Monday, July 30, 2007

Back from BlogHer

Who would have imagined that, after a grand total of 16 or so hours together in a car together, after getting lost many many times, and spending pretty much three meals a day together for four days, I would like Sage even better now than I did before? Blogging: the kind of passtime where you meet people you can talk to for 16 hours with no CD player. I'm just saying.

BlogHer. Hm. The highlights for me were the road trip with Sage, and both of us staying with a friend that MadHatter and I both knew long ago and who lives in Chicago now. Highlights further included meeting bloggers I read a lot and who read me. And then I met bloggers who I read occasionally but got on so well with I'm adding them to my little-scrap-of-paper version of bloglines right now.

As much as I enjoyed myself, I do have to say it was a little weird. Initially, I started blogging because it allowed me to reach out to people when I was isolated and alienated--however, I've grown to love the form for itself, for its own particular strengths. It's a text-based medium, and the rules of engagement are pretty clear, and the friendships and relationships pretty equal and manageable and defined. So it's hard to walk into a room of 800 conferrees and feel as comfortable as I do conferring with you (all 30 of you) online. Thursday night, Sage and I attended a cocktail party:


The drinks were free, the hotel was chic, the bloggers were enthusiastic and well dressed, and, increasingly, drunk. It was really loud and though I immediately got to meet a couple of bloggers I knew--there was Oh, The Joys right at the door, and, whoop, it's hard to miss Her Bad Mother's platinum bob, and Bobita's smile lights up the room--it was crowded and awkward and not really my thing. I did get to meet Kyla, and I have to say, she's the bomb. I have not been a terribly regular reader of her blog, but I am so girl-crushing on her right now, I hope she'll be my friend.

There was an incredible amount of swag at this conference, a real shock as I'm used to more academic affairs where even the styrofoam cups of coffee are charged at a premium. At BlogHer, the lattes are free, served up in a quiet rooftop lounge to the caffeine-deprived. As we registered on Friday, there was not one, but two bags of stuff. Stuff stuff stuff. A butterball turkey pot holder. A glow in the dark cocktail glass. Weight loss breakfast cereal. Branded messenger bag. An AOL-branded Flash key. And more, more, more. It really struck me what a marketing bonanza the female blogosphere represents: in an exercise called 'speed dating for bloggers', I met nearly as many marketing people as I did bloggers, which gave me pause. Apparently, we have money to spend as consumers, readers to deliver as bloggers, and credibility with and access to, women with money. While this may be true, it's not the way I would characterize myself.

The cocktail party on Friday night revealed to me a fact I did not suspect: the female blogosphere is good looking and well dressed! A sea of wrap dresses, beautiful leather purses, and daring shoes. Nice hair and stylish sunglasses. I can say I've never been to a conference where the attendees were so consistently well- and stylishly-dressed (present company excepted of course--I wore sensible shoes because my friend's condo was a bit of a walk-train-walk away, and the days were longer than twelve hours). I managed to snag babies from people in the guise of giving them a break--but mostly I just wanted to sniff their little baby heads. I was missing Munchkin, but she did just fine without me. And Friday night I met more people I 'knew'--Kittenpie, Motherbumper, GingaJoy, Sandra--and more I knew of--The Redneck Mommy, Something Blue, Metro Mama, I Am Bossy, and and and too many more to list--and I started to feel more comfortable. Comfortable enough to put MBT stickers on my shirt as pasties. (You're going to have to dig around the intertubes if you want to see a photo of that. I'm not putting one up ...) What fun, funny, people: if you are reading, I'm so glad to have met you, and hope to see you again. You're all good dancers, too.

But blogosphere, I'm glad to be home with you. I'm thinking back to April, when Mad, Cinnamon Gurl, Bubandpie, and Sage came for a bloggy sleepover party, and how much easier that was--more lowkey, less noisy, fewer people. I'm not, as it turns out, much of a party animal. BlogHer was great for the opportunity it offered to meet so many possible friends, to get drunk, to chatter and laugh, and in such surroundings as the wildly overcrowded and touristy Navy Pier, the too-cool-for-school and outrageously noisy W Hotel, and generally the beautiful and bustling city of Chicago. My inner quiet nerd is all a little overwhelmed, I think. Um, and possibly hungover. I'll be mulling over all my experiences in the next week, I'm sure, so you can expect more BlogHer related posts.

So the point of this post is: all of you who didn't go, I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you, and while I'm glad I went, it was a lot of people, noise, bustle and I'm going to hide in this digital cave for a couple of days. All of you who did go, thank you for bringing me out of my nerd shell and making me comfortable enough to drunk and sticker-covered and to do my Molly Ringwald dance for you. I would stay up late for you people if the opportunity presented itself again.

A little bit of calm ...

27 comments:

Christine said...

sounds amazing. wish i could have joined you all.

sigh.

i want swag. but not the weird speed dating marketing thing. that sounds icky.

nomotherearth said...

It sounds so fun! I'm voting to have a mini-Blogher in Toronto really soon.

slouching mom said...

I could imagine myself writing just this kind of ambivalent post after attending BlogHer. Just another reason why I like you.

jen said...

i hope a few yanks get invited to a quieter canadian gathering in the future.

so lovely to have met you.

Omaha Mama said...

Glad you had fun. I tend to shrug into my shell a bit when I'm out of my element. Nothing like a good cocktail to take care of that though! It really does sound like fun - so thanks for sharing. (Wish you'd share a pic of the pasties though!)

cinnamon gurl said...

Ooh, great photo! It's kind of nice to hear a bit of ambivalence. I think I would have felt the same way: excited but a little overwhelmed.

Sandra said...

Yes, yes, yes. STILL completely overwhelmed by the whole thing.

Spending time with you and dear Sage was one of the highlights for me ... and I cannot believe I had to go all the way to Chicago to do it!

Looking forward to "quieter" local gathering soon ... although now that we have seen you dance I am sure an encore will be requested :)

bubandpie said...

I'm so glad you wrote this! You're the only one who has admitted to feeling the way most of us are pretty sure we'd feel - excited, happy, but overwhelmed and a bit overstimulated.

And yes. Just six awesome bloggers hanging out and eating yummy Indian food - that's my idea of heaven.

Beck said...

I am painfully shy in big groups and so I know that I wouldn't have much fun. I've felt very wistful over the last couple of days reading other people's posts of the Wild Fun that THEY were having, though.
Kyla is one of my very favorites, too!

Mama Drama Jenny said...

I'm so glad I got to meet you even if it wasn't for long. You're so fabulous.

Oh and I'm the same way about groups. That's why I doubled my anti-anxiety medicine and heavily raided the mini-bar.

kittenpie said...

It was so amazing to meet you and Sage. I totally loved you both. We must do some gathering again soonish, though I must say, I'm a little depressed that you are not quite right in the city, so it's more of a deal to get it together. It'll happen.

The nice thing for me was going with the posse so I always had someone. I'd never have gone on my own.

Kyla said...

I agree. I had a total blast, but I don't think I could have made it much longer at that pace, it is definitely not my norm. It was worth the trip to Chicago just to meet so many amazing women, especially you. I really, really enjoyed myself. I feel oddly homesick for you all now.

NotSoSage said...

I love this. It was very much the way that I was feeling.

Actually, when I hit publish last night I thought that my Power of the Snatch Part Deux post was going to talk about how the official BlogHer vibe made me feel like we were a bunch of people to be marketed to. Which made me feel dirty. As dirty as that t-shirt you no longer have to channel.

Sigh.

I, too, was totally impressed that we had all that time and all that conversation together and never once had any awkward pauses. You're an excellent road trip buddy.

Amy U. said...

Hanging out with you and Sage and honestly contemplating peeing in the park was one of the highlights of the trip, for me. I hope we can have a local get together soon!

motherbumper said...

Well said and excellent round-up (I didn't expect any less). I'm super stoked I got to meet you and Sage.

And I've got to say, the whole marketing rep angle that I also noticed in the speed-dating made me feel a bit yucky (but I figure I'm gonna "use" them as much as they will "use" me - that helps me sleep at night).

moosh in indy. said...

**They met at the window, trying to escape the crowd**
"Come here often?" she asked
"No, not really, IT'S TOO DAMN LOUD."

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

What Slouching Mom said.

You know what sounds best? Flying/driving to BlogHer, snagging a couple of but-we've-never-met-in-person! friends, and escaping to a quieter locale. Maybe a restaurant with a big booth or -- hey! Y'all want to come camping?

BOSSY said...

Bossy has also returned to her Batcave. Swell meeting you.

ewe are here said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic time and got to meet lots of cool people. Although I'm bummed I couldn't be there, I was happy to meet up with a couple of bloggers over here while everyone else was in Chicago. ;-)

Mad Hatter said...

Mimi,
I've seen you dance so I know what a treat it must've been for the others. I think I might have felt the same way you did--overwhelmed by the crowd. And yet and yet, the bloggers I would have loved to have met...

It's funny, when we had our April shindig, we figured out that you were the only extrovert in the bunch. Reading this though, I think you might just be a seemingly extrovert, actual introvert like me.

Mimi said...

Mad -- sssshhhh! Don't tell anyone! Seriously, I fooled you pretty good, huh?

Moosh in Indy, Jen, Sandra, Kyla, Motherbumper, Amy, Bossy, Kittenpie, Jenny ... it was so nice to meet you. I really enjoyed our time together. And it's so nice to see you in the blogosphere.

Slouching Mom, Beck, Omaha Mama, Nomo, Christine, J Pondersa ... I would love to meet you! But maybe not all at once ;-)

Mimi said...

Oops, and of course Ewe. Couldn't see you over there on the other side of the ocean. Teehee.

Bobita~ said...

Mimi- it was so very nice to have met you. I ended up bolting for home very, very early Sunday morning. I was so overwhelmed, overstimulated and missed my kids like CRAZY, I just couldn't take it anymore!

It would be so much easier to meet everyone just ONE AT A TIME!! hee hee! Now *that* would be a true UNconference!! ;)

Her Bad Mother said...

I *SO* wish that we'd had more of a chance to hang, you and I - the better to compare sofas and bicycles and reading lists. But you're too right - BlogHer was not the place for intimacy.

We'll do that here, in T-town, real soon. Dealz?

Lawyer Mama said...

I was a bit overwhelmed too. It was fun, but so, so, so...much.

And how on earth did I manage to avoid meeting you!? Damn. it.

Jenifer said...

As wistful as I was to attend - and nearly changed our family vacation to do so, the idea of it still intimidates me.

I keep saying next year though.

Oh, The Joys said...

I loved meeting you. I want to do it again and again and again.