I've been blogging since 2005. How is it possible that this was my first big Blogher conference?
I don't know. What I do know is that it was a wonderfully weird experience, something that I should have done a long time ago.
From the moment I walked into the Hilton lobby I was surrounded by faces I recognized -- faces from when there were so few mom-bloggers that we were all able to keep tabs on each other's parenting milestones, newer faces that have become so familiar that it was hard not to go right up them and start talking like if we were old friends, faces of strangers with whom I've shared secrets and whose secrets I keep, there were even the faces of people I know back home in Boston -- it was definitely surreal.
As I stood in line waiting to check in and I overheard snippets of conversation here and there I kept thinking about how this was exactly like Twitter.
Except that on Twitter, you don't get to go and grab lunch with the people whose witty words entertain you as you stand in the supermarket checkout line or sit under the dryer at the hair salon.
On Twitter you don't get to actually hear their voices and talk like if this was the most normal thing in the world.
And when you're behind your computer or your smartphone, you don't realize (or at least, I didn't realize) that these people are as comfortable around you as you are around them and that, despite the vastness of the internet, despite how big and scary and downright nasty it can be, that we all carve our own little piece of it and that I love my little piece of it.
It took five years for you all to become real. You didn't disappoint.
The conference itself was a blur -- of activities and parties, coffee and pizza, and new people whose words I want to read, whose photos I want to see, whose businesses I want to support. Of my fabulous roommate and my Boston girls, and women who helped me pick outfits, and who I work for, and who have worked with me, and who have made me laugh and cry and who are all finally so very real.
It was exhausting. It was fun.
You might remember that I was chosen to speak at the Voices of the Year keynote on how I came up with this blog's design. I'll be sure to post the video when it is up. I honestly can't remember what I said, but I'll never forget being backstage with my fellow speakers. All of us so very different, all of us so equally nervous before and so relieved afterward.
Rockstars, every single one of them.
And then, after the keynote, so many people came up to me and said the most amazing things: How they learned so much from my three minutes on stage, how I inspired them to figure out their style, how they're going to redesign their blogs because if I can they do it they can too.
Thank you, thank you for coming up and saying hello. Please do send me your links when you're done. I want to see your beautiful designs!
So the conference was a success. Sure, there were a few moments of awkwardness -- most of them caused by me because if I saw a writer whose work I loved I would go up and tell them. Just like that. Even if they had no way of knowing who I was, and even if I knew there was no way they would remember me afterward. Of course, the conversations were short. Of course. But I meant what I said, and it felt good to say it.
You know what my favorite part was? How many people were warm and gracious and kind. The hostesses of the few events I managed to attend -- whether they were swanky cocktail meetups, impromptu meals far away from the Hilton, gatherings in private rooms of people I'd just met or even the hostesses of the big official bashes -- they all made me feel so very welcome. The woman who saw me panicking in the elevator and who told me I would do just fine. The people who let me tag along, join their groups, the people who I've met before (however briefly) and who treated me like an old friend.
That old line about bloggers being socially inept? SO NOT TRUE.
People of Blogher: It was fun. You are amazingly talented. Let's do it again sometime.