Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | July 31, 2012

BlogHer – here I come

This week I head to BlogHer, which for those outside the writing community, I’ll explain. It’s a massive cult-following blogging conference of which I am late to the party. This is their 8th conference (not including their spin-off conferences like BlogHer Food). Mostly it’s mom bloggers (fellow bloggers – don’t shoot me for using that term!!!) who blog on any subject you can imagine. A few men attend as well. If by a few, you mean 10%, which could equal 500.

Yes, up to 5,000 bloggers will be there (I’ll know 5 – think I can find them there?). Keynote speakers are Katie Couric and Martha Stewart (different days), Soledad O’Brien, Christy Turlington Burns, and President Obama live on satellite (Romney sent aides to speak at a session).

(This is called Blog Bling)
I'll be childfree at BlogHer '12

For many conferences, sponsors are those afterthought people (uh, I know companies aren’t people) whose booths you visit when you’re bored. At this conference, many people attend just to mob the sponsors. Why? The sponsors are these bloggers’ tickets to fortune. Whether it’s getting goodies for giveaways, having them sponsor your blog (i.e. $$$), affiliations where the company pays you be their spokesperson, hosts you on a trip, or they give you goods so you promote them in some way.

Oh – and they give a ton of swag at the event. In past conferences, said swag ranged from video cameras to sex toys, to flip flops, pillows, kids’ stuff, fake eyelashes, cell phones, clothing, stuffed animals, nail polish, totes, coffee cups, OTC drug products, scarves, food, photo books, insulated totes, personal care items and more. Jealous yet? Ha ha!

Yes, I’m bringing extra bags to take stuff home, though I think they give out a fair number of bags as well (more to use at the grocery store). Though I’ll be taking the train or bus home, so that will be fun.

Some companies are running promotions at the conference. One has you looking for virtual clues, and you have to tweet a picture of yourself wearing a certain t-shirt. If you win, you get tickets to a concert and a front row spot when filming one of the morning news shows. Phew – that’s too stressful for me. Plus, by the time I figure out how to even post a tweetpic, the conference will be over.

More blog bling (and no, I’m not telling you something secret)
My water might break at BlogHer '12

What I didn’t know about BlogHer before, is that you have to sign up for things really early. I think I got into one cocktail party offsite (we get to take a bus!). I wasn’t invited to any of the private parties, where companies pick bloggers with a big audience to be hostess, and curate the guest list, then give them tons of great stuff.

But BlogHer has regular conference parties that everyone is invited to, like the CheeseburgHER party sponsored by McDonalds, where you get to decorate and wear a paper bag on your head. It’s supposed to be more fun than my description. Even if I don’t eat cheeseburgers.

Here’s what you can sign up for, if you sign up really early:

Laugh out loud with Poise at the Hot Flash Road Show (comedy show about menopause plus a talk by a psychologist/aging expert)

Rockette’s-style workout at Radio City Music Hall sponsored by Pfizer (those who are in the know can laugh here), Caltrate and Centrum. Led by two Rockettes, this early morning workout looked like fun, but it filled quickly and I wasn’t sure I could get my ass out of bed anyway. I can stop by the Pfizer (insert laugh here) booth to get a steam-therapy session by Robitussin, followed by a a make-up touch up by ChapStick (I hope they have more than ChapStick for make-up). My Pfizer swag bag loot will includes all kinds of things Mark can buy at the company store – but I’ll get for free.

–The U.S. Army is sponsoring an Army-style boot camp workout

–A Harley Davidson cocktail party where you can ride on their simulator, while drunk, I guess. They also have cocktails.

Private breakfast with Disney Junior with character meet/greets, gifts and chance to win an iPad.

Breakfast at the Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bar open all day (uh, probably not kosher)

Family Day at the Chelsea Piers’ Field House, sponsored by The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, a new interactive G-rated film due out in August.

–Get pedicures (followed by a foot photo) while drinking a Spilletini, while Carpet One spills things on their carpet and you watch. And you get to listen to someone funny talk about how to clean your house while this is happening.

Lunch with Verizon, where they’ll be giving away tablets, phones and jetpacks (?!) to lucky winners, who will miss the keynote but end up with electronics instead.

This conference is requiring more planning than our trip to Disney World. I’ve downloaded the app. Bought a spare phone battery so my phone will work all day. Mastered the basics of Twitter. Ordered/received new business cards (Frisco Kids on one side/Jersey Kids on the other). Figured out which sessions I’ll attend. Made a “one sheet” of blog stats to hand out to sponsors. Not too many, though, because I only have so much ink. Started making plans with those 5 bloggers I know going (including lunch with middle age humor writers who are attending the menopause comedy show). And signed up for the only event still open – where I’ll get bused to a hotel for rooftop cocktails. I could do worse. I got my hotel (.4 miles from the conference – of course the conference hotel booked up before I even got my ticket).  And I still feel like I have 5,000 things to do to get ready. Like pack.

Wish me luck!


  1. Have fun!

  2. Corporations ARE people…according to Mitt Romney

  3. Great pre-blogger post. Can’t wait to hear your reaction afterwards!

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