Mom 2.0 Summit: The Bravos and Boos

by Gigi Ross on April 20, 2011

This is my real post on Mom 2.0.

Caveat: Individual results may vary. Everybody comes to a conference with a different mindset, goals and expectations, and I think that colors what we each take away from the experience.

There were a TON of positives for me and some negatives too. Do I regret going? Absolutely not. Do I feel like it was a waste of money? Hell no. But that $15 glass of wine at the Ritz? Yeah, I’m bitter about that.

So here’s to the bravos and boos of Mom 2.0.

The Schedule and Logistics

Bravo… for having plenty of breaks scheduled, parties to which everyone was invited  and an easy registration process.

Boo…for packing the schedule so tight that there was no room for dinner on any night. I don’t count eating at 9 p.m. or having to skip a party to order  a proper dinner from room service! {Yes, I’m old}

Boo…for an absolutely frigid conference area and really spotty wi-fi.

The Programming

Bravo…for there being a really good array of topics to choose from. Most of the time I was torn because so many panels sounded great.

Bravo…for an outstanding closing keynote.

Bravo…for the emphasis on social good.

Bravo…for the GO sessions. I was initially bummed to not get session time, but it was a breath of fresh air and really met some of the most wonderful people on my tour.

Boo…to some of the panels having too many people. I’d rather see one or two people go in-depth on a topic than hear four or five speak in generalities.

Boo…to the round tables being cut short. There were about 18 round tables happening at one time and due to the compressed schedule, there were only two rotations. I had at least 4 I wanted to stop by.

The Food

Bravo…to the beignets, the Friday lunch and all of the sponsored snacks. They were great. A big thumbs up to the folks at Truvia as well, who sponsored a cocktail party with truly delicious desserts and yummy drinks.

Boo…to the lack of time for real meals and heavy emphasis on passed appetizers. {Do I sound like an AARP member yet?}

The Panelists

Bravo…to the panelists who answered questions thoughtfully and gave real, tangible tips and takeaways. And there were many.

Boo…to the ones who were  a little less focused on the audience, or let the audience sidetrack the discussion.

The Parties

Bravo…for the parties. I thought they were all fantastic and fun, and where I met a ton of people.

Boo…for the opening night cocktail party being way too short. And then suddenly, everyone disappeared, and my two friends and I (we collectively knew almost no one) were left alone.

The Sponsors

Bravo…to all the sponsors who really did take a genuine interest in me, my blog and in telling me about their product. This was more often the case than not.

Bravo…to the conference organizers for lining up what I felt was a fantastic, diverse and powerful group of companies. Best list I’ve seen.

Boo…to some of the sponsors being so tucked away in hidden rooms and upstairs that they didn’t get the attention they deserved.

The People

Bravo…to the more experienced bloggers and leaders who went out of their way to be nice to me, a little fish. They epitomized the art of paying it forward, one of my blogging mantras. So thank you to Carissa Rogers, Ciaran Blumenfeld, Wendi Aarons, Janice Croze, Rachael Herrscher, Jyl Johnson Pattee, Cat Lincoln, Holly Hamann, and Tiffany Romero. They were totally open and welcoming.

Bravo…to the other little fish who swam with me and managed to find their way. I made some great new connections.

Bravo…to the panel with Liz Gumbiner, Maggie Mason and Erin Loechner. I loved their positive approach to working with PR; that we as bloggers can choose to not spew venom about a bad pitch but instead, use our creativity to transform that bad pitch into one which is a winner…and showcases to PR firms what marketing forces we can be.

Boo…to the lack of humility I witnessed more times than I wish I had. It left a bitter taste in my mouth.  I’m not saying we  shouldn’t be proud of our accomplishments. But in the end? This is blogging and marketing, not the U.N.

Boo…to the constant thrashing of PR firms. I realize I don’t get 100 pitches per day. I haven’t walked in those shoes. And I realize there are more sucky pitches than good ones (vaginal dryness, anyone?).  Some of the joking is apropos and in good fun. Some? Was pretty venomous…with PR people in the room. I had to leave the session.

I think it was Cat Lincoln that said something in her panel about being gracious to the harangued 19 year-old tasked with doing blogger pitches for a PR firm. Someday, that 19 year-old may be a rising star with good accounts. Grace should be our hallmark, not the exception.

And a final bravo…to myself, for attending a conference where I knew very few people, putting myself out there, making some great new friends and having a much clearer direction for my blog. And for that, I’m grateful to the entire Mom 2.0 team for providing an environment to let those positive things happen!


Sheila @ Pieces of a Mom April 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I enjoyed reading this. I thought about going but felt that I wasn’t part of the blogging elite. So, I opted out. It’s nice to know that had I gone, there would have been some others in my corner. :)

Carley Knobloch April 20, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Good for you for attending and making the best of a big blogger conference, which can be overwhelming! I attended my first last year— BlogHer in NY— and it can be a very divided crowd, sometimes unwelcoming. So bravo to YOU for seeking out the best— i know personally that Ciaran and Jyl are fantastic women, so you did good! I’d love to meet you at BlogHer if you’re going. We’ll do room service!

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 11:13 am

Thank you for the encouragement, Carley! (I am a huge fan of your site, BTW). I’ll be at both Evo and BlogHer, so I hope we can connect in person and have room service, beverages, you name it! :)

amy @teachmama April 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm

OH MY GOSH!! I totally love this post–Gigi, you hit on EVERYthing I thought, my friend–everything. You rocked it. And just as an fyi, I’m a little fish, too, who is over the moon that we connected at a conference I, too, was nervous about attending but that I’m so glad I did.
I’ll share beignets with you any day–and I really, really hope we can.

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 11:12 am

I’m so glad you liked it! I can’t wait to be at another conference with you again. My wheels are turning on your awesome site and how I can spread the word about it, too!

Adventures In Babywearing April 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Bravo to you for this post!


kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

It was so nice to meet you, Stephanie! I hope at the next conference, we can spend more time chatting!

Deb @ San Diego Momma April 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I wasn’t at Mom 2.0, but wish I had been.
I completely appreciate this honest (and well written) account of your experience.
Seriously? One of the best recaps I’ve read. Ever.

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 11:03 am

Thank you so much, Deb!!! I hope we can meet at a conference soon!

MainlineMom aka Sarah April 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm

One thing I totally regret is not getting to some of the sponsors who were tucked away in distant rooms. I really am bummed to have not visited with hp or Microsoft really at all! It was only because I was so busy and they were not terribly convenient.

I’m glad that I didn’t hear much PR trashing at all. I’ve heard more than enough of that in blog posts.

I wasn’t planning on going to any other conferences this year, but I was so inspired by this one that I am seriously thinking about seeking sponsorship to go to BlogHer or Type A now.

Whit April 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I could have used a dinner break, too. Also, a nap break, but that part I brought on myself.

Sounds like you had a great time, and that’s time well spent!

Denise @ Shopper Strategy April 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I’m sad that I didn’t get a chance to meet you at Mom 2.0 but I think that your post is spot on! I also spent the entire time in search of a proper meal, thanks for letting me know that it makes me old :) I still hope to run into you at future conferences!

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

Likewise, Denise! Evo, maybe?

Denise @ Shopper Strategy April 21, 2011 at 11:58 am

Shoot – I won’t be at Evo! I’ll be at BlogHer in August – how about you?

Ashley April 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm

This is such a great way to wrap up the conference- love the positive/negatives. I think what you described can apply to other conferences too, right down to the lack of food choices and frigidness! Thanks for letting those of us who were stuck in the arctic (I mean at home, ahem) have a glimpse inside Mom 2.0!

Paula@Simply Sandwich April 20, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I really like the concept about grace being a bloggers hallmark and not the exception!

Ummm Gigi…if YOU are a little fish….I think that means I am plankton! Thanks for the wrap up! :)

Holly Hamann April 20, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Hi Gigi – thanks for your candid and thoughtful post. Meeting you and being able to do a video interview with you was one of my conference highlights! I’m glad there were some blogging veterans who made you feel welcome and clearly saw your talent as a blogger and awesomeness as a human being. I loved meeting you and look forward to staying in touch! I see big things ahead for you, my friend!

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 11:01 am

Thank you, Holly! It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and do the video! :)

TiffanyRom {SITSGirls} April 20, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Great post.

Loved seeing you in person- I consider us friends. I feel like twitter bring people into my life and then BBC give me the chance to meet them. So glad we got to chat IN PERSON again.

You held your own like a pro- wish I could have seen more of you, but I was in my room ASLEEP while most were out partying.

I really enjoyed Liz on that panel and thought Shelley Kramer was right on during her panel as well.

As a conference organizer myself, I wish hotels could control the climate better- its almost NEVER right. I also wish I could have been able to tweet during the event- the slow connection made it tough.

We {when I say we, I really mean Fran} were able to make some great connections with brands, so it was worth the cost.

See you on twitter my love!

Mad Woman behind the Blog April 20, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Gigi, I read you for your honesty. Thank you. Its refreshing to read the pros and cons….and has given me a lot to think about before my next conference.

Kelley April 21, 2011 at 1:29 am

Gigi, I almost felt like I WAS at Mom 2.0. Thanks for this really great list! It was eye-opening and helpful to read. I also thank you for the e-mail you sent to me the other day that answered some of the questions I had asked you. You are awesome!

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

xoxo I wish you had been there!

Stacey Nerdin @ Tree, Root, and Twig April 21, 2011 at 7:35 am

Love this post, and I gained a lot of insight by seeing the conference through your eyes. Some things I had already written about, and some I hadn’t even considered. Very interesting! Again, I love it.

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

Thank you stacey! and next time: I am not missing your panel. :)

Jessica April 21, 2011 at 7:38 am

What a great, honest summary. I hope the organizers read this and appreciate you for every word of it.

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

Pleased to say that the organizers did read, and comment. Kudos to them.

amber April 21, 2011 at 7:45 am

I felt a lot of these same things after going to BlogHer last year. I wasn’t actually sure I ever wanted to go again, but I’m going to try it one more time.

Thanks for the excellent recap!

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

I will be really interested to compare BlogHer this year to Mom 2.0. It sounds like they are totally different experiences, but I think in some ways the same issues are present at most conferences – blogging or otherwise!

Single Dad April 21, 2011 at 8:00 am

Great break-down. Hotels generally aren’t known for their IT prowess and WIFI connectivity but it’s a shame they didn’t try to go the ‘extra mile’ for a conference of (mostly?) bloggers. That would have shown great foresight on their part.

The conference sounded like a lot of fun!

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:14 am

I heard they had the same issue at Blissdom…who could ever be prepared for twitter frenzied bloggers, I guess?

John April 21, 2011 at 8:01 am

Wonderful recap – sounds like a great time . . . and yeah, $15 glass of wine? I can’t remember the last time I paid more than $12 for a bottle of wine, and that was likely for one of those magnum double-bottles of wine.

Glad to read that everything wasn’t all unicorn farts, just because I’d hate to think that anybody got something fully right…and I’ll never understand the vitriol against PR firms from bloggers. You make a difference by doing something new & different, not by spewing bad words behind closed doors.

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:13 am

Amen! I’m seeing a lot of really well thought out posts about this conference – honest and thoughtful. I think that’s a testament to the people who were there. Mostly very classy!

Jen April 21, 2011 at 8:42 am

This sounds like such an awesome time. I hope that I can attend this conference in the future.

Laura Mayes April 21, 2011 at 9:49 am

Gigi, A. I love your name. B. I love your blog design (gorgeous…clean, smart, and fun!) and C. This is great feedback. Thank you. I’m glad you came to Mom 2.0 and I hope I see you in Miami (or somewhere else even sooner!)

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:12 am

Thank you, Laura. Overall I felt it was a very professionally run event. Thank you for the compliment on my blog design (I know you’re near to Austin, right? I am also, and my blog designer lives in Seguin (The Frilly Coconut Design Shop). I’ll be at Evo, so if you’re there, I truly would love to meet you in person, if not sooner around Austin!

Laura Mayes April 21, 2011 at 10:18 am

You’re near Austin? Shut up. Let’s get together for beverages sometime. And I love Jyl and Rachel so I always try to make Evo. It was a blast last year.

Well done, The Frilly Coconut Design Shop! Go Seguin. Go Matadors.

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:50 am

I’m in Austin, near Steiner Ranch area. Cocktails anytime – name the day. My treat!

Jessica June 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Alright, I AM ashamed that it took me this long to come back and comment on this post, but now that I have, I’m flattered.

Go Matadors?! I’m impressed! You know, even though they’re not so hot now, my senior year…they were AWESOME!

Carissa April 21, 2011 at 9:49 am

Oh my gosh. Your thoughts are so very similar and in line with mine! I’m humbled to make your list of big fish, but you are SORELY confused on that one! :)

It’s easy for me to make new BFFs and become alarm clocks for others because I still am a small fish all these years later. (and I like it that way!)

I think all of the conference event organizers are taking note. I’ve NEVER seen such honest open CONSTRUCTIVE criticism before. Makes me super excited to attend the next conference. I will not be at the next Mom2 not because I didn’t like this one but because DUDE I can only travel 2 times per year (ish) so I try to pick conferences I haven’t been to for future travels. Ya know, new people to meet. New Fishes to find. :)

I loved meeting you, sorry it took me a whole walking tour to realize WHO you were!! See, that’s my small fish talking.

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

I love your humility, and you are great at finding new fish. :)

Carrie Pacini April 21, 2011 at 9:51 am

Thanks for all of the Bravos and Boos. It totally helps us with planning next year. In regards to the wine I consumed a number of great wine by the glass options at the Ritz that were much less than $15 (more like $9)…as well as a beautiful Sparkling called Marquis de la Tour for $10. That Marquis was definitely one of my bravos!…Also, I loved that the Ritz had generous pours compared to other places.

kludgymom April 21, 2011 at 10:10 am

Well, heck, now I’m upset at missing the $9 glasses of wine!!! Good to know. Note to self: read wine list before ordering. :)

Jackie April 21, 2011 at 10:27 am

Excellent post!! Bravo to you for being brave and going it alone, meeting all those great new people, and having a great time!

I am with you though on the dinner thing… I’m old though… and I like to eat.

I have never heard much about this conference until I saw your tweets! I think I’ll look into it more and see what it’s all about.

Alexandra April 21, 2011 at 11:25 am

You will find nothing of this type of complaint at the annual AARP conference in stunning Gatlinburg.

julie gardner April 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Bravo to you for such an honest, thorough assessment of the strengths and challenges of the conference.

Although I have no plans to attend any conferences at this point, I’d be tempted to go to the AARP conference with you and Alexandra.

(I can be the guppy.)

Cheryl @ Mommypants April 21, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Thank you for not posting a picture of beignets.

Also, dinner is important to me. You will not go hungry at BlogHer.

Elizabeth @CouponsMakeCents April 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Well, I’ll have to admit, the room service wasn’t too great, was it? And having to miss the party…boo. But I really did love the expos and had a great time meeting everyone. I wish there had been a few more frugal bloggers there, but that’s ok. I don’t meet a stranger. The PJ party was fabulous! At the Brangelina penthouse? Yeah the bedroom did freak me out a bit but the whole thing was really nice. Had a good roommate too. 😉 Sorry I had to leave early.

Christina Simon April 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Bravo to you for braving the conference and coming back to write about it!

As a blogger and former VP of a big PR firm, I understand both sides of the issue (getting annoying emails from PR firms and being asked to pitch something AWFUL for a client). I just politely ask the PR firm to take me off their list or I unsubscribe. Done. And, yes, PR people do have long memories and today they may be pitching some lame product and next month be promoted to head up an account for a big brand that some blogger has been dying to work with.

Shell April 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I get SO CRANKY when I am not fed. It definitely affects my outlook on things.

Thanks for an honest recap.

Natalie April 21, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Bravo to you Gigi! I knew you’d have a fantastic time!!

And bravo for writing such an honest account of how it went…the good, the bad, and the ugly so to speak.

Sandra April 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Have loved the recap Gigi. Glad the beignets were worth the trip to New Orleans! haha I love how they kept reappearing in the posts in the last two days. Little bit sad to read about the lack of humility part though. I know these experiences are meant to be for learning and growing, but the fun probably got a little bit ruined by that. On a more positive note, you gave me the idea to approach KY as a sponsor for BlogHer 2011 with your mention of vaginal dryness :) Thanks so much for the thorough description of your experience. It has made me even more determined to get to a blogging conference myself.

Kelly April 22, 2011 at 4:58 am

Thank you for sharing an honest take on this conference-I was hoping to go, but could not swing it. Would like to go next year, so hopefully the planners are reading and taking notes.

And a BIG Bravo to YOU! (I Loved that you made that the last one!) for getting out there and meeting new folks!

You are such a talent Gigi!!

Shasta April 22, 2011 at 9:47 am


You practically wrote my post for me! I wish I would have met you!

Missy April 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Good for you for listing both the positives and the “areas for improvement.” I’ve never been to a blogging conference. I would like to think that I don’t HAVE TO in order to make a difference with my blog, but sometimes I wonder. I like to hear your honest feedback about it. Good job.

Erin I"m Gonna Kill Him April 22, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Hardly a small fish, Gigi! You’re becoming a whale shark.

I’m telling those vaginal dryness folks I will only partake if they provide a demo.

Morgan B. April 26, 2011 at 9:38 am

Thank you so much for writing a well-balanced review of your conference. Sometimes I feel like everyone always writes about how the conferences are full of roses and rainbows. You were very fair, honest, and provided excellent constructive criticism. I’m glad you had such a great time!

Jill April 27, 2011 at 10:12 am

This post was so informative to a new blogger. I wasn’t even aware that there were conferences! Thanks for keeping the newbies informed and giving us a well thought out review.

C.Mom April 28, 2011 at 11:26 am

Thank you for the incredibly honest accounting…. love your quote, “Grace should be our hallmark, not the exception.”

And as far as food, crankiness, and being old…. at almost 37 I am there with you. Maybe there should be a junior version of AARP? :)

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