Over the weekend, I had the chance to attend BlogHer for the first time. I had been planning to attend this conference for a while and never really got around to it. I’ve been heavy on the conferences lately trying to absorb as much information as I can and #BlogHer17 did not disappoint. I must admit, I did not have high expectations based on things that I’ve heard before. I’m glad I decided to see for myself and this is why I loved it so much:
I met some amazing new bloggers.
Because that’s part of what the conference is all about right? But it was more than that for me simply because I prefer to be an introvert. Although I love to be on the listening end of the conversation, while I was at the conference, I did quite a bit of talking. I don’t generally disclose that I blog with people that I know or people that I meet and my reasons would be another post for another day. However, I was comfortable doing so here and met a lot of interesting people in the process.
I learned a lot from the breakout sessions.
I was really particular in selecting sessions that aligned with my personal track. I attended a session where Natasha Nicholes and Oneika The Traveller discussed the affordability of travel and they also threw in how to find the best deals and how to make the most of your trip.
A lot the sessions that I attended were standing room only. The SEO session exceeded every expectation that I had. A father-daughter expert duo came through with amazing tips on how to improve SEO for sites by providing live critiques of sites from bloggers in the room. The experts also provided a ton of SEO tools and provided demos on site. Since I use WordPress as a CMS for the sites that I create that don’t include blogs so this information was quite useful for me and all of the projects that I have.
I saw Serena Williams in all her BlackGirlMagic Glory.
I have always been fascinated with Serena. I mean, how can anyone not? Clearly Serena is a superhuman and not of this world. Her drive, work ethic, and persistence is completely unmatched. And if you think I’m exaggerating, Forbes has the receipts.
And if you can’t win the Australian Open while pregnant, don’t debate me on this.
As the keynote speaker, Serena gave us a synopsis of her philanthropic efforts including Purple Purse, which combats financial abuse. She also shared her experience with permeating Silicon Valley by joining Survey Monkey’s Board of Directors. I am a tech geek so my heart nearly burst at the seams when she shared that little tidbit.
Serena also shared with us how “Pressure is a Privilege.” That resonated with me to my core. There are times when people expect so much from me and it can become overwhelming. Serena suggests that recognize those moments of intensity as a privilege because those people believe you are capable of bringing whatever it is to fruition. And deep down, you know you can, you just need a little pressure to remind you.
Luvvie Hugged Me.
Luvvie Ajayi gave an amazing lightening talk that had me deep in the abyss of my feelings. To be able to witness the humility and gratefulness that she exudes is truly amazing. And not only that, but if you have the ability to make other people laugh AND yourself, you are truly a comedian. And not to mention, Luvvie’s laugh is absolutely contagious.
To hear about Luvvie’s humble beginnings sparked something within me. Additionally, I was able to share some personal space with her, even if only for a short moment. I had been trying to get my book signed since Afrotech last year and finally succeeded. And I left with a hug, a Luvvie smile, and a judgey pop. Day Made.
I shared a ton of hugs and laughs with my favorite bloggers.
You know how you read a person’s blog for years and you feel like you know them? Like you grew up with them? Because there is absolutely no one that can you tell you that you are not best friends in your head. Now imagine being able to meet those people in the flesh AND discovering that they are the most beautiful, authentic, and loving souls that you imagined them to be.
You realize that you and one of your favorite bloggers are almost dressed alike. And you giggle every time she laughs because the sound of her laughter is absolutely contagious. And you know exactly where her adorable son gets his amazing personality from because they were definitely cut from the exact. same. cloth. Fatima, thanks for all the laughs.
You meet an amazing being with a heart filled with hustle whose story will make you wonder who is cutting up onions near you. A person with a beautiful and authentic soul that you can’t help but to wish well on her journey to the top because you know that’s where she’ll be soon enough. Godspeed to you, K. Godspeed.
And you meet someone who totally fan girls for you. And you can’t help but to fan girl for her because she’s equally and totally awesome in every way. Because she has the most genuine and pure heart of someone you’ve known forever. Because you share a room, blast Afrobeats, and swap stories like the two of you grew up together. And then things get quiet because she has a tendency to fall asleep without warning. Someone who has the ability to convince you to go running even though there isn’t a Great Dane on your heels. Tiff, thanks for being exactly who you are.
I was inspired.
Seeing people fearlessly put their works and blogs out there for people to read without any inhibitions was truly inspiring. They share their stories and lives without explaining why they want to do it. Because “I want to” is a justifiable answer. So for me, that means sharing more without thinking about the judgement or rude comments from people who don’t understand my why. And that also means me not giving a damn enough to explain it anyway.