Christine Koh

Hello!

I'm Christine Koh, a music and brain neuroscientist turned multimedia creative. I'm the founder + editor of Boston Mamas, co-author of Minimalist Parenting, co-host of the Edit Your Life podcast, and creative director at Women Online. Drop me a line; I'd love to chat about how we can work together!

BlogHer Boston Wrap

blogher1.bmpAfter 10 years of academic conferences, it’s probably no surprise that this past weekend’s BlogHer Boston conference felt revolutionary. Fun, energizing, and replete with interesting content, people, good food, and an affirming obsession with Twitter (I'm @bostonmamas...), I highly recommend that anyone interested or experienced in blogging attend this conference in the future. Here’s my wrap up of the event:

Impressively organized by BlogHer founders Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page, and Jory Des Jardins, Boston’s first ever satellite meeting featured parallel sessions on blogging basics, social media, and tech troubleshooting. I was honored to speak alongside dynamos Candelaria Silva and Susan Getgood on one of the blogging basics panels (specifically, on finding your blogging mojo). To learn more about this and other sessions, hop over to In Good Taste and LaurieWrites to read some incredibly in depth recaps by Maris and Laurie, respectively.

In short, BlogHer Boston was impressive, and from what I heard from folks who have attended the annual meeting, while this event obviously was smaller in scope than the California event, BHB was similarly brimming with the energy and excitement of women convening around a common passion. I actually have little in the way of criticism, and below are my favorite things that this meeting got right:

  • Know your (varied) audience. Parallel sessions can be challenging, but it’s better to leave attendees eager to hop between sessions than feeling as if there isn’t enough content to meet their needs and interests. I also was impressed that within each parallel session, content coverage seemed to effectively bridge the gap between new and seasoned bloggers.

  • Give people time to talk. Between each session was a 15-minute break, which served as a great way to refuel and offer folks a chance to catch up, meet new people, or talk to panelists. My one related criticism, actually, was the exception to this pattern, in which a 45 minute break was inserted between the last session and the closing keynote. I suspect this delay probably resulted in many casualties towards the end of the day (myself included, I’m afraid... apologies to the fabulous closing keynote folks!).

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  • Speed meeting as an ice breaker. I was skeptical about this initiative, but it worked. After the welcoming address, attendees were asked to form two lines for speed meeting (chat with the blogger across from you for a minute or two before you move on to the next). It was a great way to meet lots of wonderful folks quickly, and I imagine also was helpful for those who attended the event alone.

  • Family friendly. I truly was impressed by the number of babies (and helpful partners) I saw present. And obviously, breastfeeding was welcome. Seems like a no brainer at a women’s conference, but I’ve heard examples otherwise on the mommy blogger meeting circuit.

  • Noninvasive nametags. A seemingly trivial point but I always breathe a sigh of sartorial relief when I arrive at a conference and am greeted by a hang or clip nametag (not a pin tag that pokes holes in my clothes).

  • Good snacks. From top to bottom, I was impressed by the quality of the food. Snacks and beverages were pretty much available constantly (including plenty of water and fruit) and the breakfast and lunch spreads were very good. When you’re hungry and tired, nothing exacerbates the hungry grumpies like a lackluster meal spread.

  • Interesting sponsors. Yes, they provide the money to help fund the conference but it’s also good if they provide interesting and useful information to attendees, and if possible, fun or silly goodies to take away. Among the sponsors, Saturn offered test drives from their new line of cars, LG showed new gadgets and loaded folks up with little tech treats, Playtex showcased and gave away BPA-free bottles, and Hooked on Phonics and LeapFrog presented learning materials and provided giveaway goodies. Other sponsors also held special entry giveaways.

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    It truly was a pleasure to meet so many new and experienced bloggers, and to finally meet in person many who I only knew through online communication. I also had a great time connecting with some of my very talented and inspiring blog/media peeps: Kristin Brandt and Erin Kane of Manic Mommies, Heather Kempskie of P & K Magazine, Meredith O’Brien of Picket Fence Post (these 4 ladies are pictured above), Laura Tomasetti of 360 Public Relations, Audrey McClelland, Jane Porricelli & Sharon Couto of Mom Generations (an amazing family trio that apparently travels everywhere - online and in person - together!), and Jill Notkin of The Daily Grind. I also had a chance to reconnect with Sandy at Momisodes (pictured with me above) and meet Angela from Mommy Bytes...what can I say, Asians naturally gravitate towards one another.

    Finally, in impressively fast technological follow up, if you want to hear more from me at the conference, you can listen to my podcast interview with the Manic Mommies (I had no idea they were going to feature me on the podcast, and I was honored to be a part of it), and also see my interview clip with Playtex over on YouTube.

    Here’s to hoping that BlogHer returns to Boston; there clearly is a critical mass and I can only imagine that mass will continue to grow!


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