Can I be honest?
I think the reason I had an absolutely fantastic time at BlogHer this year was because I determined in advance that I was not going to try too hard to insert myself into the social whirl.
I made that determination partially because I have so much difficult stuff at home to deal with that I knew I absolutely couldn't arrive home depleted of energy, and partially because I did not want to be one of the relentlessly social bloggers who, perhaps inadvertently, contributed to a lot of hurt feelings over the weekend.
We've all heard it said a million times that the blogosphere, and in particular the mommy blogopshere, is like high school and I think there is a lot of truth to that. For a very long time now, I have felt uncomfortable with what I perceive to be the increasingly cliquish atmosphere of the community and the increasing striving to climb to the top of the heap, no matter the cost to people's feelings or the integrity of a community in which one should be able to express himself or herself without being attacked.
I did not go to BlogHer to increase my profile: I have become extremely ambivalent about whether I even want a profile. I did not want to dance on tables and BE SEEN! I wanted to meet and hang out with interesting people and in the real world, my world at least, the most interesting people are the ones who aren't trying too hard.
This is my opinion and just my opinion, of course, but I believe I had a better time because I stayed low key and approachable. I can't tell you how many times people came up to me at the conference almost sheepishly, because they were afraid I wouldn't have time for them.
I can't tell you how many times people seemed surprised that I was happy talk to them or how many stories I heard from people who felt embarrassed and hurt because they had approached "bigger" bloggers who blew them off and dashed away in search of more popular peeps.
I know this sort of thing is such a common complaint at BlogHer every year that it's now just generally accepted that feelings will be hurt: newbies are advised to just put themselves out there and be prepared to take their knocks and shut up about it.
But I still think it's a shame.
I don't begrudge the genuine social butterflies who went to BlogHer and danced on tables and partied til dawn, but none of that felt right for me this year. I'm dealing with a ton of heavy stuff in my real life right now and I needed to know that any connections I forged in Chicago were real and not the result of someone's misplaced notion that hanging out with me might possibly be "good for business".
If you and I met or hung out over the weekend, please know that I am very happy to have met you.
If we didn't meet or hang out and you wanted to, I'm truly sorry if my low-key approach prevented it: please know I'm always just an e-mail away.