In just two short weeks, I will be headed to Chicago to attend BlogHer ’09! I am a blogging conference virgin, so I have no idea what to expect. Being the planner that I am, I printed out the agenda of classes, seminars and networking opportunities and started to make my itinerary (highlighted in color coded sections, of course!). My spirit was high (or maybe it was the sharpie fumes), either way, I was thrilled to be able to attend the “blogger event of the year!”
Then, I started to hear about fellow bloggers receiving invitations to private parties sponsored by incredible companies such as Nikon, Disney and Energizer. I searched my inbox only to find that my invitation to any such party must have been lost somewhere in the world wide web.
All of a sudden, I feel like the wallflower of blogging. Where did this insecurity come from? So, I started searching for anything related to BlogHer parties so I could learn how to get my foot in the door (who doesn’t wonder what’s behind the curtain?), and I ran across an article entitled, “divine secrets of the BlogHer ‘08 sisterhood,” a post written by Stephanie Klein after she returned from last year’s BlogHer event. This exerpt speaks volumes:
“It’s really like walking around a constant, 3-day, pledge class, wondering when you’ll finally be able to fully relax and be inducted into the sorority of women. It’s scary in a way that shouldn’t be. I hear way too many people mention “private parties” with apologies. “Oh, are you going to the Nintendo dinner?” she whispers. No. I wasn’t invited. “What about the private party at the suite upstairs by this sponsor? Oh, did you go to the sponsored private cocktail…” Since when did blogging become so elitist? It really is just another way, ironically enough, to feel rejected.
Until, that is, you aren’t. Until those moments where you connect immediately to someone you’ve read before. To someone who just gets it, with whom you share all the unspokens. And then it all changes. Your outlook, your enjoyment, and what you get out of it all. What I was reminded of most at my first BlogHer experience, at the most basic level, is what it’s like to go about making brand new friends, without relying on insincerity, or flattery, without bonding over mean girl moments. How fragile all of us can be, how nervous, how eager we are to be liked. And how ridiculously satisfying it is to connect with strangers who are now suddenly so much more.”
Whoa. How true! This article made me take a step back and re-focus on why I wanted to attend BlogHer in the first place. I cannot wait to go learn from the best, reconnect with old friends, make brand new ones, and star-gaze at the bloggers I have come to admire. While invitations to private parties sure would be nice, it is only icing on the cake. If anyone is looking for me, I’ll be at my own private party at the pool. Come join me!