Aug
08

BlogHer 2010: The Good, The Bad, and the Untweeted

By

Yes, I know I need to tweet. My friends keep telling me. Everybody’s doing it, you know. I do have a Twitter account but don’t really use it.  I have more to learn about it, but, then again, I can say that about almost everything in life. But if I came away from BlogHer with anything, it’s that I need to tweet. Okay, so let me shuffle my priority list one more time and move “Download TweetDeck and figure out the whole @ and # thing” to the top. I’m sure my daughter won’t mind if I put that ahead of the whole potty training venture.

At BlogHer, multitasking is not only acceptable, but expected. Did I mention the tweeting? I sat in every session with people with laptops or iPads open on Facebook, and iPhones tweeting away. Got to admit, I’m not really sure how I feel about this. At least it’s quiet and not as annoying as talking in the movies.

Anyway, now that I’ve had a day or so to process, here’s the upshot of my two days at my very first BlogHer:

THE GOOD

I got out of my comfort zone and actually met people. Score one for Miss Usual Wallflower. Almost all the folks I ran into (including the rock stars—more on that later) were really very friendly. I was not alone in my “newbie” or “flying solo” status, although there were still certainly moments of feeling out of place (did I mention the tweeting?).  It got kind of exhausting starting up and having similar conversations with new people that mostly began with “Hi. So are you a blogger?”

It was not like high school. Well, unless your high school experience included girls going out of their way to make each other feel comfortable and their responses to “May I sit here?” during lunch were along the lines of “Of course. Please, sit!” Yuh-huh. Thought so. Which brings me back to the rock stars of the blogging world—they do not all hang together. Of course some do, and they do so because they are friends, so duh. Are these people not allowed to make and have friends just because it makes some feel uncomfortable (read: jealous)? Please.

Anyway, harder than forcing myself to mingle and meet people, was gathering the courage to talk to the rock star bloggers I follow. I think I passed Catherine of Her Bad Mother and Liz of Mom-101 three times before I worked up the nerve to introduce myself and declare my fandom in the most unstalker-like way I could muster. But I’m so glad I did, because you know what? They were nice and appreciative and, not surprisingly, very cool.

The rest of my personal rock star list that I said hello to included Megan of Velveteen Mind, Susan of Friday Playdate (those two were super nice!), Chris of Notes From the Trenches, and Kelly from Mocha Momma. The only one on my regular blog roll that I did not meet was Lindsay from Suburban Turmoil.  I did not see her once. I am sure I would have had I made it to the CheeseburgHer party like I was supposed to, but after two days of BlogHer craziness I had used up all of my bypass-social-fears-and-go-directly-to-uncomfortable-zone passes. Plus, I am a wimp, and I was tired.

My favorite part of the BlogHer conference by far was the Voices of the Year presentation in which honored blog posts were read by the authors. There were funny ones, snarky ones, sad ones, and inspirational ones. All humbling ones. Just amazing.

The food was great, the session panelists were helpful, the swag was fun, and those folks at BlogHer really do try and think of everything. Except T-shirts.  Which brings me to…

THE BAD

Yes, it’s silly, but I really wanted a BlogHer T-shirt. I was even willing to pay money for one. But there were none to be had. I don’t know why. Hmmph. I’ll have to send BlogHer an earful about that.

I kind of regret that I bypassed the opportunity to have my photo taken with celebrities such as Mrs. Potato Head, Dora, Elmo, and the Jimmy Dean sun (thanks to sponsors galore!). I also felt too weird about asking to have my photo taken with each of my rock star bloggers, so I really didn’t take any pictures. Just before I left, I asked some nice woman to take a snapshot of me because I felt that should have at least one BlogHer photo. You can’t tell in this photo, but my dress was super cute.

On a more serious note, I guess I must preface this with the fact that, yes, I am a teacher, so I look at any presentation with a critical eye. That having been said, the speakers and panelists for most of the sessions did not do much to help the visual learners. We got tons of great advice about websites to visit or folks to check out on (yes, you guessed it) Twitter, but, gee, it would have helped if I could have actually seen the url or the Twitter handle written down. The session on good blog design would have been infinitely more helpful if the presenters had actually shown examples of good and bad design choices. I’m used to PowerPoints and handouts.  Instead, we got “I’ll tweet the information” and “All the sessions will be liveblogged.” Yes, I know. I am so two-thousand-God-I-don’t-even-know-how-long-ago.

All of the sessions were run by panels and mostly in a Q & A format, which, quite frankly, started to get on my nerves. It worked well for some of the writing track sessions, but not for everything. As a newbie, I wanted more in the way of prepared info and direct instruction with, let’s say, some clearer objectives. Again, that’s just the teacher in me.

I did cry a couple of times. Once, I got a bit teary when I was feeling overwhelmed and technologically illiterate in a session about getting hired and social media, but I pulled myself together before anyone noticed (I think). The second time I was outside the hotel when I called my hubby to check in. I was missing my Muffin fiercely; I had left for the conference really early in the morning, so I didn’t want to kiss her goodbye and risk waking her up. When I called home, Greg put Charlie on the phone, and for the very first time, she was able to have a (sort of) phone conversation with me.  It mostly consisted of her one or two word responses to questions like “Are you being a good girl for Daddy?” but then she said, “I love you, Mommy” and I lost it just a little. Luckily, I had this photo as my desktop screensaver to keep me smiling:

So other than that, I really don’t have too much bad to say. Oh, the zipper on my luggage broke as I was packing to come home. That sucked. But I can’t really blame the folks at BlogHer for that one, now can I?

Even though I did not make any lifelong friends or meet my blogging soul mate, I did meet and hang with some cool folks like Silver, who was nice enough to recognize I needed a social rescue during the Friday night gala.  Thanks to her, I got to dance. And even though each of the three pairs of shoes I brought was new and never previously worn (and hence could have easily resulted in disaster), my feet and I survived just fine.

I am very glad I went. I learned a lot, mostly that I simply need to figure out where I want to go with this here blog and my writing goals.  That will take a little more time to process, but at least I am better armed with some tools to help me reach those goals. You know, once I figure out what they are.

And finally…

THE UNTWEETED

Pretty much everything I just wrote. Because, well, did you read my first paragraph?

Comments

  1. Irene Landon says:

    Life is full of “should’ves”…. and at least you won’t have to look back and say that. I give you credit for getting out of your comfort zone (I know a lot about that), and doing what you really were interested in doing. You go girl!

    [Reply]

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