4 BlogHers under my belt--my belt now distended from buffet meals, vodka and late night peanut M&Ms. What’s left to say? Aren’t I supposed to write a recap so that I can tell the world how one weekend changed my life? Oy. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
For those of you who are not familiar, BlogHer is the largest of the many blogging conferences for women (and a few men) who are new bloggers, old bloggers, famous bloggers, niche bloggers, social media mavens, blogging whores & brand pimps, published authors who sometimes blog, bloggers who sometimes publish and everyone who understands the power and influence of blogging…like President Barack Obama for example.
Maybe this year, I won’t write a recap after all. That will set me apart from the rest. Yeah, cuz my BlogHer weekend was personal and meaningful, and I don’t want to cheapen the experience by posting a recap just to drive traffic to my blog, sucking people in with Twitter hash tags promising BlogHer Gone Wild pics. Yeah, I’m classy like that.
Maybe I won’t write a recap because I didn’t speak at a panel or become besties with internet famous bloggers or meet celebrities at private parties or exchange bodily fluids with brands or do whatever bloggers do when they quote-unquote-partner (insert bunny ears making quotation marks). I mean, what is there to say if I didn’t set the blog world on fire…so we can burn brighter…than the sun?
Except that a week later, I still chuckle when I think about those actual Bloggers Gone Wild moments that I’m afraid I can never share with you good people. And except that when I think about the conference panelists and the Voices of the Year participants who represent all that is smart and talented and enterprising and courageous about blogging, I still feel a surge of pride and a tingling in my loins. Then I realize that after sitting at panel after panel, my thong underwear has flossed its way up to my lady-gums, which is causing the tingling.
My first was Chicago 2009. I did not have a blog wife to keep me laughing all day and all night. I did not rehearse an elevator pitch that would peak curiosity and attract thousands of new readers. I did not have a snazzy, professionally designed logo for my business card. I did not understand why anyone would pay all that money for air fare, a conference pass, a hotel room and new summer frocks just so they could party and collect swag and avoid all the panels.
After that first conference weekend of trying to absorb as much as I possibly could, I remember feeling over stimulated, overwhelmed, more than a little sweaty and terribly small. And yet, when BlogHer founders announced it would be in New York in 2010, I figured, what the hell? I keep going back for more. “But more of what?” you ask. “What do you get out of it?”
Over the past few years at BlogHer, I’ve had to do some processing about what the conference means to me and whether or not I can justify going year after year – asking Gabriella to take time off work – coming home exhausted, dehydrated and with bags filled with crap. This year’s lesson to the boys was an economic overview of international trade and the ramifications of manufacturing cheaply made products overseas after their hand held battery operated combination fan/flashlights broke within the first 3 minutes of handling.
In 2009, I went to the conference to learn. Others went for the people. I had my own people, thank you very much. I had in-real-life people. I get it now, and now I too go for the people. I love the people. There’s some learning, too. There’s always the learning. But now there are the people – the blogging people who have become my friends, my inspiration, my network, my colleagues and my village. I need these people to reinforce that particular part of me that is blogging in a way my real-life people cannot. And every year I meet new people who remind me how vital this community is. They keep the conversation fresh and they challenge me to make new online goals (E-missions as we in the online world like to call them).
When I take the time to trace the lines back from where I am now and what I’ve done to their ignition points, I find the blogging people who have encouraged me and helped me get here. As long as I can afford the price of the ticket, I will keep going back to find that energy and connection and sidesplitting laughter that make this blogging gig so very worthwhile.
Also, BlogHer is like a women’s prison, and I keep waiting for the year that the straight women explore their inner lesbians. I’m ready for you, ladies!!
Not really, Gabriella. (wink, wink)
Because I was so very present at BlogHer, I took few photos. Many of the few will not been released for public consumption. So, this is what I’ve got.
|I still have my childhood copy of "The Lorax." Very special to meet my hero after all these years.|
|Susan at the Blog to Essay panel which was super duper smart and useful.|
|The camera was attached her helmet all weekend. She had arms, so...I dunno, but I'd love to see the footage!|
|Picked this one up back stage at Voices of the Year in 2010 and never let her go.|
|We were the blog wives and concubine - or - Charlie's Gay Angels. When we dealt out the parts, I landed the role I have always played since my youth. I am forever Sabrina. It's the glasses and the small head.|
|So proud of our concubine who delivered a gorgeous VOTY piece.|
|She did not lisp the swirls and was simply sublime.|