BlogHer ‘06. I want to recap. I want to discuss. I want to share my experience. I want to stay neutral. Before I do any of that, I recommend you read this excellent post by Lisa Stone on what it takes to put a conference together. I have heard negative talk and tried to stay away from it. I have heard the positive talk and embraced it. I have seen drama and rolled my eyes. I have seen passion and embraced it. I want to address a bit of it first.
If you felt as if you were under represented, suggest a panel.
If you felt your voice was not heard, suggest a panel.
If you felt that you were marginalized, suggest a panel.
Is the theme clear, here? One can be upset by the way things did or did not go, but if you complain without trying to fix it, you really have very little to complain about. BlogHer’s mission: To create opportunities for women bloggers to pursue exposure, education, and community. This means speak up. That is all I will say about it.
Now, for my personal take on the conference. It. Rocked. My. Socks. Off. I want so badly to link to all of the amazing women I met and who gave me something amazing to bring back with me, but do you really want to read a link list of 750 women? Everyone there made the conference what it was, so every one of them should receive credit for making it what it was. And if I actually link to the women I met that I spent a lot of time with, I would certainly leave one of them off and hurt a new friend. Not going to do that. You will just have to keep coming back here as I link to them throughout my various posts.
When I left BlogHer, that Sunday the mention of the conference brought me to tears. Poor Jenny was taking me back to her house exhausted and there I am a blubbering mess. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because I was overwhelmed and on overload? Maybe because I had too little time with too many people and longed for more time to get to know people better? Maybe lack of sleep? Believe it or not, crowds overwhelm me. Not speaking in front of them. That doesn’t bother me in the least. I thrive on that. But there were so many women that I wanted to talk to. I was worried about making sure I didn’t accidentally snub someone because of being overwhelmed by the amount of people around me and how that really stressed me out. Trying to keep track of people I met and who I have not and who I wanted to meet who who blogged where etc. I need and thrive on knowing people and who they really are. The short conversations were stressful. But I LOVED meeting so many women! (I am adding all of them to my link list that I got a card from. If I did not get a card from you and you want added or we met and I am an idiot and did not add you, drop me a line. Then blame it on the hotel trying to kill me.)
Last year I wrote this about BlogHer ‘05:
As I write this, I struggle to find the right words. Words that let them know (and let you know) how much I appreciate them. I sit here with tears streaming down my face as I think of how I arrived a broken and rather shattered woman and left with a soul that had been healed. I needed to be there. I needed to meet every woman I met. They each gave me something I can hold onto forever. I found sisterhood, friendship and warmth in so many of them.
The year that followed BlogHer ‘05 was hell. Those friendships and sisterhood I made last year got me through this year. So what did I bring home from BlogHer ‘06? Pretty much most of the same. I met women I adore and will keep up with until we can get together again.
I was bothered by a lot of negative talk. Probably because I did not see it. I didn’t know it was there until it was pointed out by other people. My goodness, the hotel tried to kill me and I still had an amazing time. Maybe some of my emotion came from watching Lisa, Jory and Elisa put their heart and soul into it and (wrong or right), it broke my heart to see negativity so easily thrown around. So sue me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I thought I learned my lesson last year not to do that, but I am who I am.
I do have to give a shout out to the amazing panel I was honored to speak on. Outreach Blogging. The moderator was danah boyd. Can I just gush and tell you of the blog crush I have on this amazing woman? She was the perfect person to moderate this panel. She is warm, caring and sensitive to the nature of the delicate topics that are being discussed. She was a comfort and was safe. On the panel with me was three amazing women: Leah Peterson of leahpeah, Denise of Daily Dose of Denise and Erica at marzena. Liz Henry had a great recap of it hereon the Huffington Post. Did you go to it? I would love to hear from you if you did!
But what encompassed the entire weekend, what people should remember is the way on Day Two when there were technical issues, the room raised it’s voice as one singing, “All You Need Is Love”. Isn’t that what we should all bring home from BlogHer? That women supporting women feeling that was captured in that moment. A moment that could have been awkward, negative and embarrassing became a moment when the group of 700+ women (and men) came together as one in a joint effort to support Lisa and the tech issues.
And really, isn’t that what BlogHer is there to do? Support each other and help each other along? Just something to think about.
Hat tip to Mindy of The Mommy Blog for the video.