me who talked nonstop through the whole thing and it was beyond annoying. I was there to learn and to pass what I learned along to my readers.
The address by President Obama. Ok hear me out. It WASN’T his address in itself. Let me lay a little foundation here. I needed to get my full conference badge and had waited in line for 20 minutes to get it. Once that was done, I had to hustle back to my hotel room so that hotel staff could move me to our new room (remember how they gave away our room for the first night?) and it had to be done by a certain time. I also needed time to get ready for the first official party (which happened to be the Canadian Blogger party – one that as someone who lives in Canada, was near and dear to my heart and I really wanted to attend). Unfortunately, all of that meant I didn’t have time to hear the President speak. I’m sorry but it’s just the way things panned out.
So there I was, just getting up to the registration booth when a BlogHer official person of some sort told me that I could NOT have my badge at that time because the POTUS address was about to begin and that I needed to go to that. I said that I was sorry but because of a hotel screw-up, I didn’t have time to attend Obama’s address and please just give me my badge. I was then told that they refused to give me my badge and that I MUST go to his address. She even grabbed me by the arm and directed me toward the escalator to go to his address when I started to walk the other way. I said, no thank you I absolutely have to get back to my hotel room because hotel staff needs to move me to another room now. She tells me that I cannot do that….that I MUST go to the President’s address and once again tries to direct me by putting her hand on me. Huh. Really? See, I may have grown up in Canada but I am an American and one of the things I love about being American is that I have freedom of choice. The United States of America was built on rebellion and revolution and no one, but no one (and that includes you oh mighty BlogHer powers that be) tells this proud American rebel that I MUST go listen to the President’s address. I was offended by the audacity of it.
Sooooooooooo, the big question of the hour is, will Cyn be at BlogHer 2013? Well I can tell you that by Friday at dinner time, I was saying NO WAY! I said this would be my first and last BlogHer ever. There was a lot of frustration talking there. By the time I was sitting in the Paris Cafe down by the South Street Seaport after a lovely boat ride out to the Statue of Liberty, I was thinking that I might attend again because really, the good had truly outweighed the bad. (Yes I know – when you count up the good and compare it to the bad and the ugly, there doesn’t seem to be as much but the QUALITY I can assign to the good was pretty high). And now? I’ll probably go. It’s in Chicago which is a relatively short $28 train ride from me and now I kind of know what to expect and can adjust my plans accordingly. I’m also one of those optimistic types who hopes that what happened at BlogHer this year will be a lesson for the organizers in going forward and that there will be changes for the better. We’ll see.