Arrived home from OSCON last night, only to get up early this morning to head off to BlogHer. The gender contrast between the two events could not be more different: OSCON is 95% male, Blogher is 90% female. Or, another way to put it: OSCON is 90% antisocial, Blogher is 90% social. Although I had, and continued to have, zero problem walking up to anyone at an OSCON-like event and just start talking to him, many people don't have the ability or inclination. As a result, events like OSCON can be lonely affairs.
At Blogher, the situation could not be more different. From what I observed, an event participant has to be actively sending the "f*** off and die vibes to be left alone. I personally started conversation with a half dozen women I didn't know, and I was there only half a day (yeah, that "get up early this morning" lasted as long as my trip to the toliet and back to the bed).
The part I find most interesting about events like OSCON and Blogher is that you can't prejudge people by looking at them. Prejudge is the wrong word. You can't form an opinion about anyone without talking to him/her first. The blind guy sleeping in the corner? He's probably one of the biggest contributors to the software you use daily, blind or not. The quiet shy woman across the table, unable to meet your eye? She's a damn fine writer, and a lion with her words: listen to her roar.
No, the era of opinions in the first 30 seconds are over for these events, and I love it. Meritocrity is finally winning.
So, yeah, that sleeping thing. At Blogher, I missed the opening discussion and break, but arrived for lunch (great timing me!). As I arrived, I hoped to see a familiar face, and wasn't disappointed. I sat next to Sean from LPFI (Mini will be around tomorrow), even if I couldn't remember how to spell his name correctly (yeargh). Eventually, I'd catch up with Skye, who is always absolutely wonderful to talk to. I missed her talk in the morning (boo!), but we had the same style shoes on (yay!).
I went to four workshops, three and a half of them being worthwhile for me (I was not the target audience for the two half-workshops I attended).
10 Types of Web Writing by Lisa Stone and Lynne Johnson, who discussed various types of writing, from conversational to link blogs + commentary to long form essay.
Audience Building by Elise Bauer, who discussed various ways to increase web traffic, search engine placement, etc. Lisa and Lynne couldn't speak highly enough of Elise, so I had to go to it. Both of these workshops were well organized and well presented.
During the next set of workshops, I went into the one titled "Design/Style/Customization", but it was 3 minutes of should you get a designer, if you do expect to pay and watch out for communication issues, followed by a long tutorial on basic CSS. Skye and I walked out of that one, and into the one named "Tagging, tracking & structured blogging" It was much close to my level, both in skills and interests.
The last one I went to was about monetizing your blog, by Jen Stagg, and was interesting. It was material I look forward to using, though don't need quite yet.
Yes, the energy of this conference is amazing. I'll be signing up again for next year, and bringing my mom along, too.