Blogging is Big Business. But For Whom?

by Chloe Jeffreys · 40 comments

in Blogging

I’m working my way through my thoughts and feelings about BlogHer 2011. I learned a lot. Some things were very affirming, and some of what I heard scared the holy shit out me. In the midst of it, I kept having this single niggling thought:

Blogging is obviously BIG BUSINESS, but for whom?

For those of you who don’t know what BlogHer is, here’s the link to their vision statement.  In their first year, 300 women attended. This year’s attendance at the San Diego Convention Center was  3600+.

Just from the standpoint of a helluva good time, as a woman who really likes the company of other women all I can say is that I had the time of my life. It was a frantic and frenetic frivilous free-for-all.

What’s not to like?

1) You walk into a great horde of women

2) You attempt to explain why you are there (the so-called elevator speech)

then,

3) You listen to them explain why they are there.

4) While doing 1, 2, and 3, you get a bunch of free Swag and drink a lot.

I gave up on my elevator speech after the first day and boiled it all down to one word: “Stuff.” As in, “What is your blog about?” My answer: “Stuff.”

It was more interesting to listen to other people tell me what they were blogging about than to yammer on yet again about blah, blah, blah, my blawg.

Who cares?

I’ve decided that my blog is the Seinfeld of blogs. Maybe that should be my new elevator speech.

The Sessions

I only learned after-the-fact that people don’t go to Blogher for the sessions; they go for the Swag. You would think that everybody would love free stuff, but apparently even free stuff can generate controversy in blogdom. Maybe because I’m not a techie, I only noticed after I was told to notice that the tech companies weren’t represented at BlogHer. I know my one experience at the Geek Bar wasn’t too helpful, but since I’m in the midst of this monumentally agonizing move to WordPress, I probably was expecting too much.

I already wrote about Pathfinder Day with Ree Drummond and Katheryn Finney, so I won’t revisit that except to say, “Content, Content, Content.”  My takeaway from Pathfinder Day? To be successful you have to write interesting stuff that people want to read and you have to do it regularly and often.

My all-out favorite session was Brené Brown’s session on blogging and shame. Without a doubt that session was the most revitalizing and encouraging of them all.

Because I was so Content-focused, I didn’t hit the Chamber of Swag until after lunch on Day 2. And this is all that I left with:

Thanks Eden Fantasys!

I almost entitled this post, “Of Sex Toys and Crayons” because to me these two pieces of Swag represent the conundrum I face as a blogger.

Authenticity or Marketability?

Some would say that you can be both, but I’m not even sure I can be either.

The truth of the matter is that every woman I saw the rest of that day, from mommy blogger to stylish Yale-y MBA marketing guru, seemed to be carrying an edenfantasys bag on her shoulder.  Aside from the sex toys they were giving away FOR FREE!–who knew you could get that stuff at a blogging convention?–they also had the biggest and most comfortable bag to carry. Kinda brilliant, actually.

But, after a morning of listening to how my blog could set me free, and a lunchtime collecting sex toys and crayons, I attended a marketing session where the first thing out of one of the speaker’s mouths was,

“If you want to attract brands don’t write about sex toys on your blog.”

Huh?

Of course, being predictably rebellious, that means that all I want to do now is talk about sex toys on my blog.

Part II: If you can’t stand the heat, stay away from the KY

Part III: Blogher: Selling the Dream

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