August 01, 2006

I was nervous when I arrived. Probably because I was by myself. Almost immediately after collecting my badge and my giant bag o' swag, I found Ms. Jen. I blurted out that I was nervous, and she told me I had no reason to be, and I calmed down. Things were pretty much okay after that. Commence lots of sitting, some handing out of cards and buttons, and applause.

I had signed up for the "birds of a feather" flickr meet. This is part of the reason I'm afraid to look at some of the BlogHer photos on flickr. I'm sure I'm in some of them, and I fear I will be horrified if I find them. This is also where I first met this very nice person.

On to the "Is the next Martha Stewart a Blogger?" session. There was a lot of talk about promoting your own brand, or figuring out what it is, and trying to maintain it. Also talk about blogging for other companies, and when you should or should not be paid for it. I have absolutely no plans on even attempting to become the next Martha Stewart, but it was interesting none the less. At the end, I worked up the nerve to introduce myself to Helen Jane. I think I also gave a button to Ariel.

While waiting in line for lunch, the man (yes, there were men there) standing behind me asked if I had a blog. I reluctantly replied yes. He ended up interviewing me. I haven't listened to it yet, mostly because I hate the sound of my own voice. If anyone wants to hear it, send me an e-mail and I'll send you the link.

On my way to grab a seat at the "From Here to Autonomy" session, I demonstrated my supreme klutz skillz. I was carrying around my normal bag, camera bag, and giant swag bag and in the process of waddling to an empty chair, I knocked over a glass of water. I narrowly missed someone's camera, and completely soaked the tablecloth. If I hadn't felt a bit on the dorky side before, I sure did now. Thankfully, the session was amusing and educational and I mostly forgot about my waterworks incident.

The last session I attended was "Is Your Blog a Gallery or a Canvas?" Seeing as how this was late in the afternoon, everyone was a bit tired, but I think the session was still informative and thought provoking. At one point a caterpillar miraculously fell from the sky and landed on the table the panelists were sitting at. Mrs. Kennedy was nice enough to do a play by play so the podcasters didn't miss out on the action.

I kind of zoned out during the closing session bits, but everyone was pretty excited that Arianna Huffington was there. Eventually, the masses migrated back to the pool area for cocktails and food.

This is the part where it gets kind of awkward...

For me, there is a certain safety in writing a "blog". I have all the time in the world to think about exactly what I want to say, I can pound the delete key into submission, and I can craft a sentence to read exactly how I want. Then, I can hit the PUBLISH button when I'm damn good and ready. I have time to really think about what I want to say and how to say it. In the real world, when actually talking to other human beings IN PERSON, I don't have that luxury, and it makes me a wee bit anxious sometimes. I'm willing to guess that this might be the reason there are other people attracted to blogging. So imagine what might happen when those of us who are more comfortable behind a keyboard are brought together where we might have to MINGLE WITH OTHER PEOPLE. I'm not saying everyone there was like this, but I definitely got the feeling that some were way more comfortable sticking with the people they knew, and less comfortable "working the room". I know I was. But this clumping together of people is not conducive to walking up to someone and saying, "Hi! I read your blog! You're great!" However, I did manage to get over my anxiety and introduce myself a few times. It definitely helped that I had swag to hand out. And of course, once you walk up to people and start talking, everything is fine, and everyone is really nice, and after you walk away you kick yourself for not doing it sooner.

I'm really glad I went. I didn't talk to as many people as I'd hoped, but I'm thrilled that I was able to meet the people I did. BlogHer was 2 and a half times larger than last year, and I can only imagine it's going to be bigger next year. I'll go if you'll go...



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© Whitney Brandt-Hiatt: All writing, images, and photogrpahy are the property of Whitney Brandt-Hiatt unless otherwise noted.