Where do we go from here? August 27, 2006Posted by table4five in BlogHer, personal thoughts.
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.