Missing BlogHer 2011


Right about now I could be hanging out in sunny San Diego, California. That’s where this year’s BlogHer conference is. Remember how I went last year when it was in NYC? Remember how I pushed past my social anxiety and forced myself to go on my own and meet new people?

And I was glad I went and I had a good time. Really, I did. But I left feeling like I didn’t learn a whole lot, and didn’t really feel the need to go to this year’s conference. It was like, Okay, I did that. Cool.

But as the days approached to this year’s conference, I started to regret my decision a little, for a number of reasons.

First, I miss California and it would have been a great reason/opportunity to get back to there and mix business and pleasure to get to see some of my CA friends.

Second, it would have been sooo nice to get away by myself. As a mom, adult time is a much appreciated luxury.

Third,  I am once again rethinking my writing and blogging goals, and it probably would have been good for me to go and try to make some connections. And that kind of brings me to I think what’s really bothering me about missing BlogHer 2011.

When I read other bloggers’ posts about these conferences, many write about how much fun they had and how they met such cool and fascinating people, and talked for hours and made new lifelong friends. Me? Not so much. Yes, last year, I forced myself to say hello and meet and make small talk with total strangers, but that’s just it– it never got past the small talk. Maybe I didn’t meet the right people. Maybe it was me. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I really don’t know.

Forging new relationships is so damn weird. It’s like dating. You have to decide if you really connect with or like the other person; and you have to gauge whether she likes you. If you like someone and want to spend more time with her, you have to figure out how to let her know that without coming across like some kind of stalker. Then when that’s all figured out, you have to decide how far to take the relationship.

Yes, like dating sometimes you just know. You get a feeling, a vibe. But sometimes you don’t. And for me, a couple of days at a conference isn’t long enough for me to figure that out. I’m shy. I’m slow to warm up. I just am. In my adult life, the new friends I’ve made have mostly been with people I worked with and/or interacted with on a regular basis. There was time to gauge and nurture.

My takeaway from BlogHer last year was that it’s mostly about community. Some call it networking. In the blogging world, they call it “finding your tribe.” And that’s what I missed. I can’t help but wonder if going this year would have been any different. Somehow I doubt it. And that makes me the most sad of all.

Part of it is a confidence issue, I know. And part of it is just having a clear vision or objective. I think you have to know what you want to get out of these types of things and seek people out accordingly. Both are things I need to work on. And I will.

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