There were Manly Men


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.



Jientje said...

Somehow I had a vision it would turn out to be like that. But the only thing I regret is not seeing some of the people I befriended through blogging. I hope I can meet some when I come to Chicago in November though?

Nicole said...

And again, I'm with Jientje on this one.
I figured too that it would be sort of like that.
I just stick in the league of rogue bloggers and won't ever belong to the "cool kids".
I never did, so why should I start now? ;)
Nah, I just love blogging the way you, Jientje, Sandy and all the others do it, I love my fellow bloggers and I wouldn't mind our own meetup.
But honestly, I don't need anyone to tell me how to run my blog :)

Anonymous said...

I heard about this, but like you, I had no conference ticket so I managed to stay out of most of the drama ;)

Anonymous said...

Fostering the growth of a community. GREAT CONCEPT. BUT. We super size our meals and I see a lack of appetite suppression in blogging as well. Fostering-growth-community, it all implies a selflessness I rarely see anywhere. Wherever you go, there you are.


Avitable said...

The funny thing is that I think the feeling of a clique or group of cool kids is about as far from the actual truth as you can get.

Until Thursday, I'd never met the other two panelists nor spoken with them except to discuss the agenda briefly. Most of the people who asked questions were people I knew peripherally just from having seen their name in my comments at some point. Many of the people who I spent time with were not friends until we became friends that particular weekend.

I was nervous as hell about going to BlogHer. I wasn't sure if anyone would know who I was, and it took a lot of effort for me to go up and talk to people. I think that sometimes there can seem like there is "chilliness", but in reality it's the fact that the people you're looking at are nervous and uncomfortable to their own degree as well.

witchypoo said...

I don't know if I would ever go to one of those conferences, Lou. I think I would be the oldest person there. I wish someone would tell me the actual dirt, though, without just alluding to it. I'm known for confidentiality.

Mrs F with 4 said...

Not that I have a blog (yet), but I just KNOW I would be seriously uncomfortable in that situation. It would take me right back to high school, but only because of my own inadequacies!

Eric S. said...

Wel Lou, you did far more than I could. I'm not comfortable in large groups, LOL, I know sounds stupid huh. I feel confined and just a little "invaded" when I am.

I'm happy you got to meet so many people, and just a little envious. I think I would prefer some thing on a much much smaller scale.

moneythoughts said...

I have my 50th high school reunion coming up next year (2010), and all this stuff about people acting like they were still in high school ("the cool Kids") makes me smile. I was not a cool kid, in fact, I, looking back, did everything I could not to be cool. However, I mixed right in with the so called cool kids.

As for blogging becoming an economic reality, should not surprise any of us. There are people that can make a business out of almost anything that they think there is a market. I would say, it is more fun just being a good old blogger than being a professional blogger. If it is to have fun with, why would you want to make it a business?

Lou, I like your blog, and I like you, and that is why I read your blog everyday, whether I make a comment or not.

Rebecca (Ramblings by Reba) said...

One thing I learned about the "cool kids" at my 10th high school reunion is that they felt totally NOT COOL.

But that's not the point I wanted to make.

As you have likely noticed, I run BlogHer ads. I have a very small readership, so I make little money from those ads. I have considered dropping them for a number of reasons, but just can’t quite make myself do it. The reason is those darned headlines under the ad. I LOVE those headlines. Most days that I go to my blog (and I don’t even visit my own blog every day), I click on at least two of those headlines. I’d miss them.

I went to Blissdom this year and enjoyed it. But I mainly enjoyed helping the newer bloggers who asked for my help to get their feet under them. I attended the apprentice (newer blogger) track, even though I knew enough to be considered a maven. I just liked being available to the newbies. I came home from that conference fairly sure that, while I’d like a few more readers (at least some time), I don’t want to deal with the business of blogging. For me, it makes it a lot less fun.

Expat No. 3699 said...

I didn't feel that way at all. I was afraid it might be like that but it wasn't. I had a great time and plan on going again next year!

Tara R. said...

I'm glad I went, glad I was able to meet most of the people I had hoped to meet, but I won't be making a return trip.

Joyce-Anne said...

I know you didn't officially attend BlogHer but still thought (and possibly I was a bit naive in thinking so) that BlogHer was like a “reunion”. People who met over the internet could connect or re-connect as the case may be. I thought it was about the friendships made. I suppose I can undertand how this has changed (the economy and all). But, I’m sorry it wasn’t exactly what you thought it was but I know you enjoyed meeting some fantastic bloggers in real life. From what I understand your chauffeuring services were invaluable. :)

Does this mean you won't be making a trip to NYC for Blogher 2010? LOL

Unknown said...

Good stuff. I really enjoyed reading this. I think the best thing is that you did go with a "limited set of expectations" - that's all anyone can really do. Glad you met the amazing folks you wanted to, that's really the only thing about not attending the conference I'd be envious about. That being said, we have a trip to California coming up where I have plans to meet up with four or five bloggers and I cannot wait to sit with unlimited time in a relaxed environment, share some wine and hugs. Better than any BlogHer conference in my opinion. Looking forward to the pictures :)

Shadow said...

why is it that, even with the best intentions and aims, when things get too big, they get ruined by politics, rules and stuff? or am i off the mark here...

Audrey at Barking Mad said...

Rather than going to BlogHer, I went to BlogFest...much more in line with someone who possesses the social phobias and issues that I do.

I've read so many things about this years conference that I'm really on the fence about attending next year, although deep down inside, I'd like to. I think.

In spite of some of the more negative aspects you noticed, I'm really glad that you were able to connect with some "truly marvelous people" because at the end of the day, that's what it's all about.

Momisodes said...

The vaginally challenged session was great.

I agree that the bringing attention to the supposed "rumors" only gave it a broader voice. I had no idea what the heck she was talking about until it was mentioned.

And although I also ran into so huge ego's at BlogHer, the interactions I had with you and so many others I've been reading online made it worthwhile.

Unknown said...

*I thought it was supposed to be about building that feeling of community - not exploiting it.*


Loraine said...

There are some lovely bloggy people out there whom I would absolutely love to meet. But I'm always wary of socializing with groups because of exactly the sentiment you described.

I was not cool in high school. I've never been one for gossip, and I can't stand catty attitudes. People who tend to be clique- ish and catty love to focus their bitchiness on me for some reason. I'm one of those uncool nerd/ outcast types that get a lot of crap from the cool kids. And the more of them there are, the more I start to feel like the whole scene isn't worth my time.

Give me my mountains, my camera, and my pretty little uncool non- clique- ish blog.

calicobebop said...

Sounds like highschool. On the whole I've always been jealous of everyone who can attend, but in the back of my mind I was a little afraid it would be just as you described. That's the reason I don't really frequent the "cool kids" blogs anymore. They aren't nearly as "real" to me as the bloggers I've come to know and love. Like you! :)

calicobebop said...

NOT to imply in any way that you are not cool! Because, of course you are!

**smacks head on desk while extricating foot from mouth**


tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

I think that if I ever go again, I will go knowing what I want to get from the weekend, which is more connections with the writers I read and who take the time to comment on MY blog. I got to give and get a few hugs and have a few great conversations (with you!). That's all I wanted, anyway.

Unknown said...

Jientje: Keep in mind - these are MY opinions - there are others out there - and some don't agree.

Nicole: Like I said - MY opinions. Not everyone saw it the same way I did.

Heather: I met you - and you are lovely - and a great hugger - which is how I judge people.

FrankandMary: There ARE selfless people out there. Really. Not that I am one, but they exist.

Avitable: Adam, you were great, as were Matthew and Jim. Open and accessible. Not everyone has the same attitude.

Witchypoo: Yes, I know you are - and I'm older than you.

MrsFwith4: What inadequacies? I can't wait for you to start your blog.

Eric S: Smaller scale would be nice - I was nervous as hell for days beforehand.

Moneythoughts: Thank you, Fred. That makes it mutual.

Rebecca: Your Blissdom experience is really what I expected from BlogHer. On the other hand - that MAY have existed there and I just didn't see it.

Employee: I had a great time, too, Linda - in great part due to you and your 'buddy'.

Tara R: I am so glad I was able to meet you. You are a treasure.

Joyce-Anne: There will be reasons for me to go - people I will want to meet and see. I just may go without a ticket.

Huckdoll: I really enjoy 'meetups' and I plan to continue to meet people. I may even do some traveling to do the meetups.

Shadow: No - I don't think you're off the mark.

Audrey: Yes, Audrey, that, for me, is exactly what it is all about.

Momisodes: Yes, you and all the others I met made it worthwhile.

Hyphen Mama: Exactly.

Loraine: You are so, so, cool.

Calicobebop: Awww. Thanks. I feel exactly the same.

Tracey: It's good to go there with proper expectations set, I think. And I am so, SO glad I met you.

Holly said...

Interesting thoughts. For me, blogging is about community and self-expression. I do have occasional giveaways on my blog -- which I consider a treat for my readers. :)

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

It's unfortunate that said rumors even exist, but hey. We are human and we do like to gossip. :) You know, spreading the news.

I was glad I went to that session and heard how "the other half" thinks and why they blog.

And meeting you was one of the highlights!

Nicole said...

Which is a good thing, or blogher would go bankrupt ;)

Nan Sheppard said...

I'd love to meet some more bloggy friends in person. So far, they've been wonderful! (One-derful, cuz I've only met one of you!)

Anonymous said...

Great post. Personally I got out of it what I came for. I met people I've been reading for years. A few I was too intimidated to approach. I chose to ignore the rumors and took people for what they put out there. If there were hidden agendas, I just let them have at it. I got my bloggity batteries charged and found some candidates for blog hubby. And yes, you are now on the list. But we DO have to meet in person at some point.

Mrs4444 said...

I am definitely not one of the "cool kids," but I didn't feel a sense of rejection from anyone at BlogHer. However, every time my group of friends (bloggers I met IRL for the first time at the conference) entered the big hall and sat together, I had a feeling like I should be mingling more. That said, I made a LOT of new connections, including THIS one! :) It was nice to meet you, and I enjoy your blog so I'll be adding you to my reader :)