So, I just sat down to start writing my Blogher recap post along with thousands of other women who attended the event this weekend. And I realized I can pull it all into one sentence :: Blogher is what you make it. Blogher is whatever you are willing to let it be. (Lied, two sentences).
I was nervous as hell going in, I am not going to lie. But before the conference I had already decided the why of going this year; I had an agenda ::
1) Meet the Canadians. You may think I am kidding. I am not. I read a lot of our Northern friends and really wanted to use the time to put a physical presence to the amazing writer voices.
2) Learn about some 'techy' stuff. I am not a writer, a promoter, a sponsored or advert blogger. I am just Me, with my blog and my space and a desire to know more. So I looked through sessions and found ones that seemed to have solid information about stuff. That stuff turned out to be about design, processing photos and art.
3) Go to Mamapop's Sparklecorn extravaganza to shake my booty (and shake it hard).
And so that is what happened. I met Kate the first day and finally got to hug a woman I have read and cried for and laughed with and sighed over. And then we ended up getting ready for a party together and I had a chance to start to see what it is to meet a person we know from the flat screen become whole and rounded out and there. And I was not disappointed once this weekend with anyone I did get to meet and speak to and be with. (I still find the Kate thing a little surreal).
I went to the Canadian party where there were a lot of Canadians. It was cool. The man dressed as a Mountie was a little much.
I went to session where the founders of Kirsty and Design Sponge shared generously about their blog design, what they know of shaping the online space people see and read. And is was really good info (though I was viewing it through the fog of the free drinks from the Canadian party...thanks for that, O' revered Canadians). The panel also included Alex Vega, an actual web designer who was super informative, forward thinking and funny and (incidentally) she was totally hot.
I heard Ryan from Pacing the Panic room tell a group of women to "Take good pictures". And he was right. The best way to process a photo is in your eye and mind before you shoot or while you shoot, not in Photoshop. He also said "Know your camera". More good advice.
Karen Walrond wrote on my arm and though I was smiling in the pictures I was trembling inside...off balance and sad in a sea of women, missing my kids and home. But she wrote on my arm in bold and I ended up down in my old 'hood the LES and people kept telling me they liked my tattoo. It said "I make things". It almost made me want to go to a tat shop and make it permanent.
I also went to a panel that Karen facilitated and it was unbelievably good. She and two other women spoke about Art in the Blog spaces and shared generously and openly and we had a dialogue in that room that made me finally able to call myself an ARTIST. I do not say this lightly. It has never been a word I am comfortable using in reference to myself.
And then I shook my ass at the Sparklecorn Extravaganza which was like prom without the sausage. (Well, there were a few men...but it was all about the ladies). I am pretty sure there will be a picture of said shaking somewhere around someday.
I also loved the Keynote* which was a moving and special experience...through the listening I found a whole new set of bloggers to explore and read and enjoy. And I made a new friend named Ry Pepper who is a photographer that has created an online space to feature art that catches her eye and interest. She also rocks.
And that was my Blogher10 experience. I did not take swag (well, only the reusable stainless steel bottle that keeps unscrewing and pouring out all over the contents of my purse). I did not even go to the Expo hall where the swag was housed. I occasionally felt totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of chatter so many women voices can create. I drank too much. I slept too little. I really really have to go through the photos.
Saturday night during Sparklecorn I stepped out of the party for a break from the action and ended meeting a lovely woman. We began talking about the conference and she asked me about my experience. She was open and engaged and a great listener so I told her. I told her what I liked about the conference and I told her what I did not like. Did I mention I was also drunk?
SO...... I really told her. Not in a negative way though because as we were speaking I was hearing my experience and this post was beginning to take shape. I glanced at her badge and noticed it said Staff. I asked her what she did for Blogher and she told me she helps with the conference. So we kept talking and talking and as we finished up our conversation, my heart totally finally getting why I went to this crazy loaded event, another woman who had been listening the whole time turned to me and asked me if I knew who this woman was. I knew her name was Elisa. That was what she told me. Turns out she is one of the co-founders of Blogher. Oh.
And you know what? I am so glad we had that talk. She listened and maybe there was something in there that she heard that will help guide the next experience of Blogher 11 one way or another. I can tell you I certainly felt seen and heard and understood by this woman.
Will I be going to the San Diego Blogher? Absolutely.
It is what you make it. And I might even be able to get a Canadian or two to stay at my house. Awesome.
* The Keynote was an evening event when 15 or so bloggers read their written words. The pieces read were picked via submission and review and voting. There was something about listening to them speak their words that was powerful and beautiful. I loved loved loved it.
* Pictures to come. I am still in NYC for a few more day. This has been a looooong trip with more than just Blogher but I had to bang this out before I forget it all in my sleep deprived, sweaty headed current state. I am more tired right now than I ever am at home with my kids. Whew.
To all my new people that I met via this weekend whirlwind, if you are here reading...hello, welcome, I will find you once I sort out the cards in my hand made felt card carrying (that I last saw in a jumble of some dirty clothes in my thrashed suitcase area.....) #donotwanttopack