Meeting planning done right: BlogHer11

August 11, 2011
That’s Ricki Lake in the white shirt. BlogHer’11 closing session. Lisa Stone,

on left, is a BlogHer cofounder. Next to her, Fatemeh Fakharaie, who founded

Muslimeh Media Watch. On the far right, Carol Jenkins, president of

Women’s Media Center.

Huge props to the BlogHer events team for making a virtually perfect logistical experience for 3,600 women bloggers in San Diego. And I should know: planning big events was part of my charter for way too many years when I worked in corporate Silicon Valley.

A few of the special touches that made it so good for attendees:

  • San Diego Convention Center repurposed many of the men’s rest rooms by draping off the urinals and making LADIES RESTROOMS! Brilliant. Therefore, rarely a wait at the ladies room at this BlogHer conference. That’s a first.
  • Food choices include a vegan section and gluten free section (separate lines). Major. And Lord, there was food. A lot of it. All day. Quite a bit of it was healthy, too.
  • Smartphone app that allowed us to view the conference schedule and EVALUATE it (stars) on our phones. Very convenient, but it didn’t play well with other apps on my Android phone, since my screen kept freezing. Until I deleted the app after the conference. But a good idea.
  • Free BlogHer wireless network all over the convention center AND free hotel wireless for conference registrants. So nice! Especially because attendees were bloggers.
  • Helpful people posted all over the place to get us where we needed to go. Dozens of them. And signs. Everywhere. We needed them, too.
  • QR codes. I’d never seen them before and here, I ran into them every time I moved. One woman’s QR code was a fake tattoo placed on her arm.

The devil’s in the details, and BlogHerEvents got many of them right. And the conference was really on the low end of the cost scale, especially for what we got. Thank you!

The session content was a mixed bag, depending on the moderator. Well-moderated panels made the best sessions. At one, the moderator failed to ask each woman to explain a bit about their background, information necessary to understand why they were sitting on the panel. I think she assumed the audience knew, when actually, most of the audience was in the dark.

At other sessions, the moderator was also a panelist, which meant her focus was more on what she was going to say than on moderating. I’m a believer in independent moderators.

That said, I’m registering today for next summer’s conference — in Manhattan. Wouldn’t miss it for the world. Who’s in?

2 comments on “Meeting planning done right: BlogHer11
  1. Lori Luna says:

    On behalf of the BlogHer events team…THANK YOU!!

    Lori Luna

  2. Lori, I know all too well how much is involved in making something of that scale work so well, so really, you all deserve every kudo!

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