Chicago is about to be overrun with blogging ladies -- mommy bloggers, lesbian bloggers, even mommy-lesbian bloggers. Not to mention all of the food bloggers, political bloggers, feminist bloggers, health bloggers, and travel bloggers. Put it this way -- the city is about to be invaded by chicks with computers.
Over 1500 bloggers and social media enthusiasts are about to storm the city for the fifth annual BlogHer Conference at the Sheraton on July 24-25. And that number doesn't include the gals who will be at LobbyCon or who are just showing up for the cocktail parties.
I am attending the conference on Friday (with my six-month-old sidekick). As a a BlogHer newbie, here is all I know so far.
Bloggers like to party. I have received invitations to more parties taking place in the next few days that I have collectively for the past three years. There are small, invite-only parties. Then there are huge, everyone's-invited parties. And even bowling parties. I am only going to be able to make it to a fraction of the parties taking place -- but I know people who have schedules so packed that they had to generate spread sheets to keep everything straight (yes, I am serious).
Bloggers also like free stuff and sponsors. Apparently, Blogher isn't just about blogging -- it is also about sponsors and companies and "swag." Many bloggers seem to have had their entire trip paid for. Others are eagerly awaiting access to the Expo Floor where they will be courted by companies who want them to take their free products and then write about how much they love them on their blogs.
One blogger even told me to bring an empty suitcase with me because I would be hauling away so much stuff (I am not doing that). I am receiving flirtatious emails from companies inviting me up to their private suites to take a look at this new product or meet this celebrity. Makes me feel kind of cheap and used but I might stop by one or two of these "exclusive events" -- just to look, of course.
This is a great excuse to work and play. I know that BlogHer is an excellent networking opportunity for someone like me. And sure, I am going to bring a few of my business cards along just in case. But I am mostly looking forward to hanging out with some of my real life blogging friends. I am also eager to bump into some of my ChicagoNow colleagues like Trish Bendix, Amy Guth, and Jenni Prokopy (and maybe even get a peek at Carrie Kirby's new baby). In a sad groupie way, I am also hoping to meet the authors of some of my favorite blogs IRL (thats "in real life" in blogspeak).
So I am resting up for the parties and trying to think of something interesting to say at the break-out sessions. Hey, I might even live blog from the conference -- if I am not wandering the lobby with a crying baby!
Are you going to be at BlogHer too? Leave a comment and let me know so I can look out for you.