This is draft #2. Normally, I sit down to write and the words flow from my fingertips. As for this post? Not so much. That should give you some insight as to the complexity that is BlogHer. In my original draft, I stopped at 1100 words realizing I was narrating and not analyzing. Here is the condensed, revised version.
I promise that every person who attended BlogHer’10 will have a different answer to that question. I’ll give you mine.
I went to BlogHer with no expectations except to learn more about blogging and get some free stuff. We all know I accomplished the latter. How about the former? I meticulously printed out the itinerary and the sessions and went over everything with my husband in the car ride up to NYC.
We talked about what sessions might be good and which ones weren’t quite up my alley. I was all set.
When I arrived Thursday, I was really nervous. I have no idea about what. I think it was just overwhelming and I really didn’t know what to expect. It also didn’t help that as we drove into the city, my precious son uttered those words “Mommy, I have to go potty. It’s an emergency.”
As we pulled into the Hilton, I tore open my door and grabbed that kid out of his 5 point harness asking every hotel personnel I saw, “Where’s the restroom?” Turns out the restroom was on the second floor right across from BlogHer registration. And that was my introduction to BlogHer. Nothing like a little distraction to make you forget your nerves.
After sending my boys on their way, I made it up to my room that I was sharing with my good friend, Sue, and our third roomie, Lauren. It helped A LOT that I knew Sue quite well. We had never shared a bed before but we’ve been friends since before our C-section scars were healed. As for Lauren? With her flaming pink hair, she was already stripped down to her undergarments. So much for formalities. We all hugged and everything was off to a great start.
In addition to Sue, I was also going to be greeting members of my hometown blogging community. North Carolina is, surprisingly, a pretty plugged in state. I already knew Andrea, Erin, Ilina, Molly, Amy, Suzanne, and Malise pretty well. And I had previously met Maricris, Cindy, and Sarah. I know. I’m lucky. I heard bloggers tell me all weekend how they wished they had other bloggers close to where they lived. I guess I took this for granted since I’ve never blogged anywhere else. And it definitely reduced a lot of anxiety for me. Pretty much, wherever I went, I could see, text, or tweet someone from my hometown community. It was my homebase. My safety.
Because I had a comfort zone from day 1, I think it made it easier for me to branch out.
I went to the sessions that I had a passing interest in. I skipped those that I didn’t. I visited the branded suites. I toured the expo halls. I explored a few blocks of NYC. I attended parties. It was all fun and definitely worth it. But the most memorable parts of BlogHer are the ones I didn’t capture in photos or video. It was the personal connection I made at the most unexpected times with the most unexpected people.
It’s fair to say that I met some BIG bloggers and some little tiny bloggers. And I honestly loved them all. I may not have “clicked” with everyone but when I did make a connection, it was magic. While it wasn’t a learning experience in the way that a one day Bloggy Boot Camp had been for me, it was an atmosphere of my people. People who laugh at blogging jokes and tweet at you across the room. People who like cool phones and cameras and other gadgets. People who want to help you just for the sake of helping.
The funny part is I never realized I had people. But now that I have them, I don’t plan on giving them up anytime soon.