I'm slowly recovering from the estrogen-filled weekend that just occurred in Chicago. It's been hard to process all that happened and even harder to catch up on sleep. In the interest of focusing my thoughts, I came up with a list of the things I liked the most about my very first blogging conference.
- Saturday's keynote breakfast address about what humans do with artificial intelligence. It was awesome to see three female tech geeks talk shop and let us in on the discussion.They brought up many thoughtful points including the difference between "real" community and viral community, how blogging changes our intimate relationships and the fact that blogging brings out the best and worst in each of us.
- Receiving a tech support call in my hotel room from Ariel on Saturday night, after the cocktail party, asking for help with setting up her Lijit account.
- Friday's cocktail party overlooking Lake Michigan...simply spectacular!
- Hearing Penelope Trunk tell it like it is during the Self-Branding session. She spoke about the importance of leveraging your strengths and speaking up about the great job you're doing. A wonderful speaker who used to be a professional volleyball speaker, she was engaging and inspirational.
- Making fun of our hotel. We stayed at the W on the Navy Pier and while they tried pull off hip, it ended up cheesy. They renamed everything (housekeeping=styling, doormen=ambassadors, gym=sweat), had the motto of "whatever, whenever", and overcharged me for Internet access.
- Gwen Bell pressuring me to Twitter and to become a "power user". While I haven't started twittering yet, I'm seriously considering it. I had a lot of fun twittering vicariously through her.
- Saturday's closing cocktail party held in the Chicago Children's Museum
- Meeting some of my blog crushes...Helen Jane, who promised to wear her Lijit shirt, Rachel Kramer Bussel, who gave me a "spanking" bracelet, and Shuna Fish Lydon....while gaining a few new ones....Bossy, who danced and inspired, the Cookie Lady, who handed out samples, t-shirts and advice, Caroline, who entertained with her conversation and introduced me to the concept of career "scanners" and Jen, who let me borrow her very sharp scissors without any hesitation.
- The BlogHer un-conference that took place on Sunday. The session was led by Kaliya and was a wonderful way to discuss issues in depth with a smaller group of bloggers.
- The chance to evangelize Lijit to such a wide audience. As Elisa Camhort said in the opening keynote, "Blogging is the gateway drug of technology." Seeing Lijit resonate with so many women of varying tech skill levels was affirming. Having sweet swag shirts to give away didn't hurt the cause either.
I've never partied at quite such a venue before. There were photo booths, free booze and dancing enjoyed by all.
The energy and knowledge that I took with me from Chicago will be with me for a while. Thanks to everyone who made the weekend a smashing success!