Aside from contributing to the Daily Grommet blog, I've been writing on my personal blog for five (!) years now. What started out as a means to share personal stories and photos of my kids has turned into so much more. I'm involved in a great community of people who also like to share their stories. We've formed friendships online that are just as solid as ones formed in my home town, the only difference being that we don't have the opportunity to go for coffee whenever we want. The past three summers I have ventured across the border (I'm Canadian) and made trips to San Francisco, Chicago and New York to attend the BlogHer conference and spend face to face time with my friends.
The BlogHer conference gets larger every year, with 2,400 attendees this year in New York City. To help alleviate the cost for attendees, the conference has sponsors. There's even a large expo hall where you can peruse the booths, enter contests and even score free "swag". Even more swag can be acquired at one of the many different parties hosted by even more sponsors. While some of the businesses shilling their wares are large corporations (I love the Skullcandy earphones and Assets shapewear I scored), many entrepreneurs are also represented. Lisa Leonard included a discount coupon for her designs and many other people handed out business cards for everything from photography to website design.
The purpose of my trip was to see friends, and while I took home some great things, it was not the reason I was there. However. There are many men and women who spent each and every day scouring the Expo halls for products that they could bring home. If you like to see unique and interesting products, or to share your own, even getting your business cards out there at BlogHer is a good start.
I did the requisite expo hall walk through and then spent the rest of my time laughing with friends and exploring the city. I was in NEW YORK, after all.