BlogHer 2013: The Social and the Savvy (Part 1)

4 years ago

It's now been four days and counting since I got back from BlogHer 2013 (#BlogHer13) and the adrenaline rush of being "social" butterfly Estelle, is slowly dissipating amidst the daily onslaught of my "mom"  responsibilities, from doing six loads of laundry, to cleaning up messes, to dealing with temper tantrums, to organizing like a banshee three supremo playdates for my four-year-old daughter, one after another (sprinkler park, beach trip, pool/shopping trip).

It's also been four days and counting of well-meaning but non-blogger friends asking me to describe the conference, who look blankly at me when I proudly named my astounding increase in twitter followers since last year (see I'm in a BlogHer State of Mind), and continue to look blankly when I exclaim about how exciting it was to meet super bloggers like Neil Kramer of Citizen of the Month (who ran a fiction writing session at BlogHer), or Alexandra of Good Day Regular People)  the most prolific and supportive blogger I know, or the visionary Ted Rubin, who it was a pleasure to connect with at the expo after following (and sometimes commenting on) his tweets for months. It was especially lovely when he suggested meeting in town when we get back from BlogHer.

Ted Rubin, BlogHer13, Estelle Sobel Erasmus, BlogHer
Me and Ted

I went to BlogHer13 with two goals in mind. 1) To meet the people I have had conversations with on Facebook and Twitter and 2) To build relationships with brands for Mothers & More, the nonprofit, on which I'm President of the Board of Directors, of which one of the co-founders of BlogHer, Jory Des Jardins, is a member of our advisory council.

Jory Des Jardins, BlogHer, Estelle Sobel Erasmus, Mothers & More
In the lobby of the Sheraton. Thanks to Elisa Camahort Page for taking the photo.

I feel like I met both goals, plus one more, which was a bonus. I also met some amazing bloggers, business professionals who I had never tweeted, commented or Face booked with before, like media darling and all around menchette, Chicago-based Beth Rosen, Katerina of the delicious site DietHood (a BlogHer newbie, who I met at Ree Drummond's talk after which she sat with me during a Lean Cuisine lunch/presentation), Kate of Guavalicious (who I couldn't stop hugging), the amazing Jen Lee Reeves of AARP,  super sweet Jenny Ingram of Jenny On The Spot, and Tricia of The Southern Spark, who like me, loved to rock a maxi dress. 

Let me not forget my roommate, Shannon of The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful  who was a reader for the Voices of the Year presentation, who I met through the amazing midlife group, started by Anne, Chloe, and Sharon, Generation Fabulous. For us, there was none of that awkward conversation between strangers; it was like we'd known each other for years, and I had a great time swapping stories and sharing swag with Shannon.

It was also a special pleasure to meet Kay Keaney, who works for Boiron, and who represents Mothers & More, as a recent chapter leader and all around supportive member from the Delco, PA chapter.

Mothers & More, BoironI also got to meet Jen of the hilarious blog, People I Want to  Punch in the Throat, and creator of the anthology, I Just Want to Pee Alone, who is also a loyal Mothers & More member.

People I'd Like to Punch in the Throat
Jen is one of the people you meet that you don't want to punch in the throat.

I'll be writing more posts about the parties and the speakers (Ree Drummond, Sheryl Sandberg, Guy Kawasaki), but I want my readers to enjoy other blogger's experiences as well.  So I asked a group of savvy professionals what was their main takeaway from BlogHer, and I'm linking to their website or BlogHer post-mortem post.

I'm also proud that so many of the bloggers quoted here are VOTY's (Voices of the Year). Shameless confession: I was a VOTY last year.

Linda (VOTY) of Carpool Goddess tells why BlogHer was awesome but  not why you'd think.

Val of Bonbon Break: Each of us is so much more than just a person behind a screen. The friendships, mentors and connections that I gathered throughout the last week will keep me flying on a BlogHer adrenaline high...until next summer.

Phoebe of In Momopause: I'm glad to know there are other bloggers who are skeptical of the "brand yourself" mantra...some use it as a blog focus and not necessarily as only a financially-driven identity. I attended the session, "The UnMarketing Manifesto" & it was great!

Connie of My Creative Journey: I learned that online friends are real friends. The women I connect to online, I connected to IRL. That was a wonderful discovery. 

Lois Alter Mark (VOTY and my partner in cabs), who writes at Midlife at the Oasis on the Best of BlogHer13

Dresden of Creating Motherhood talking about Is This Just Fantasy re Her BlogHer13 experience.

Shannon (VOTY and a Reader) of The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful: Together we will rise higher.

Lori Moreno: My biggest takeaway was all the incredible people I met who already are becoming life long friends!

Cathy of An Empowered Spirit where she talks about attending with a disability and what Sheryl Sandberg (keynote speaker) told her.  I loved all the people I knew and met for the first time IRL. They were the spirit of the event.


(L to r )Lois Alter Mark, Sheryl Sandberg and Cathy Chester
(L to r )Lois Alter Mark, Sheryl Sandberg and Cathy Chester

Photographer Karen Sandoval on the Empowering Words I Heard at BlogHer13.

Helen (A BlogHer newbie and VOTY) from Books Is Wonderful 

Lisa, of Grown and Flown on a harrowing plane ride when the pilot says he has some bad news.

Kim of West Coast Posse: That every blogger is HUMAN behind those big, glossy sites that put mine to shame. I didn't get much out of the Pioneer Woman, but the fact that even she is human came through. That I need to just breathe and sit comfortably in myself and where I am, and be clumsy and awkward if that's me at that moment, and embrace it. I'll be working on all that before the next one.

Ellen Dolgen: Blogher was like watching estrogen fireworks! Women helping women--- sharing, inspirational and nourishing!

Shelley of Still Blonde After All These Years: When talking with a brand, ask them how you can build a long-term relationship with them versus a one-off review giveaway.

Sandra (VOTY) of Apart From My Art (who stood front and center with Queen Latifah):  It's the people you meet! The bloggers that you connect with and adore.

Sandra and Lois Alter Mark standing next to Queen Latifah, the emcee for VOTY

Sharon of Empty House Full Mind (and Co-founder of Generation Fabulous) on Five Things I Learned as a Stay-At-Home Mother to Use as an Entrepreneur-Lessons from BlogHer

Janie (VOTY) of The Boomer Rants: a mostly pictorial description of her experience.

Now here's my moment of truth. Ta Da. The reason I could be so "social" at BlogHer: my husband and daughter. Having their love and support as my anchor, gave me the strength to connect so freely with everyone at the conference, and in the wider scheme of life, to follow my dreams.

daughter and dad
My anchors. My loves.

I'm not sure where next year's BlogHer will be,  but I know that I want to either lead a session or be part of a panel....or both. I want to continue to give back to the community that has given and continues to give so much to me.

Write and tell me, what was your takeaway from BlogHer13?

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