Here I go again, writing about blogging. I swear I’m done after this. I actually, wasn’t even going to write this post-you know the cliche ‘after BlogHer recap” because, quite frankly, I find it difficult to sum up the weekend. I’ve had numerous people ask me about it and I’m always tongue tied in my replies. Usually I manage a smile and a “great” or “refreshing” or “busy”. My words are inadequate to describe my experiences and honestly, part of what makes the weekend valuable to me is that it’s mine and I don’t necessarily want to share.
But I’ve been compelled to speak this time because I’m so struck by the wildly different opinions that people have on the weekend. Everyone is entitled to theirs by the way, I’m not suggesting otherwise. I’m just fascinated by the ones that are so negative.
Here’s the thing, I saw all the same things everyone else saw. I left a few sessions because they were far too crowded and skipped lunch all together one day because the line was like nothing I’d ever seen. I waited way too long for elevators and Starbucks. I got bumped into and no one said, “I’m sorry”. I raced around in the city heat from venue to venue in an effort to forge actual relationships. I saw people shill for swag and I interacted with some inane PR Girls with empty eyes. I saw all of it and totally get why people had moments where they were annoyed.
What I don’t get is the people who choose only that to focus on and even more so the ones that complain about it year after year. Why do you keep coming? I know I wasn’t around in 2000 whatever when it started and was a quaint little party of cool girls. But for the past four or five years, when I have been around (either there or reading about it), BlogHer is always packed. BlogHer always has sessions that skew more toward beginners. BlogHer is always chaotic and loud and sometimes full of annoying people and too much stuff. Why are people always surprised and why are they still complaining about it?
I just don’t get it. Because what I see are hallways full of women I love that I’m certain I would never see in real life if it weren’t for this one weekend in August. What I see are small, less popular sessions where I learn so much about social good, photography or politics that I’m certain I wouldn’t learn otherwise. After all, I’m always a beginner at something. What I see are opportunities to interact with powerful people I know I’d never be exposed to at a smaller conference or in my regular life.
To me, BlogHer is unique in that it provides me with something new every year and exactly more of the same every year. The new stuff comes from sessions I purposely attend or parties with brands I choose to interact with or expo-hall booths I seek out. The new is always surprising and never dull. (Though I’m not sure how they’ll top Katie or The President in years to come!)
The same is the sense of comfort and renewal I feel when spending time with my tribe. The women who make me laugh so hard I think I’ll vomit during VOTY. The women who stay up too late eating cupcakes and solving the problems of the world with me in our jammies. The women who just want to dance or observe the dancing (babies?) with cocktails. The women who I chase around the city trying to just find one minute of conversation. The women who surprise me with their moxie. The women that always impress me, again and again and again. The one I owe it all to. The women who introduce themselves in the hotel bar and pull me into their conversation or the woman who at that very same bar has a great chat with me about home.
To me, BlogHer is about the HER and no matter how big or chaotic or crazy it gets, I will choose to focus on the good.
The first year I went I was overwhelmed and thought I’d never go back because all I could see was that overwhelm. Then I gave it some time and realized there was way more to see than my initial limited vision allowed and probably, I’d never miss it again.
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Agreed–it is all about what our goals our and how we choose to see it. Was I thrilled at how some of the logistics played out? No–but I also knew that my intentions and goals this year were entirely different and I really ended up having little do to with the conference events themselves. I am not sure what I will do next year–but that is not because of what happened this year–it is because I am just trying to plan my own next steps. xo
dusty earth mother says
Very well said, K. And thanks for the link love. I am happy that I almost made you vomit. That was my goal 🙂
I seriously almost had to excuse myself. At the very least I disturbed my neighbors with the gutteral laughing!! I STILL giggle at the remembering all these days later. Amazing.
Selfish Mom says
I totally get it, but let’s face it: complaining can be fun. I mean, half of this whole blogging thing is answering questions we wish people would ask us, but nobody does.
What I really don’t understand are the people who just ruin it for other people. The ones who threaten the volunteers because they can’t get into a small session they want. The ones who get nasty with other people about swag. I would rather complain (and read complaints) about things like programming or elevators than things that make us all look like assholes as a group, and the reason I don’t like BlogHer is that it seems to attract a very high proportion of that type of person.
That’s fair. I guess it isn’t the complaining that bothers me so much as the mean complaining. I get irritated when people forget there are people behind all of this stuff working their asses off instead of working behind the scenes to make it suck-like the whole thing is some big conspiracy against them. But then again, I am little Mary Sunshine so I just want everyone to be nice and you’re right, this conference attracts some not-so-nice women. So complain away, just do it with a smile. Ha!
Amen. I agree 100%. I always think that the problems with BlogHer lie solely with me and not making the best decisions about how to spend my time (sessions versus making connections, it is so hard to do everything at once), I don’t blame anyone else. There is so much to gain from the experience and that is why I will go back again.
Yay! That is why I love you-always the calm and logical one. See you in Chicago!