My takeaway: It’s not so much a “how to blog” as it is a “how to be a better blogger” event. There were so many informational sessions that I could only choose a few: Monetizing, Owning Your Expertise, Crafting Your Pitch. Pitching is my weak point (“I gotta verbalize this?”) yet I enjoyed that most of all. I attended small group sessions with a company and a cause that I want to work with in the near future. And exhibitors hoping to connect with influencers set up booths offering small gifts and information.
I never considered myself an influencer before but I suppose we are. We share wisdom, advice, art and ideas. Some influence more readers than others but we all have a voice.
There were speakers too. Sarah Michelle Gellar spoke at Friday’s breakfast about her new food company, which didn’t impress me until I tasted one of their treats. The baked goods tasted as good as the competitors’ but using healthier ingredients. It’s more expensive but I’d buy it. Sheryl Crow and Kim Kardashian spoke at lunch the same day but I skipped that one. My day was tightly scheduled and I just needed a break.
My favorite speaker was Mayim Bialik on Saturday. I couldn’t wait to see the neuroscientist/actress/hands-on mom. She joked that she returned to acting for the health insurance after earning her PhD in neurobiology. (That line can only work in the United States.) Amy, her character in The Big Bang Theory, is based on several scientists she knew. A vegan, she told a story about stopping for fast food with her kids. My favorite quote: “Raising children is an equal opportunity feminist experience.”
She didn’t grow up wealthy; her grandparents were immigrants. Her mother was born right here in New York, in the Bronx. Oh, and Mayim is also an influencer: her site, Grok Nation, just celebrated its first birthday.
There were less bloggy events too. Five women were selected to pitch their business ideas (there’s that pitch again!) and the audience got to vote for the winner. All were good but the cash prize and massive mentoring went to the founder of www.mode-sty.com, a pretty clothing site for women who dress modestly. (I learned that that is the proper phrase.)
Nights were for
networking celebrating. Cocktails at the hotel bar, conversation with other midlife bloggers at a nearby restaurant, watching the Olympics opening ceremonies at a bar with my roommate and some other patrons, all of these provided opportunities to embrace this blogger identity. The closing party was on Saturday night at the legendary Conga Room and DJed by a gifted adolescent. Side note: I underestimated the staying power of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
Apparently, everybody wants to dance with somebody.
The conference was fun but exhausting. It was in Downtown Los Angeles, an area of shiny, newly-built hotels and restaurants anchored, apparently, by the Staples Center arena. Unlike other parts of Los Angeles, it doesn’t really have a sense of place. Honestly, I could have been in the gentrified part of any city.
Outside of the conference, the only nearby place I wanted to visit was the Grammy Museum, which I highly recommend. It’s basically a museum of modern music. I kept revisiting the cool, interactive board where you can sample different genres which are not only explained but compared to similar music styles.
I may write about it more someday. I will write more in general. Seven days later and I still feel inspired. I want to be selected for Voices of the Year. I have a lot to do. I just can’t decide if this is workfun or funwork.