Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So maybe I'm not such a Diva after all...

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.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

42 comments:

Flea said...

I so want to do a blog fest next year. I want to meet fellow bloggers face to face. *sigh*

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

What a lovely post. I didn't go to BlogHer, although some day maybe I will. I figure I'll get around to meeting the bloggers who I want to meet eventually, hopefully, one way or another.

Still, people blog and socialize for different reasons (and our reasons and circumstances are ever changing, are they not?), but I'm with you on this one. I'm in it for some good reading, a chance to write a bit, and if I can make a few friends along the way, then that's a trifecta.

XO

kbreints said...

Yeah, I am not the type of person to even go the blogher... I honestly did not even know there was such a group of people until about a year after I started to Blog. I don;t blog for anyone but myself... and the people I meat in the process are all bonuses!

Anti-Supermom said...

See, you do an incredible job describing exactly how I felt at BlogHer, which is why I was so timid to say 'hi' because you are a word-smith, I am not.

Kelly, I wish we would have talked more, but I did feel like I might have been bothering you. You are a much more popular blogger than myself, so I didn't want to 'waste your time'.

This was my own doing, not yours.

Again, it was great to meet you in person. You are simply lovely.

Amber said...

That sounds like a great approach. I haven't been to BlogHer yet but I find the idea a little intimidating, reading about the social scene. Although the reason I haven't been has more to do with the baby-having than nerves.

Anyways, should I manage to make it to BlogHer 2010 I will totally say hi. :)

OHmommy said...

Lovely. I had a similar approach and had a great time. Thanks for being such a great cheerleader when I needed one most.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I loved hanging out with you, hon. It is a strange environment at BlogHer because we all know each other on a one on one basis, but we're all thrown together in a mass heap. It's too much in too short a time. I TRULY wish there were more casual social settings. Separate rooms for different "types" of bloggers to gather in and hope to meet each other or something... I don't know. I still had fun.

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

"newbies are advised to just put themselves out there and be prepared to take their knocks and shut up about it."

AACCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!

Now I now attending BlogHer is probably never in my future!!

I'm glad you found a way to have a great time!

Mandy said...

I had lots of fun. Having you as my roomie was the best, honestly. But as when any large group gets together (and I hate to say it, but especially when a large group of women get together) there are politics involved.

I hate politics, frankly. I was glad to avoid them as much as I could!

Cheryl said...

I'm so glad you had a good time, Kelly. I only wish I could have met you in person. Perhaps I'll stumble upon you in a Starbucks here in T.O. or something. ;)

Parent Club said...

Now I just want to buy you a cup of tea 'cause you seem like such a darn "real" lady (with no high school diva drama).

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

I love reading your perspective. I've never been to BlogHer but hoping to go next year in NYC. I love love to meet new people, but THAT many people will probably make me want to hyperventilate. But I love the way you approached it.

Expat mum said...

Wow, I'm so low key I wasn't even aware of the "stars". There were definitely a few cliques that didn't seem to want to meet anyone they hadn't heard of. The thing that I found funny was that everyone had a business card even though most of us didn't even have a business!

Stimey said...

It was a joy to hang out with you last weekend. I had an amazing time this year, largely because I tried to not have any expectations. It was wonderful.

Magpie said...

I loved hanging out with you. Good luck with all of the stuff.

Reluctant Housewife said...

I've been kind of put off by some of the things I've been reading about what went down at blogher.

I'm kind of relieved to read it can be what you make it.

Heather said...

I'm so glad to read you had a good time. I don't know that I'll ever go, but I'd really, really love to go to NYC next year since I used to live there. But my priority is my family, and 2 of my kids have birthdays in July right around the BlogHer time. Feels wrong to leave them so I don't.

I'd have loved to have met you though.

Rachel said...

Kelly,

I am so happy that I saw you and took the chance that it was you. Just finally hugging you after all this time was a genuinely wonderful moment for me.

I'm sorry that we didn't have more time together. I hope that you enjoyed yourself.

Vered - Blogger for Hire said...

I'm glad you're not a diva.

I like low-key people.

mep said...

Well said. It does seem like the success of any experience has a lot to do with expectations/attitude going into the experience. I'm not saying "expect nothing," but I showed up at BlogHer hoping to learn a few things and meet some cool people. One of those people was you! Thanks for being so real.

Secret Agent Mama said...

I so wanted to hug you. I will come to TO and look you up!

Aunt Becky said...

1) you redeemed BlogHer for me

b) still broken up that I didn't get to meet you.

Chantal said...

I didn't go, but I am so very glad to hear you had a good time. You deserved a good time! Take Care.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

If I ever go this sounds like the perfect approach. The ONLY reason I would go is because I could meet people I know through their blogs in a cost-effective way (I have neither the time nor the money to do a Bossy-style road trip--though it would be amazing).

I've been reading about BlogHer for 3 years now and my desire to go lessens every year, based on the wrap-up posts.

Jo Beaufoix said...

You are truly lovely sweetie, and if I ever get to blogher I will definitely say hello. You will probably not recognise me as I'm actually not really an Ostrich, but that's fine. :D

So sorry you're dealing with heavy stuff right now. Mine's been a year of the heavies too what with a relationship split etc, hence my absence with the visiting and the comments, but I had to pop over when some Brit bloggers who managed to get to blogher mentioned you. Expat Mum (Toni), who lives in the states now.

I hope things get better for you, and that maybe I'll see you in New York. :D

Headless Mom said...

I'm sad that I missed you, but thrilled that you enjoyed your weekend-on YOUR terms. It sounds like those of us that did it low-key had the best time. Hopefully I'll see you next time!

You did great at the keynote, btw!

CaraBee said...

Well said. With no idea what to expect, I think I managed to pull off a fairly low key experience. I'm just not so much for the hard partying anymore. Sigh. But I loved spending time with awesome people like you!

Elaine A. said...

I'm so glad that I found you in that one session! And I think you were totally approachable and nice. My biggest regret is that there were so many people I didn't recognize and didn't get to meet. I happy to say you weren't one of them! : )

Leanne said...

Really? I was thinking of getting a ticket to go next year. I'm not very good at table dancing though. I think I'll be low key too. Can we make a date to meet under a table maybe?

Joanne said...

It was great to meet you @ blogher and I totally agree with your post! I'm out of the 'scene' and felt exactly the same way.

Natasha said...

You just expressed all my assumptions about BlogHer and all of my feelings about the mamasphere and about being popular.

What's left for me to say?

Angella said...

I was one of those "overly social" people, but only because that is who I am. I can't help it. I have so many bloggers that I read and love and did my best to touch base with them all.

That being said, I also left the hotel a lot and wandered Chicago...even *I* need down time ;)

Kami's Khlopchyk said...

As always you put my fears into words as I could never do. I am considering going next year but not to "put myself out there" or gain more exposure but to meet my blogging "friends". I like being low profile both IRL and on the web. But how I would be hurt if someone ran off because someone more popular ran by....

I am really glad you had a good time, it sounds like it was well deserved. Take care Kelly!

The Redheaded Lefty said...

Kelly, it was lovely to meet you in person. I'm glad you forged your own path---I did the same (for the most part). It required a lot of naps (!) and treats for myself that aren't part of my daily routine. Cheers!

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

I have to say that it was wonderful meeting you. I am so glad that you introduced yourself to me and I got a chance to hug you. I am truly one of the "social folks" always have been, always will be however it is doubtful that you will ever see me dancing on a table.

That said, I also value downtime and spent almost 2 days in Chicago wandering the city alone, taking in the sites.

Next time around I am going to do things differently and just meet and hang out with my friends because the whirlwind pace of BlogHer was completely overwhelming.

Haley-O said...

I was just glad I had my own hotel room (thanks to my work) so I could really turn myself and the conference OFF at the end of the day.

I love the way you put this: "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".

I was the same way. If someone rubbed me the wrong way, I was outta there -- no feelings hurt, nothing personal. And I had a great time. :)

Karen MEG said...

Kelly, you are IRL as you are here, true, real, and adorable. I loved hanging out with you again in Chicago, and I'm so glad that you're close enough that a glass of wine and chat is a real possibility beyond a once a year blogfest.

Grok said...

I never thought of it in terms of only trying to ingratiate oneself with bigger bloggers.

No wonder I'm a nobody! ;)

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Nap Warden said...

Wait...you mean meeting you isn't going to be "good for business"? Dang!

You know I kid...I'm so glad we got to hang out. You're a cool chick in my book:)

Jaina said...

Great post, I really enjoyed this. I wish I could have been there to meet you. I like your approach, and it's one I think I will adopt should I ever get to go to BlogHer.

Carla said...

I didn't hear bout BlogHer until it was over (maybe I'm not in the "in" crowd, LOL) but I would love to go next year if its in the cards for me. It sounds like everyone who went had a blast!

The Empress said...

Wow.

Found you through sheer good fortune.

Looking at past BlogHer community keynotes ( I was this past August's, for humor) Anyway, my first time at BlogHer was this year.

And what you've said in this post from 2 years ago? Still true.

But no one says it.

I've spent half an hour going over your old posts.

I would have loved your blog, and knowing you, when you were kickin ass over here with authenticity.

So sorry you stopped. Wish there was more of this type of blogging going on.

At least your blog is still up, and I have your archives.

Thank you.