BlogHer 2011, San Diego

Energizing, exhausting, overwhelming –yes, I’m talking about BlogHer, the world’s largest conference for women in social media. More than 3600 women (and a few courageous men) turned out last week for 2 days of networking and education, with a strong dose of primping and pampering (false eyelashes and a hand massage, anyone?) thrown into the mix. Each blogger had her own agenda, of course. “Newbies” came to learn how to get started, more established bloggers to see old friends and explore new corporate partnerships. Some bloggers spent all their time at the keynotes and seminars; others passed some hours sightseeing or at the pool. And of course, there were parties. Lots and lots of parties. It was, after all, BlogHer.

So how was this, my third BlogHer in a row (not counting BlogHer Business and local meetings) different from those in the past? For one, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak on a panel, called Bad Blogger Pitches (The Other Side of the PR-Blogger Relationship). More on that in a future post. In addition, based on the subject of my panel and some similar ones, there seemed to be more of a focus on professionalism — helping bloggers to realize that if they want to go beyond blogging for pleasure, if they want to turn their blogs into a profitable business, they need to understand what brands expect in return. Brands themselves, meanwhile, showed more thoughfulness in their approach to bloggers. Whether that meant offering the chance to settle back in a cozy room and cook up S’mores with Hershey or relax in a spa-like setting with HTC, some companies focused mo