Theoretically I was at BlogHer to learn how to become a better blogger so I felt duty-bound to attend the conference sessions. It was my first conference so I also attended the Newbie Breakfast after running the BlogHer 5K (if you saw women running in tutus in Midtown and in Central Park, that's what that was). I quickly learned that not everyone goes to the sessions, but I'm really glad I did go to the professional session: The FTC Guidelines: After A Year, Has Anything Changed? Basically a statement on the top page of your blog to the effect that "this is my real opinion, I'm not compensated for my views on this blog" is not good enough to comply with the regulations that came out last year. You have to mention in each post if you received product samples or other items that a reasonable person might taken into account in deciding how much to trust your review. You also need to disclose that you are part of any advertising or link program, like Amazon Associates (yes, I'm a part of it). It seems to me any reasonable person should know that if an ad appears on someone's blog or a link takes you to a purchase site like Amazon, it means that person is getting compensation! I'm glad I didn't go the blanket disclaimer route on my blog so I don't have to change gears at this point. Thank you panelists Lisa Stone, Susan Getgood, Kimberly Coleman and Stacey Ferguson!
I had so much fun and learned even more about blogging at the BlogHer Expo and the many, many parties during the weekend. I think that's the real reason people come to BlogHer. To have fun and make connections. And considering most of us have kids that run us ragged or day jobs that aren't very glamorous, I think we all deserved to have fun and get a bit of pampering. I was treated to a wonderful pedicure at the ECCO Shoes suite. My feet were so swollen from running around Manhattan in heels that it was really a treat to have someone rub lotion all over them. But it wasn't all about pampering, or even mostly. I learned so much about things going on in the blogosphere and in real life that I wouldn't have been exposed to had I not been at BlogHer. P&G's water for Africa campaign for one.
Then at the first annual Bloganthropy Awards announced at the Dinner’s On Us event sponsored by Bloganthropy.org and Child's Play Communications, I learned about what great work other bloggers were doing to raise awareness for social and personal issues through their blogs. The winner of the award was Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog in the United States on postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis and other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. It was encouraging to see and hear about women who make a difference by using social media effectively to promote a good cause. Hearing Katherine speak brought tears to my eyes because I could relate to how isolating motherhood can be during those first few crucial months. If only more women knew about resources like Katherine's blog, we wouldn't hear about those mothers who go insane and harm themselves or their children. The event wasn't only about serious matters, though. I was introduced to some great companies and their products, including Zillions Electronic Money Jar. I knew H would love this toy, and I was absolutely right. Maybe he loves it a little too much because every time he sees it, he shouts, "more money, more money." He emptied out the change from our wallets, and then I even used cash at the supermarket in order to get change for him. Don't worry--he's doing chores to earn the money!
The Bumble Bee Foods reception featuring Chef Scott Leibfried at the Viking Demo Kitchen was the source of some great new recipe ideas. Here is Chef Scott walking us through how to make Vietnamese spring rolls using Bumble Bee Sensations Seasoned Tuna Medley Bowl Spicy Thai Chili, fresh vegetables, rice paper, and his own special sauce:
We got to try the spring rolls after he finished making them and they were delicious! I'm definitely going to try this at home, especially since Bumble Bee Foods gave us free product coupons in our gift bags. I like Chef Scott's suggestion to use bagged coleslaw as a quick cheat to cutting up all those vegetables.
Here are some more photos of me or taken by me at BlogHer:
And if you think I'm done recapping, think again. More to come!
I did not receive compensation for this post. Dinner's On Us event photos courtesy of Child's Play.