Wednesday, August 09, 2006

BlogHer Recap

It was a conference for women bloggers. I couldn't wait to attend, having missed the first installment last year. Eager to meet the fabulous writers, most of whom their faces I wouldn't know upon sight, I bought tickets for the both night's cocktail parties and tickets for the day two sessions as the first day's sessions were sold out. I bought a plane ticket and off I went. Alone.

I've been called brave for doing that, for going all by myself. I don't know if it was brave, but it made for an anxiety-ridden entrance to the first night's cocktail party. I cannot express how nervous I was, walking into the pool area and not knowing a soul. Well, kind of knowing a few souls but not sure what they looked like and they surely didn't know me on sight. (Hi!! Less than 12 page views a day!!! That's me.)

Some bloggers post their photos, so I did recognize a few of the women. However, even given that I might have known who it was with whom I was about to speak, starting a conversation was another story given that they didn't know me at all.

I got a plate of food and sat down at the first table I came to. After that I got another drink and sort of stood around. After bumping into someone three times with my mondo purse and then saying "sorry!", I thought I would say hello. It turns out she owns a software company but also has a children's books website to encourage reading to kids and also to encourage adults to read their favorite children's books or learn about new books.

Then there were the more well-known bloggers that I wanted to meet. I did just that, I walked right up to them and introduced myself. I figured this was my chance to meet women, well-known or not, whose blogs I read and enjoy. It was a conference for bloggers, after all. This is the forum for doing so.

During the second night's party, I approached Heather. She was talking with several bloggers, two of whom had very similar haircuts and were, frankly, hard to tell apart. One of the twins made a pejorative comment about how being approached by so many others and how they seemed to just crawl out of the woodwork...the swamp...I forget the exact words she used. I was stunned she would say something so negative about getting attention and compliments for writing in a public forum at a conference for writers who write in the public forum.

The hell? Am I missing something?

Sadly, no, I didn't miss a thing. I wish my response had been something other than the crooked, stunned smile I gave her. I couldn't believe I heard her correctly (which, I really need to trust myself more). I wish I had mentioned that being approached over and over again might be expected since she came of her own free will to an event called BlogHer where there would presumably be, gasp! OTHER BLOGGERS. And maybe that if she didn't like it she should politely go fuck herself and take her bad attitude elsewhere. Take it away from where there are bloggers who ARE happy to meet one another.

I should point out that Heather never seemed anything but gracious and happy to meet people. Whether she actually was or not, I don't know, but she was not the one to speak of it being such a drag. She can't help what people say in her presence, so I am in no way attributing the comment to her nor insinuating that she might have agreed with it at all.

By the way, I can imagine what it would be like to be approached by many who wanted to tell me about my wonderful writing and the experiences I share that they love reading about on my blog. I say "imagine" because it hasn't happened to me. Whether or not I would enjoy being mobbed, if it ever did happen to me, I don't know. But I do know that the polite thing to do would be to endure it, especially if I put myself at a CONFERENCE where BLOGGERS were CONVENING TO MEET ONE ANOTHER. It's just the logical part of my brain coming through, along with the basic good manners my mama taught me.

Heather was very nice and gracious and sweet. I told her I loved the piece she wrote about Tom Cruise, which was fair and decent given the comments he's made regarding psychiatry and what Heather has written about her own mental health experiences. But she didn't give in and write him off in a pithy post full of expletives, which would have been easy. She wrote about it thoughtfully and compassionately, exploring the topic so thoroughly that I was impressed. When I finished showering her with praise, sincere praise, mind you, she said "thank you" for the kajillionth time and then she told me I smelled good. No, what she said was, "God, you smell amazing." (Heeeee! Dooce thought I smelled amazing!)

This was not the first compliment on this perfume. It is from Ireland, and it's called Inis which means island in Irish. And apparently, it is pretty damn fabulous.

I met mostly nice, articulate, interesting women who were happy to meet other women, becoming especially happy to hear from those that knew about their blog. What an interesting forum the blogging world is, where you can get to know someone so intimately and not even know them by sight.

I have pictures of just a few of them:



Christina, who writes A Mommy Story




Grace, who writes State of Grace




This is Kiki of She Just Walks Around With It and Jenny of Zesty Enterprise

10 comments:

M J said...

OK.. I did not go out of fear of not knowing anyone. Reading this I wish I had.

Shocked that someone would say something as negative about being approached by people - if they didn't want to be known for the writing/website/blog then they shouldn't have gone to BlogHer and shouldn't post pictures of themselves. Sheesh. I think I would wet my pants if someone recognized me! Hahah.

Jenny said...

hi!

I remember you telling us about this and I even think I know who said it! I think that dooce was happy to have nice, literate, non-crazy folks like yourself come up to her, but perhaps her entourage wanted dooce all to themselves.

I came to Blogher alone, too, and depended on strangers for fun and conversation. I don't remember how we started talking, but I am so glad we did!

Mrs. CPA said...

Some one searched for "Blogher" and "Didn't like it" and ended up at my place. And I looked and now I have ended up at yours!

I just wanted to say that if it had been me, I would have been totally floored at the swamp comment, which was incredibly rude. Since I have a feeling of who you are talking about (because the group of friends that Heather hangs around with in pictures includes two dark haired ladies with similar haircuts) I don't know how I would have handled it, but I would have been intimidated and it sounds like you were not. So Go you!

I hope that I will be able to come to next year's conference!

Izzy said...

God, how obnoxious! Did they expect that people WOULDN'T come up to Heather? Duh! She's like freaking royalty.

Anyway, I wish we'd had a chance to meet. I know some of the women in your photos so it's too bad we didn't somehow cross paths!

Kristen said...

I am so sorry I missed the swamping conversation. Some of the girls were a little rough, huh? I didn't even approach the 14 year old boy-haircut crowd for fear that they would just ignore any conversation that did not come from another A-lister. Sheesh! The cheerleaders are sooooo mean, huh?

Well, I'm glad we got to meet and boohoo on them. Hope you had a fab time this weekend.

Jen Robinson said...

I'm so glad that I wasn't rude to you! Seriously, though, I found a couple of people cool, but nothing so strongly negative as you described. I think that some people have more ego than is good for them. But anyway, I'm really glad that we met, and got to chat. Thanks so much for the link!!

KRiSTOPHER DUKES said...

Ooh la love... I was at BlogHer too. In fact, sent you an email to invite you to ThisNext.com's private beta (you stopped at our booth).

Drop me a line when you can, admin (at) kristopherdukes.com

Melissa said...

Hi, I came over from mj's blog. Just imagining going to Blogher by myself is kind of nauseating - and I live in the Bay Area. I went solo to an event last month for a local group I belong to, and the cocktail cravings that generated were enormous!

I'll be sure to come back - that will raise your page views to at least 13, right? ;)

Anonymous said...

It was an exhausting weekend and I'm sure some of what you heard came from that.

Heather had asked her friends to help her out because, it was exhausting. Nice and of course expected, but exhausting by the end of two days.

I also think 'ego' and plain exhaustion can look the same.

Very Mom said...

I still think you were brave. Why didn't you tell me you were there all alone? I would have duct taped you to my side and made you schlep me around.