So you’re going to be hosting Blogher at your hotel….

This will be my 4th Blogher experience and I’m lucky that my hometown is hosting this year.

I saved airfare so I decided that upgrading our room would be a great idea after I got an email suggesting doing so for a fairly reasonable price.

I called the Chicago Sheraton and spoke to a Ms. Victoria (who was very helpful and nice btw) and though small talk realized that she (and others at the hotel) didn’t know what Blogher was.

Oh.

Oh my.

Taken from Sheridan website

Taken from Sheraton website

So Sheraton Chicago? This is for you.

And you’re welcome.

 

 

Thank you Melissa

Thank you Melissa

 

1)What is Blogher?

Short? It’s a collection of online writers (blogs and otherwise) who gather to learn more about the art of blogging. It’s about 99.8 percent attended by women. The few men can be found carrying a flask to offset the estrogen hurricane they just entered. The Blogher conference covers many different aspects of blogging including writing, photography, technical, design, and probably lots of other stuff that I don’t do or understand.

It’s also so much more. For me, it’s the annual pilgrimage to meet online people that I read all year round. I can get my geek on and have not a single person think I’m strange. And I am strange.

2) What do one of these “bloggers” look like?

You can tell a blogger by the technology. Look for smart phones, iPads, Apple lap tops, and lots of texting and SQUEEING when two women meet. Bloggers are squealers. Get yourselves some ear plugs now and thank me later.

3) What should I expect from bloggers?

Thank you Lady

Thank you Lady

You should expect from them as you would any other customer unless you piss them off. Then? Expect your social media to BLOW UP LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. You should warn whoever* runs the twitter and or Facebook page now. Really. And buy them a bottle of vodka for each of the 3 nights that the conference is going to be there. (*feel free to tweet me @thenextmartha to say thanks for the vodka I just got you)

4) Why should I care about these bloggers?

You don’t have to but I can guarantee that they will be one of the most diverse groups of women that you’ve ever hosted. If you just take a moment to talk to them you might find yourself inspired, in awe, laughing, and better just for meeting them. You’ll meet writers who talk about humor, loss, love, family, crafting, food, technology, politics, their spanx and their lady parts.

 

Thank you Sili

Thank you Sili

 

Other stuff you should know:

-Many bloggers bring children and some of them are babies who are breastfeeding. Hell, you might find toddlers breastfeeding in your lobby. Get to know Illinois breastfeeding laws before this group enters.

-This may be the only 3 days a mom gets out of her house from taking care of kids for the whole year. She chose this conference to spend her money on. Your hotel may be the only hotel she stays in all year. Please don’t judge a mommy blogger by her cover. Give her the same service that you would of any customer. Again, if you don’t? You’ll pay social medially.

-Swag. What does that mean? It means that there are corporate sponsored parties that donate items to get them into the hands of this shopping powerhouse of the family. How does this affect you? Housekeeping. At the end of last year’s conference my room had ½ a closet stacked 3 feet high with stuff we decided to not pack and bring home. We left a note explaining that we were leaving housekeeping with any of the stuff we left. A lot of this stuff is NOT junk. It simply cannot all be taken. Please come up with a policy for items left behind in the room for housekeeping if you don’t already have one.

-Expect your Wi-Fi to be taxed more than you think is possible. We may just break it.

-Don’t water down the coffee you serve us. Don’t. We’ll hunt you down and kill you with hashtags. #WheresTheCaffeineSheraton?

There is probably more but I think I’ll let you chew on this for now.  As for myself, I thank you for hosting us in advance. It’s not going to be an easy or low key weekend for either of us.

And when it’s over? You can thank me for giving you a heads up.

-Jen
_________________________________
Bloggers:

The Chicago Sheraton has their own app

141 thoughts on “So you’re going to be hosting Blogher at your hotel….

  1. Why can’t we just all get along?

    #sigh

    (writes the math blogger who is apolitical and tries to please everyone… unless you try to claim 1 is prime or 0 is positive… then we might have an opening of a can of you-know-what)

    But really, y’all. If there’s not a sarcasometer running next to a blog post, many people won’t see that there’s sarcasm involved. And if the media is after someone (or a group of someones) they’re totally hosed. It’s called spin. And we’ll never be able to get around what THEY want to say or write about us.

    Want to check back in with reality (or what media can do with reality)? Go watch Wag the Dog again.

    #xoxo

  2. I’ve never been to a blogging conference yet, but I’ve read and heard a lot about them and hope to go one day. It is obvious to me that this was to be taken tongue in cheek. I’ll never know why bloggers get so up in arms over the mention of swag? What Blogger doesn’t like a little swag, freebies, trips, review products etc… or any other perk they may receive from blogging.

  3. And THIS is why I avoid these big conferences. Not Jen’s post, but the unnecessary shit storm surrounding it. People need to chill out instead of wasting time trolling around, looking for a fight.

  4. To Deb NG: I’m not really sure how you missed the sarcasm, but okay, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt fr the minute.

    If you HONESTLY thought this post was going to make BlogHer look bad and give people the wrong idea, you’d have emailed her or commented on the post. You wouldn’t have written an attention-whoring post, calling her out for your own benefit (the benefit, of course, being attention and traffic and more self-righteous people rallying behind you).

    But I don’t think you honestly thought that. And if you did, well, see above about attention whoring.

    You know what makes bloggers look unprofessional and bad? The crap that you wrote. Not some tongue-in-cheek post abou the stuff that actually happens – good and bad – that anyone who’s been to BlogHer knows about.

    And you know what makes women look bad? Tearing down other women. This wasn’t some social construct that needs changing you attacked. It was another woman, a fellow blogger – one who wrote a sarcastic blog post that would fall in the “humor” genre. One that’s meant to entertain.

    I don’t believe in shaming people (clearly, you’re not with me on that one), but if I did, this would most definitely be a “shame on you” moment.

    I think if you took a step back and looked at what you did – took someone’s humorous (but based on a lot of reality) post and acted like an insolent child, you might wish you could go back a a few days and make a different choice.

    Of course, that would take some honest self assessment and based on your glaringly self-important, all-knowing post, I feel like the chances of it happening are pretty slim. Your behavior makes me sad.

    • Hi,

      First and foremost, I have commented on this post. Two comments were allowed through and others weren’t. I do try and be respectful with my words and attitude in my comments, unlike the people coming over to my blog and swearing, dropping gifts and shouting in all caps. If Jen doesn’t let this comment through, I hope at the very least she’ll comment that I did respond to you and I did so in a respectful manner, but she didn’t let it go through.

      I’m not afraid of BlogHer looking bad. I have nothing but respect for BlogHer organizers. It’s not BlogHer that I have an issue with.

      A few months ago an article came out in the Wall Street Journal portraying blog conferences as “mom blogger vacations.” Mom bloggers were affronted, offended and insisted WSJ got it wrong. But then how did they respond? They took pictures of themselves at a Mom blogger conference jumping on beds, raiding the mini bar, and passing out amid a pile of beer bottles to show the WSJ. There was very little written about the networking or educational sessions.

      My point is that mom bloggers are judged by what they give us to judge them by. So if you’re going to put a post out like the one above, that’s fine, but you have to be prepared for some backlash. If mom bloggers don’t want to be judged as entitled or leaving the husband and kids behind to party, they have to give us something else to go one. Whether or not Jen’s post was humorous has no bearing. My point would stand regardless of the intended humor.

      If people who go to BlogHer don’t want folks like the WSJ to write about “mommy blogger vacations” they have to show that the conference is more than swag, parties and squeeeing, and they can’t demand (in jest or not) that they be treated super special.

      My post was about perception. If mom bloggers don’t want to be judged on the wrong things, they have to stop putting the wrong things out there. Otherwise, we go with what we’re given.

      I apologize for making you feel sad but I stand by my post which was not meant to gain traffic. As Jen’s isn’t a high traffic blog and mine isn’t a high traffic blog, I didn’t feel it would it would become this epic. If you have seen my blog you can see that I don’t go for jumping on bandwagons or traffic whoring.

      Though I didn’t mean to stir up a big hornet’s nest, I stand by my post.

      • I guess I just don’t understand your need to come here and reply/defend your post in my comments. You have your post. Do it there.

        • I was addressed and I responded. I now know I’m not welcome and won’t return. However you and your community are always welcome to present your points of view on my post and I welcome intelligent discussion there.

          • It’s not that you’re not welcome. But the constant replying just attracts more attacks. I\’m just way too lazy to keep moderating comments.

      • Deb,

        Can you truly not see and understand that the photos of bloggers jumping on beds and raiding the mini-bars that came out after Mom 2.0 were satirical middle fingers pointed in the direction of the WSJ? How that isn’t clear to you, or anyone else for that matter, is a mystery to me. Because that’s what they were. The fact that they were nearly exact interpretations of the drivel in that article was a dead giveaway.

        You’ve stated time and again here and elsewhere that if bloggers want to be seen as professionals they need to put professional behavior out there. I don’t disagree with you there. But where you and I part ways is that where you would sweep the bad behavior under the rug and just not talk about it, I would blow the lid off of it in hopes of laying bare the swag-whoring and quick-to-tweet-disappointment ways of the worst offenders at these conferences, because you and I, and everyone else, knows that those bloggers exist. Ignoring them doesn’t mean they’re not out there.

        • It’s very clear to me. I know exactly how they were intended. Again, the humor has nothing to do with it. Bloggers are judged by what they put out there.

          I’m not sweeping anything under the rug and I am talking about it. As Jen doesn’t want me coming here and commenting, if you’d like to continue the discussion feel free to reach out on Twitter or at my blog. I’m happy to have this conversation with you elsewhere.

          • Yes, bloggers are judged by what they put out there, but if they put out humor and that humor can be seen as such, what’s the problem with that? If the vast majority of those looking can see the humor, then the problem lies with those who can’t. And I’m speaking largely about the photos following Mom 2.0/WSJ because humor in images like those is more easily understood than the written word where familiarity with the writer aids in understanding.

            By continuing to assert that we should only ever put out the good/positive side, you’re making yourself sound stuffy and humorless, and since I don’t know you, perhaps you are. But I’d like to think that you’re not and you can see those things and laugh at them, too. And yes, it does sound like you’re saying, repeatedly, that we shouldn’t cast any light on the negative behavior.

            What I think people are failing to realize in all of this is that you’re on the same side but fighting the battle in different ways. None of us are best-served by self-righteous, entitled bloggers taking to Twitter to complain about crappy coffee at a conference. Where you would come out and say “don’t take to Twitter to complain about your crappy coffee. Just swallow and be glad it was free,” Jen is saying “here’s what will happen because some bloggers are jerks.”

            And the reality is that some bloggers are definitely jerks and unfortunately, the jerks will shout the loudest which means they’ll be heard unless we all collectively find a way to say “don’t be a jerk.” Some will read the humor and go “Wow. I don’t want to be that person.” Others will read the direct posts and go “Wow. I don’t want to be that person.”

  5. I had to stop reading the comments. I clearly got that this post was filled with humor – but also practical advice, not only for the Sheraton but attendees. I have been to all kinds of conferences. Social media, business, academia, photography… And the people saying that coming to a conference for fun REALLY are the ones that need to get over themselves. I have seen the MOST inappropriate behavior at business conferences, my favorite being all the drunk bosses taking turns doing the funky chicken all over the drunk secretary. So please spare me when saying bloggers are unprofessional. EVERYONE lets loose at conferences. As for turning down the swag, you are handed a bag, some of which you want some you don’t, but is still valuable and you have zero time to deal with it. It would be terrible for that swag to be thrown away. I never saw ANYTHING in this post asking for MORE swag. And finally, BlogHer is a very very very large social media conference. There are very few conferences ANYWHERE that has the same number of attendees with the proclivity to share online, so much like SXSW and CES – the Internet WILL go down.

  6. The part that’s the funniest to me is the part where several people commented how point #3 was out of line. It’s funny because these comments just prove it’s true.

    Piss off some bloggers and suddenly there is a social media shit storm.

    If this was a gaming blog, the comments would just be a bunch of troll faces.

  7. YOU ENTITLED ASS.
    Actually, let me say it in my Australian accent:
    YOU BLOODY ENTITLED ARSE.

    Just kidding. I love you always and forever.

    Blogher can be intense, yo. I remember being absolutely nauseated at “certain” bloggers that had posses following them around like a bad remake of Heathers.
    Gotta say, I won’t be missing that part of the conference this year.

    I WILL MISS YOU HARD, HOWEVER.

  8. Oh, and someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe we had just 1500 attendees in 2009 at the Sheraton. To say the WiFi was taxed would be an understatement. That’s not atypical for a tech conference, but does bear mentioning because they clearly knew we were a tech conference last time.

    • Former hotel sales manager, catering director and event planner here….the WiFi requirements should be clearly communicated by the planners on the BlogHer side, it what conference planners DO. And if a group has unusual or involved technical requirements, then typically those are discussed fairly early in the planning stages. They would also involve additional costs (bourne by the client, not the property)—which presumably would be passed on to the attendees through their registration fees. Or covered by a sponsor.

  9. As someone who attended BlogHer 2009 in Chicago at the Sheraton mentioned in this post (and BlogHer in NYC & SF), trust that the hotel will not suffer from any advice received regarding how to handle expected strains to their WiFi, copius swag, and the unique nature of the conference attendees.

    In fact, every hotel would and should be appreciative to receive specific details on the unique requirements of the events and attendees they host. They even have staff members whose jobs are dedicated to that purpose.

    What this post does is apply a light-hearted spin to those details. If you’ve not attended nor hosted BlogHer and/or don’t plan to, you have the opportunity to skip this post as it DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU. See how freeing that was? You probably have time for a jog or dinner with friends, now!

    If you have or are planning to attend and/or host BlogHer, you might glean some nuggets of wisdom from betwixt the witty banter. Or not. Maybe this post isn’t your style. In that case, this post IS NOT FOR YOU. Feel free to use your valuable time reading posts about BlogHer that better suit your needs. Or take up a new hobby, maybe knitting or calligraphy.

    If you’re part of the riff-raff who made it through the colander, and this post SPEAKS TO YOU: I’m sad to say I won’t be at BlogHer this year, so we won’t have an opportunity to meet in person. But do know that the BlogHer community has been close to my heart for many years. If you go to the conference or work for the Sheraton, I’m sure you’ll see why. And the advice from this post will be a great foundation for your first BlogHer experience.

    • So, basically you win the internet for comments. I’d give you a crown, but I can’t seem to bare to give any of my own away. I’m too busy embossing E’s on them.

  10. This is some funny crap! So totally completely true! And I totally blow up a company’s twitter when they tick me off. Ask @BestBuy and @Mailchimp …. hahah! And PS – they both responded and both helped me. :)

  11. I’m guessing because the subtitle of this blog contains “a lot of sarcasm,” I’m to take this post with that in mind. It works in that context, but yeah, #3. Not so much if this was a serious post.

  12. If you really care…the housekeepers will collect your items and mark them as Lost & Found. In approximately three months (depending on company policy), the items will be turned over to the housekeeper that “found” the items. That’s how it works. Wishing @sheratonchicago the best of luck and patience with Jen and the Blogher group.

  13. I fail to understand where, in any of us, you come off as entitled or an ass or anything of that nature. The piece is funny but it’s also, actually, an excellent description of what to expect when you attend BlogHer. Period. How that makes you “entitled” or an “ass” as another commentator so …cough…nicely put it, is ridiculous. Now, I will sit back and await as those same commentators rip me to shreds b/c I don’t see the world exactly as they do. Bring it on ladies.

    • Check the part of the post where she presumes to tell a hotel how to deal with a convention it’s hosted before. If people had complaints about it the last time it was hosted there, that’s one thing. Otherwise, this is like calling a restaurant for a reservation and INSISTING you get the BEST service and the staff’s COMPLETE attention because otherwise you will REGRET it. The presumption that any hotel doesn’t ALREADY KNOW to take of its customers is obnoxious and will leave anyone who works at that hotel with a bad taste in their mouth before the conventioneers even check in to their rooms.

      • BlogHer has grown exponentially since the conference was last hosted there (2009, for those who didn’t know when and don’t feel like looking.) And I’m sure there has been a lot of turnover in the staff since then too.

        Take it easy on the capital letters. Read some of her other posts, and you’ll see she wasn’t writing this to be an ass. Or maybe you won’t. I just assume with a name like “Flaccido Domingo” that you can find humor in things. But I could be way wrong. Kinda like how you were wrong to assume that this post should have been taken seriously.

  14. I think this is HILARIOUS!! And as far as I’m concerned….the SWAG is a GIFT to housekeeping and the housekeepers I’ve talked to during conferences have ALL appreciated the SWAG that is given to them. The SWAG in no way should replace a tip to these wonderful ladies, and you should leave a tip anyway no matter where you are staying. TheNextMartha…you’re hilarious and #3 couldn’t be more true…..

  15. HA! I think you hit the nail right on the head! And I don’t think that your post is rude, mean, or demeaning. It’s actually quite true!

  16. What I find kind of comical is that this exact hotel hosted Blogher in 2009. So not just another Sheraton, not just another blogging conference, but this exact blogging conference at this exact hotel in 2009. That was just four years ago, I’m sure they haven’t had 100% staff turnover and short term memory loss, so I’m sure they’re not wandering around like lost children in event planning, wringing their hands and going “What is a blogher? What do we do???”

    If this wasn’t any kind of real advice at all and was meant to be entirely humorous, itneeds a rewrite, because it looks like over half your audience was annoyed rather than amused. If more people ‘just don’t get it’ than ‘get it’, the tone is way off.

    • Really true. As a writer, if you have more than a few people not getting it, even if it’s satire, you need an editor. Satire is hard to do, but one only need visit the Onion or watch the Cobert Report to know how to do it correctly. It’s harder than it looks. Obviously.

  17. I get that this post is meant as tongue in check humor, the problem is that this post was circulated on the widely followed conference hashtag . A PR rep, brand or conference newbie who doesn’t read you regularly & takes this post at face value might well walk away with the impression that bloggers are all a bunch of entitled snots.

    • Holy hell, who would this at face value??? I think if someone walked away with that impression (“that bloggers are all a bunch of entitled snots”), they are very clueless about reality and well, this post is the least of their problems.

  18. Wow. Entitled much? This is quite possibly the tackiest thing I’ve read in a while, especially #3. (Also, whomever not whoever; it’s an objective noun in this sentence.)

    • I fully agree that leaving the excess conference marketing materials in the rooms is not the best plan and puts a lot of excess work on staff.

    • This issue isn’t limited to bloggers, it applies to most conference attendees. And I agree that housekeeping should not have to deal with items left behind. Which I believe is the point that Jen was trying to make.

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