I remember very distinctly the moment I heard I’d been selected to be a speaker at BlogHer. What I can’t remember is whether it was my Generation Fabulous partner, Sharon Greenthal, or Anne Parris who first told me.
I was at work caring for a patient when I got the call from one of them. I’m pretty sure it was Sharon, but I know I talked to both of them in very close succession, so now it all runs together in my mind as one conversation. Let me just say that there was much squeeing.
If you’ve never heard the term “squee” let me clue you in. It’s a verb. As in, I squee. You squee. We all squee for ice squeem.
Being chosen for a panel at BlogHer is a big deal in the blogging world. BlogHer is only the largest blogging conference for women in the world. It’s a big deal.
BlogHers in My Past
This year makes my third trip to BlogHer. The first year I went with my daughter, Rachel, from Sandals in the Snow. BlogHer 11 was held in San Diego, and since that’s the place I still call home, it was easy to justify a trip there.
Rachel and I had a fantastic time together. As far as I know, she and I were the only mother-daughter blogging team in attendance that year.
Last year BlogHer was held in New York City and Rachel could not go with me. I was very sad. but then 2012 was just an altogether very sad year for me.
I really wasn’t entirely sure why I was going to BlogHer 12 since I’d more or less given up the dream of being a professional blogger***.
Honestly, if I hadn’t already spent the money on a ticket, and promised Anne that I would room with her, I would not have gone.
***Why anyone in their right mind would want to be a professional blogger is beyond me. The hours are long, the pay is minimal for the time it takes to do it right, and in the end, for all your trouble, complete strangers feel like it is their right to cut and paste entire passages from the DSM-V detailing their armchair-psychiatrist analysis of what is wrong with you and forward them straight to your inbox. (For the record, I’m going to start sending these lovely care-packages of mental health awareness to my insurance company. Maybe they’ll be interested in your opinion. I know I’m not.)
What It’s Like Being a Speaker at BlogHer
I know you aren’t here to read about BlogHers from my past, or my troubles with weirdos from Canada who have nothing better to do than send me long quotes from the DSM-V.
You came here to find out what it’s like being a speaker at BlogHer. Well, IT’S FREAKING AWESOME! That’s what it’s like.
In the months leading up to the event you get emails from Shannon Carroll (aka Mr. Lady) in your inbox. I fell madly in love with Shannon at my first BlogHer when she was on a panel about blogging transparency and the role of shame with author, Brené Brown. Hands down their session was the best one I attended that year. I’m not surprised BlogHer snapped her up. Shannon is all kinds of awesome. Getting nice emails from her helps offset all the clippings one receives from the DSM-V.
As BlogHer approaches, Shannon sets up a conference call for you with your BlogHer team, and the other members on your panel. I was fortunate because I already knew Anne and Sharon very well, and I’d had the serendipitous good fortune to have met our panel moderator, Jen Lee Reeves, in Las Vegas while attending AARP Life @ 50+.
Finally the big day arrives. When you walk up to the registration desk you are directed to a special line just for speakers. There a smiling person gives you a name badge that says “SPEAKER” at the bottom. It looks a lot like this:
You get to walk around the conference and people know when they see your name badge that you’re a Speaker. They say stuff like, “Oh, I see you’re a Speaker. What’s your topic?” And then they listen attentively while you answer.
And that feels amazing and terrific, and almost makes up for the large swaths of the DSM-V that are taking up so much space in your email inbox.
And then your time comes to speak. And you feel all giddy inside that people actually show up to hear what you have to say. And you say your part, and then you listen to your partners be magnificent and incredible, too.
And before you know it the session is over and the incredible Peg Fitzpatrick is giving you a big, warm hug.
So thank you BlogHer for inviting me to be a speaker on the topic of blogging in the midlife space, and giving me the time of my life. Our session was phenomenal. Oh, and can I mention that according to Zehnder Labs the midlife blogging panel was the most mentioned session across social media channels at BlogHer this year?
Women in midlife rock. Generation Fabulous rocks!
(photo image from midlife panel by Grown and Flown)