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Where do we go from here? August 27, 2006

Posted by table4five in BlogHer, personal thoughts.
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warning: extremely long post full of name-dropping ahead. Also, bonus points if you know the song I’m referencing in the post title.
Tuesday is my one year Bloggiversary. I know it is SO cliche, but if you had told me a year ago that I would still be doing this, that it would impact my life the way it has, I would have said I doubt it. I’m getting a new blog ready, and once I do I will probably rerun a few of my favorite posts from the last year. In the meantime, I’d like to share some post-BlogHer thoughts with you, brought on by this post from Very Mom. Enjoy.

A month ago, I got on an airplane and flew to California to attend BlogHer. I had absolutely no idea what was waiting for me when I got there. I had never attended any kind of conference, so I imagined something like the training sessions I went to when I worked at the credit union. A large boring room with a huge table and metal chairs, a person standing in front of a pull-down screen, and lots of note-taking.

I knew there would be “poolside cocktail parties”, and so I made an image in my head of a small hotel pool with people standing around awkwardly holding drinks and making small talk.

I had no idea what was ahead.

And now, looking back, it’s like I went to Blog Disneyland and rode all the rides and spent too long out in the sun until I couldn’t possibly go another minute. Like others, I came home riding a wave of empowerment and validation that lasted weeks, weeks during which all I wanted to do was read about BlogHer and look at BlogHer photos and talk about BlogHer until my family wished I would just shut up about BlogHer already and cook them some damn dinner.

The biggest “scandal” at BlogHer wasn’t the showing of boobs, the molesting of statues or the pole-dancing, it was the Friday morning blog post of a fellow attendee who wrote about how sitting near a group of Mommybloggers made her want to do unmentionable things to their unmentionable body parts. I have since seen this blogger in Flickr photos, sitting with Heather and Leah and all I can think is, obviously she likes some Mommybloggers, just not all of them.

The whole “A-List” blogger thing really ticks me off (not the bloggers themselves, the bitching about them). I have something of a theory about it, and it goes something like this: Once upon a time, very few people were blogging. It started out with LiveJournal, and message boards, and people wanting to have more space to write in than just a small comment box. There is a group of bloggers who have been at this for years, and who have come to know each other. I imagine they have learned each other’s fears and secrets, have helped each other through difficult times and celebrated successes together. When they get together, they form a natural group who share a common bond.

They are also generally good at blogging, have spent years honing their writing skills and finding their voice, and because of that, they get a lot of hits and can now make money selling ad space. Advertisers seek them out because of the very simple advertising formula that lots of readers=lots of people seeing the ads=lots of people potentially buying the goods or services.

So if it’s that simple, then why all the grumbling about how the “popular” bloggers only wanted to talk to each other, how they partied in their hotel rooms instead of by the pool, how they went out to dinner together instead of eating cold taquitos with the rest of us? Why the complaining about how only they get asked to run ads and how it’s not fair for everyone else? I just don’t see it that way.

Here’s what else I think, and I’m going to use as examples the bloggers that I knew when I went to BlogHer, but I am not specifically excluding anyone who wasn’t there-If, in five years, Nancy, Tammie, Dawn, Roo, Liz, Julie, Izzy, Suebob, Catherine, Kristen and I (did I forget anyone?) are still blogging, we might just be the “A-list”. We might go to BlogHer 2011 (God, I just felt a chill down my spine) and feel just like Heather, Eden, Alice, Maggie, Jen, Melissa, Leah and Angela do. We might want to just sit together, just party together or just eat together because we have had five years of friendship. Five years of sharing, supporting, and encouraging each other that will bond us together. Will we act bored when new bloggers excitedly squeal when they meet us? Will we chat politely while looking off in the distance for someone else? I sincerely hope not. Does it even matter if we are the “A-list” or if there even IS a list? Absolutely not.

My point is that like the saying goes, you have to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Imagine being Heather Armstrong for a minute. Whether you like it or not, you are probably the most popular blogger anywhere. Everyone wants to look at you, try to meet you, talk to you. You want to see your friends and have a good time just like everyone else. But there’s always the knowledge that wherever you go, people are looking at you like you are an exotic zoo animal. Wouldn’t you prefer to go out to dinner with your friends and party in your room too?

The other point I want to make is that another thing the “A-list” has in common, and has in common with me and many of my friends too, is that they are all Mommybloggers. There was plenty of complaining at BlogHer about that, too. I say if there is another group of bloggers that wants to band together, stand up and be noticed, then let’s see them. If next year’s BlogHer is all about food bloggers or craft bloggers or political bloggers, that’s fine with me. I know who I am, I know what my place is in the Blogosphere, and I know who my friends are.

So I say let’s stick together, share and support and encourage, and let’s remember to help new bloggers, too.

Oh, and next year, if I happen to be sitting right in front of Heather Armstrong at a session like I was this year? I’m going to say “excuse me, hi, I’m Elizabeth” instead of gawking at her over my shoulder. She’s not a zoo animal after all.

Comments»

1. Suebob - August 27, 2006

Right on, sister girl. I was thinking exactly along the same lines.

2. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah - August 27, 2006

The theme song from Growing Pains?

I agree. Now that I have friends from BlogHer this year, I’ll probably want to spend time with those same people next year – since we only see each other once a year.

Sure, I would have liked to meet some people that I didn’t even SEE there, but maybe if people didn’t try to paparazzi them at the pool they would have come out more.

3. mamatulip - August 27, 2006

I really like how you look at the whole picture, Elizabeth.

(And a couple of posts have shown up on Bloglines that aren’t posted here on your blog. Am I going crazy?)

4. Elizabeth - August 27, 2006

Suebob-Excellent.

Sarah-No, think more vampire and less teen angst.

MamaT-No, I had to redo the post a couple of times and I probably drove Bloglines crazy with the publishing and re-publishing. Oops.

5. Elizabeth - August 27, 2006

Oh, and Sarah? I forgot to include you, Chase, Mocha, Devra and Karl in that potential future “A-list”. *slaps forehead* Because you are all rockstars, baby.

6. Carmen - August 27, 2006

Elizabeth, great post. I agree with you on all points.

Although, I’m a bit sad not to be included in your list, but, hmmm, I never met you, so how could I expect to be included? MUST meet up with you next year. First things first, after all.

Is the song games people play – Alan Parsons project?

7. Karl - August 27, 2006

Wow, our anniversaries are just two days apart. Happy anniversary. Excellent post, very well said.

8. Amy - August 27, 2006

Hey, I want to read all these bitching and complaining posts that everybody’s talking about! I haven’t seen any yet!

Loved this post, Elizabeth, and loved meeting you!

9. Karen Rani - August 27, 2006

Slap yourself again baby. Course apparently I AM A-list, being Canada’a Dooce and all. Pah!

(I’m kidding, of course)

Seriously, I like the way you thought it out. Great post.

10. Her Bad Mother - August 27, 2006

I’m so glad that you articulated this, Elizabeth. I’ve thought exactly the same thing. It’s true for all us, B-listers, Z-listers, whatever – we want to spend time with our friends. It was hard enough this time around – I wish that I’d had many, many more hours to hang with you guys and I’m pretty sure that I missed out on meeting all sorts of new people because I was busy getting to know you all. Which I regret – the not meeting new people – but only a little. I got what I came for.

11. roo - August 28, 2006

I could be crazy, but I think you’ve gone and quoted Madonna as Evita Peron.

As for Blogher 2011, I will see you there, beeyotch! And I will be wearing the beautiful bracelet you made me.

12. chris - August 28, 2006

You expressed this perfectly.

Will I be able to sit at the table with you in 2011?

13. Busy Mom - August 28, 2006

Excellent, and, Happy Blogaversary!

14. mothergoosemouse - August 28, 2006

Elizabeth, I love you. Marry me?

Seriously, thanks for the excellent perspective. You are right on.

15. jen - August 28, 2006

I have half-written my BlogHer 2 cents and that was pretty close to what I came up with.

I guess that means uh, I agree!

smooches-
jen

16. Denise - August 28, 2006

Yea! I love A list mommybloggers! But then again, I love all bloggers. The haters have problems that you obviously don’t have – which is something that also intimidates those haters. So hang onto how you’re feeling. It’s good. :-)

17. jennster - August 28, 2006

HAPPY BLOGAVERSARY!!!!! this is awesome! and dooce was the coolest! i can’t imagine what it’s like to be her, honestly. the way people don’t approach, yet STARE at her. fucking a.

18. Mommy off the Record - August 28, 2006

Very good assessment of the whole thing, Elizabeth! And happy blogoversary! I hope I can get to my one year mark. That is quite a feat. I hear that the majority of bloggers don’t make it that far. Glad you’ve stuck with it!

19. wordgirl - August 28, 2006

Happy Blogaversary. I still think the boost from B-list to A-list blogger happens more quickly when the A-listers blogroll you. Maybe I’d feel differently if I had gone to BlogHer and had been able to talk to people.

20. TB - August 28, 2006

While I do think there is a lot of group think around the whole thing, I think you are right about the length of time one has been blogging directly correlating to “popularity”.

I love how you are able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, Elizabeth. It’s so much a part of the kind and warm and considerate person you are.

21. gidge - August 28, 2006

Alan Parson’s Project.
I saw them in April.

I’m going next year to BlogHer.
I swear to GOD I’m wearing a prom dress.

That way you’ll know me. I’m going to pretend to be FAR more popular and well read than I am.

22. Elizabeth - August 28, 2006

A prom dress! Now that will be something to see.

23. Nancy - August 28, 2006

Right on, girlfriend. I don’t give a rat’s ass about A-list, B-list, or Z-list. I’m just glad to spend time with the bloggers I love. And meeting some of the ones I’ve admired from afar was just the icing on the cake.

24. Tori - August 29, 2006

Hey there babe…
Not having attended, it’s hard to comment thought I have read a lot of post blogher stuff and I tend to agree with you…
I simply cannot miss the bloody event next year… there’s just too much fodder!!!!!!
And as for you Elizabeth…. who knew you were a Buffy fan?
My husb created the video game….
We are HUGE fans – even have the whole musical episode on CD…


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