The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
August 5, 2010

I’m speaking at BlogHer 2010 this weekend

BlogHer speakers badgeLast year, I ranted about feeling overwhelmed at the BlogHer conference. In my post, Blogher ’09 and The Story of Stuff, I asked how BlogHer could move away from the commercialization of the conference and how we as bloggers could get back to our roots and avoid getting swept up in the barrage of swag and parties pushed by conference sponsors. I also revealed that I spent all of the first night drunk off my butt and that because I felt so overwhelmed and exhausted going in to the conference, I failed to make the most of the educational tracks offered.

BlogHer 2010 will be different from BlogHer 2009

I’m hoping this year will be different. But the difference will be inside of me… not the conference itself. From the program guide, it looks like there are even more sponsors this year — big companies like Procter and Gamble, Pepsico, Walmart, and McDonald’s. But BlogHer has made one important change, and that is that vendors and swag stay in the vendor hall. There will be no frenzied giveaways anywhere else in the hotel during the weekend. And any vendor parties will be held off the premises. We’ll see how it works out, but for now I feel hopeful that my experience will be calmer than last year.

I also will not be drinking. While there are cocktail parties every night, my drink of choice will be pineapple juice and seltzer. I stopped drinking for good in October of last year. And I intend to take responsibility for my own experience, regardless of what I encounter. Breathing will help. Taking moments throughout the long weekend to get grounded and remember who I am. And refusing to worry about how my toenails look and the fact that I don’t dye the gray out of my hair anymore.

Why I’m Going to BlogHer this year

Some green bloggers have decided to sit this one out.  They are weary of the vendors and the bloggers who are more concerned with promoting products than writing about what they believe.  But I am not quitting.  I’m going to the conference to speak on using our blogs to motivate our readers to action. I’m going to learn to be more effective as a blogger. I’m going to connect with other women bloggers who share some of the same concerns as I do. And I’m going to bring my own green perspective to the event. I might be one small voice, but I feel that my voice and others like it are sorely needed.

My BlogHer 2010 Schedule

If you’re going to BlogHer, I’d love to meet you in person!  Here’s my tentative schedule.

Day 1

Session 1, 10:30 – 11:45 Geek Lab:  Usability for Beginning Bloggers.  While I am certainly not a beginning blogger, I have heard from several readers that Fake Plastic Fish has become difficult to load.  I’m hoping to learn some tips about making my site more user-friendly.

I may also check out the session Writing Lab: Writing Inspiration: Stoke Your Creativity

Session 2, 1:15 – 2:30pm Change Agents: Creating Tangible Social Change: How to Move People to Action This is my session! I’m on a panel with several other change agents discussing how we get our readers to act rather than simply read our blogs.  My focus will be on the Take Back The Filter Brita Campaign I spearheaded in 2008 to get Brita to take back and recycle their water filter cartridges.  But I’m sure I’ll mention other ways you guys have participated, like doing the Show Us Your Plastic Trash Challenge!

Session 3, 2:45 – 4pm Writing Lab: Good Blog Design: The Role of Layout In an Online Medium

Day 2

Session 1, 10:45 – 12pm Writing Lab: How to Use Your Blogging to Make You a Better Writer

Session 2, 1:30 – 2:45pm Professional: ROYO – The Mega “Mindful Monetization” Session! This one I’m really excited about! Many bloggers, including me, accept advertising on our blogs as well as free samples.   But what standards have we created to make sure the products we promote are in line with our values?  I have written up a very detailed description of my Advertising/Review/PR policy, and while I am not sitting on this panel, I feel I have a lot to contribute to it!

Session 3, 3-4:15pm Geek Lab: Creating (or Massively Altering) a WordPress Theme (Int. to Adv.)

Later that evening, I’ll be attending A Green Affair, a party for green bloggers.

And I plan to stay in NYC an extra day and meet up with Juli Borst from PlasticlessNYC, Leila Darabi from Everyday Trash, and hopefully Cat Domiano from It’s a Green Green Green Green World.

Let me know if you want to hang out.  And if you’re not going to BlogHer, why not leave a comment about how you have dealt with overwhelming events where you felt like a fish out of water?

20 comments
Beth Terry
Beth Terry

I found my pumice stone at a local store, but doing a quick google search turned up several. It seems that the price difference is all about marketing. If they market them for personal care -- removing callouses from feet -- then they are more expensive. If they're marketed for cleaning, they are cheap. Here's one from Ace Hardware: http://www.buyacehardware.com/pumice-scouring-stick-us-pumice-pumie-11938.html But I don't know about the plastic packaging, so you would have to ask. I found mine without any packaging at all.

Josefine
Josefine

Where do you purchase those pumice stones? I've never seen them in stores here, but I might not have been looking thoroughly. Thank you for your answer and ideas, Piper. Rubber gloves sounds good!

Tanya
Tanya

Wonderful post as usual Beth! :) I've never had any problems loading your site...

Piper
Piper

Josephine, a pumice stone is a little block of volcanic rock. Sine porcelain is harder than pumice, you can scrub away without scratching the porcelain. It's really good for hard water stains. To clean the toilet rubber gloves will let you reach in with something other than a brush. You could probably give a big giant loofah a try. I've been wondering if I could grow loofahs in my garden.

Jeanne
Jeanne

Beth - great to meet you. This was my first experience and yes, I attended some parties and though collected some swag, I did turn away a lot. I checked out the CheeseburgHER party out of curiosity after we parted and it looked liked they owned the world with everyone decorating their own McD bag to wear on their heads to dance the night away. Crazy and wasteful. The green parties (and post one-on-one conversations) were by far the most enjoyable..and the takeaway - real and valuable connections that will not be discarded as easily or mindlessly as the bejeweled burger bag. Thx, Jeanne

Kathryn Grace
Kathryn Grace

So much I want to respond here, but the chord that continues to reverberate as I begin is how long it takes your page to load and the workshop on making your blog more user friendly. I don't know if it still holds true, but back in the dark ages when the Internet was still fairly new and many of us were building our web sites from scratch, we were taught to avoid busy backgrounds for two reasons: 1) Every color change on the horizontal plane (think one row of pixels changing color every few cells) slows load time and uses more bandwidth. 2) Busy backgrounds behind text are difficult for many users to read and may encourage them to jump to another web site. I'm dedicated to reading your site, so I wait for it to load (I'm in San Francisco and have high speed and a new, well-maintained computer, so I know it's not my connection or my equipment), and I put up with the difficulty reading the text because the information is valuable, and I'm committed to supporting your work. For those reasons, I'm excited about what you learned at your workshop. Does a busy background still slow loading time? Will you consider putting the text portions of the site on a solid ground so it's easier for some of us to read? As for the rest of your post, I'm excited to learn more and going back now to follow the links you provided. Btw, it was fun to see a tweet to you today from @urbangardens about seeing you at Blogher and meeting you in person.

Diane Cayton-Hakey
Diane Cayton-Hakey

Your 'About Page' simply would not load for me. Hope you are enjoying Blogher this year. Di

Josefine
Josefine

It sounds fun! I wish similar conventions were held in Sweden, I'd like to attend one without having to fly half-way across the world. Incidentally, my boyfriend and I are moving to a flat next week-end. This will be the first time we're responsible for everything including cleaning by ourselves, since we both live with our parents respectively now. Therefore I'm kind of wondering how you'd go about cleaning your toilet in a plastic-free way? I've been thinking about this for... a few months, but I just can't seem to get around the thought of a big creepy plastic brush that needs to be replaced frequently for sanitary reasons, and I've realised that I've never seen one of those in your tallies. The only mention of this that I remember was when you had a cleaning crew over at your flat and they used a pumice stone, I belive it was called? How? And what is that? I need to look up the translation...

Tess
Tess

Great that you are going to do this. Good luck. I've been measuring and weighing my plastic for some weeks now although not submitting photos here, and I've cut back considerably. Thanks to you for making me think so specifically about it.

jenn
jenn

have fun - I am continuing my tradition of not going. :) I still don't understand the point of BlogHer (I guess I am jaded after my years of experience with Webgrrls/SFWow etc)

Samantha
Samantha

I wish you the best of luck and think it is great that you are going to stand up for what you believe! :D

Rob
Rob

Congrats on joining the sober bloggers at blogher... NOt going because BlogHer is a discrimantory for female bloggers and men are only allowed if invited, And since no one invited me, I say BLOG THIS BLOGHER!

Nicole
Nicole

Enjoy yourself! It sounds like you've taken steps to have a much better year. Can't wait to hear how it goes for you! :)

Gladys
Gladys

I wish I could go but too late-Next Is a must for me -Wish you all the best and can't wait to read your posts about the conference-Enjoy!

Amber
Amber

I won't be there, but I hope you have a great time. And I hope to make it in 2011!

Mary
Mary

This is really cool, and I would love to read about your experience at BlogHer when it's done. I've considered going to the conference myself, but so far I haven't made it for various reasons. When I asked certain friends if I should go, they basically said, "meh." It's just like you said -- in the blogging world, people focus really heavily on stats and promotion, and I hear/read a lot of the same advice repeated constantly. So, at the end of this year's conference, could you write a little about what you got out of it?

Clif
Clif

I'd like to see you do a brief wrap-up of your blog decisions right here on FPF - mentioning the blogging services you have used and why you decided to change to WordPress, what features you've found useful, etc. Since so many are blogging, including yours truly, I think your fanbase would be interested in hearing about your experience in rolling your own.

Sonja
Sonja

Unfortunaly I cannot go and meet you, although I'd love to. Whishing you a wonderful time and a good experience!