As many of y'all know, this blogging gig is full-time for me. I literally do this for a living which means that I often attend blog-focused conferences to educate myself and network with other bloggers and companies.
I've been attending one of my favorites, Mom 2.0, for a couple of years now and really enjoy it. It is a top notch production and really well done. So this year, when it's partner conference, Dad 2.0, was in San Antonio – I decided to give it a try.
And man – am I glad that I did! I really enjoyed this smaller, more intimate conference and getting to know more men in this industry. It was really interesting to me how, while very similar, the two conferences are also very different.
Dad 2.0 Versus Mom 2.0: What's The Difference?
So, how are they different? Since I got this question a lot while I was at Dad 2.0, I thought it might benefit some people if I talked more in depth about how Dad 2.0 and Mom 2.0 are the same and also how they are different.
Keep in mind, I completely enjoy both these conferences – just for different reasons. This is not a competition, kids!
This is a much more relaxed and casual atmosphere. The dress is much more business casual (with an emphasis on casual) and the Facebook group is much more lighthearted (jokes and teasing abound).
Attendees were a mixed bunch. Lots of men but a solid ratio of women, too. What interested me most was that it wasn't primarily bloggers attending. Lots of people had their own media companies or were micro-influencers with a focus on specific social media channels.
I also met a lot of gentlemen who's wives had the more traditional breadwinner role in their family and they had a “side hustle” in addition to being the primary caregiver for their family. There were also a good number of guys who did the digital or tech side of their partner's blogging business.
Few attendees bring their kids and I don't recall seeing a single child or baby at any of the sessions or presentations.
The conference itself is shorter and smaller. There are fewer attendees and brands so that results in lots of face time and one-on-one opportunities. The swag is good and tends toward the more gadget-y, tech stuff.
The food is simple and straight forward and the drinks are generally standard fare: beer and basic alcohol (i.e. bourbon and whiskey). Breakfast and lunch are included most days with a buffet dinner welcome party the first night.
The conference has a strong focus on parenting and fatherhood. They have an assortment of sessions which address common and current parenting concerns and themes.
The other blogging and business related sessions were solid. The few I attended were really well done and loaded with information. The focus was on providing actionable information in a no nonsense manner with minimal humble bragging.
The conference also had roundtable sessions which were fast and furious but also very informative. Presenters got right into their topic and hit the major points. Most left time for questions in the last five minutes.
One of my favorite things about the conference was it's constant focus on introducing male blogger voices to a new audience. The presenters pointed out the current recipients of their scholarship program and encouraged attendees to get to know them better.
They also did a “Dad Voices” program that allowed bloggers and poets to share their work on the main stage with conference goers. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole conference!
The evenings are generally free and loads of people make arrangements to go out to dinner or hit the town. Lots of brands host private, invite-only get-togethers. These seem to include only the biggest, most influential bloggers and networks.
The overall vibe of Dad 2.0 is relaxed and chill. Yes, people are there for business but they are so much more casual and easy-going about it. It's very open and welcoming with attendees meeting new people and visiting with old friends.
Mom 2.0 is very much a professional conference with a high-end feel. The Facebook group is friendly but focused and very no nonsense. The dress code for this conference is more formal and trendy. Many attendees dress to the nines (lots of designer labels) and the final conference event is a sparkly black tie affair.
Attendees range from brand new bloggers to some of the biggest names in the business. The ratio is heavily female with a few male bloggers and/or husbands. Most conference goers are bloggers or social media influencers. Many have followings in 100k+ range.
This conferences is very kid-friendly and you'll see several babies or very young children running around with their moms. I was one of them for a few years and appreciated how nice everyone was about it.
This conference spans three and a half days and has hundreds of attendees and multiple brands in attendance. There's a lot of great swag and ranges from tech gadgets to child focused products to food (lots of food).
The food is a bit fancier and there are LOTS of clearly labeled dietary options (i.e. gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan). The beverages tend toward the cocktail and wine variety.
Breakfast and lunch are included most days with a special RSVP only dinner the final evening (for the Iris Awards). Most of the evening parties have heavy hor d'oeuvres and snacks.
The conference has a strong focus on business with smaller tracks for parenting and philanthropy. Most every session is focused on some kind of blogging or business related issue or concern.
The blogging and business related sessions are hit or miss. There's a lot of humble bragging and chatting before getting to the session's main information.
I feel that if you get one or two good tips from a session then it's a good one. Mostly, I find that the best information is done via the Q&As at the end (so long as no one else uses it as a chance to show off or brag).
The conference also has roundtable sessions which were fast and furious and LOUD. Presenters range from incredibly good and informative to long-winded and off-topic.
One of my favorite things about this conference was it's constant focus on blogging being a REAL business. You didn't need to explain your job or try to make it seem anything more than what it is. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the whole conference!
Evenings generally have a party but allow time for a late dinner after. Nearly every brands hosts a private, invite-only get-together during or after these evening events. These tend to be very clique-y and seem to invite the same 20-30 bloggers to every one.
The overall vibe of Mom 2.0 is professional and fast-moving. People are there for business and networking with the “right” brands/people. It can be difficult as a new attendee to break through and feel like you belong but it can be done. While the conference is very clique-y and competitive, it is also where I met most of my most of my blogging friends and I love attending.
So, Which One Do I Go To?
You can also do like me and plan to attend both since they each offer such different experiences. However, if you can only go to one, there are several ways to pick the right conference for you:
Do you or your main demographic identify as male? Dad 2.0 is probably where you'll find your people and opportunities.
Do you or your main demographic identify as female? Mom 2.0 is probably the conference for you.
FYI, both conferences are very open and accommodating to all gender identities.
How long have you been blogging? Honestly, I felt like Dad 2.0 was a much easier and relaxed atmosphere for brand new bloggers.
Mom 2.0 can feel very clique-y and overwhelming if you don't already know some people and fellow bloggers.
Okay, everyone's goal is to make money but let's break this down a bit more:
At Mom 2.0, everyone is VERY focused on the hustle and bigger, better things. Every encounter with a brand could be your next paycheck and every person you chat with could be your next big collaboration.
At Dad 2.0, things are more relaxed. Yes, people want to connect and make money but lots of attendees are willing to do social shares and blog posts for free or in-kind (i.e. for product only).
If you're just looking to make friends, Dad 2.0 is a much easier conference to do that at. Mom 2.0 can be hard to break into if you don't know anyone.
Are you on a tight budget? Stick with Dad 2.0 then. It's a shorter conference and tends to be a nice but not insanely expensive hotel (which is generally located in an area where you can walk to shops and restaurants). The conference ticket prices cost less than Mom 2.0.
Mom 2.0 has a higher ticket price and is for more days than Dad 2.0. It is also nearly always located in a five star hotel (think, the Ritz) is a slightly isolated area (i.e. it's harder to walk to a drugstore or place to eat).
Do you need to bring your baby with you? While both conferences are very accepting and understanding of parents, Mom 2.0 has more people with babies at it. Basically, babies need boobies and go where they go.