The Importance of BlogHer (and Other Women’s Social Media Conferences)

by Amy on August 6, 2012

in Self Matters,Travels

We’re fresh on the heels of the event which many female bloggers who actively maintain a blog yearn for all year long…the BlogHer Conference.

I was really sad not to be able to attend BlogHer ’12, since I have attended in the past and I have always, always, had a wonderful…no…amazing time. The last time I attended BlogHer was in 2010, when the event was in New York City for the first time, and my first, brief visit to Manhattan to attend a product preview event hosted by Philips had occurred just weeks beforehand. That event represented my first night away from Nate, who was just seven or eight months old at the time. I had just one night in the city for that first trip and although I managed to see quite a lot, the BlogHer weekend provided the opportunity for me not just to explore the city in my time away from the conference itself, but to reconnect with the friends who typically occupy the space inside my computer.

“How do you know all these people?” my mom has asked on occasion. It never seems like quite enough to say that I know them from the internet. I know them from the stories they share, from the images they broadcast, the random yet often poignant and important thoughts they blurt out in 140 characters or less throughout almost each and every day. They are women who care enough to ask me how I’m doing, to follow up with me when I’m having a rough day, even when they’re experiencing massive, nearly insurmountable challenges of their own. They’re friends who sent lovely, personal greetings and even gifts when I was pregnant and then when Nate was born. Real people who really connect.

This year I followed the conferences through the usual social media channels, including Twitter and Instagram, and watched with, admittedly, a great deal of envy as my friends celebrated together in my favourite city, without me, and I tried to suppress my jealous thoughts and think only of the positive. After all, nobody likes sour grapes.

It’s not just the fun I was jealous of, though.

There are a lot of reasons why I think it’s really important for events like BlogHer to continue every year (even as they get bigger and bigger). While all of these are reasons the conference is important to me, I really do feel that they apply to any woman in the blogosphere (if I may still use that outdated term) who has friends “inside her computer,” as I do.

  • They allow hard-working women to get away from their daily responsibilities, giving them something to look forward to, every year.
  • They provide a venue in which women can learn about their craft from various perspectives and continue to develop their skills and talents.
  • They give women a much-needed opportunity to network with friends, colleagues and even representatives of large corporations whom they might not otherwise have the chance to interact with “in real life.”
  • They give the families of women the chance to see how well they can actually get along without a mom or wife in the house, and to appreciate the hard work she does when she is home.
  • Conferences give women the chance to travel to and explore other cities they otherwise might not see, usually sightseeing in groups where there is safety in numbers.

After watching another conference go by from my seat on our couch, I decided to make it a priority to attend one next year. I’m considering one of the smaller offshoot BlogHer events, like BlogHer Food ’13, a bit more intimate an event in Austin, Texas, rather than the very large BlogHer ’13 in Chicago, a city I have already visited twice. I’ve also committed to attending Blissdom Canada this October, because if you can’t get your butt off the couch to attend a conference 45 minutes away by car, there’s no excuse for complaint. I can’t wait to hang out with my friends.