Invitations to 'crash' various sessions notwithstanding, I attended only one while at BlogHer. Although I don't remember the precise title (I didn't actually possess a program, either), something in the title referred to the "Vaginally Challenged". As you can see from the photo above, three of those on the stage actually do NOT possess a vagina.
The guys you see here, Matthew from Childsplayx2, Jim from The Busy Dad's Blog, and Adam from Avitable spoke willingly and well as to why they blog and what they get from blogging.
That's when I started to consider what my reasons are for blogging. That's when I started to consider changing my focus just a bit (but I'm not going to - not now - not until I've had a LOT more time to think about it) and that's when I started looking around me just a little bit closer in terms of what I thought was going on and what was actually going on. That's when I began to think that perhaps BlogHer was missing the point for many of those in attendance.
I'm new to much of this - and newer still to BlogHer as an organization and as an event. But still - I saw and heard things that disrturbed me. Rumors among the mighty as to who was sleeping with whom. And then those rumors brought to a microphone - by a woman who must have thought she was being protective of her friend - but all she did was give the rumor a broader voice. There was an incestuous feeling to much of the proceedings. All the friends got together with all the friends. The "high school" references I've seen in other places are really rather accurate - there were the 'cool kids' - and there was everybody else.
And there was the feeling - maybe it's just me - that BlogHer, the organization, has become more about sponsors and member ad hits and less about fostering the growth, personal and otherwise, of the community. I thought it was supposed to be about building that feeling of community - not exploiting it.
All of that said, I met some truly marvelous people. For me, BlogHer was a grand experience - but I went there with a very limited set of expectations. I had no ticket, all I ever really expected to be able to do was see certain people - which I did. I saw every one I expected to - and more. WAY more. Everyone I met was just as lovely in person as they are on their blogs. It got a little chilly around some of the 'cool kids' (I suppose that's why they're 'cool', right), but nobody ever said "get lost", so all's well that ends well, after all.
Tomorrow, pictures - photographic proof that some of these people are really real. And so are the friendships.