Blogging conferences are a crazy beast. The premise is good: get bloggers together so that they can meet face to face and hug each other and take photos of themselves together and attend sessions together and it will be a love-fest of insane proportions and everyone will walk away with a song in their hearts and a skip in their steps and will fall asleep with a smile on their face because the whole experience was so dreamy.
That happens, yes. It does. Especially if you surround yourself with people that you love and trust.
The thing is, a conference is also real life and in real life people aren’t perfect and you might act differently than they expected and they might act differently that you expected and then people accuse you of behavior that is not what you intended and you see people as the flawed, insecure people they are. And they see you in that same light.
I am an introverted extrovert which boils down to the fact that submersing myself in a conference with a whole boatload of people that I don’t know could very well be a recipe for disaster (and at moments, probably was). Luckily for me, my Blissdom Canada roommate was the ever lovely, ever rational, ever even-keeled Katie.
She and I were up until 2:30 am one night talking about life and family and writing and everything and, yeah. She’s Good People.
Our honorary third roommate was Miss Tanis. She was across the hall from us and her roommate ended up sleeping at her own home so she and Katie and I were the Three Amigos for the bulk of the weekend.
You probably know Tanis via her online persona, but I hope that you get the chance to get to know her offline. I’ve had a bit of a tough week, Internet-wise and she encouraged me and gave me some great words of wisdom.
I remember the moment I got the mass email to all of the speakers and saw that Schmutzie and The Palinode were coming and how excited I was. It was all for good reason – I had plenty of opportunities to hang out with them and to talk to them and to hug them. They are beautiful people, inside and out.
I (sadly) did not have much time to sit down and get to know Shannon better, but I sat in the hotel lobby with Kate and Bonnie until 3 a.m. on that last night because, well, have you ever heard them speak? It’s like magic, personified. They are also raw and honest and real and everything that I want to be when I grow up.
(Tanis, Scmutzie, Kate, Bonnie and Catherine)
More photos (MANY more) on Flickr.
(Don’t hate me if I didn’t link to you – it’s not personal. I promise.)
(Other attendees are linking their posts here, if you’re interested.)
Friends aside (which is hard to do, since we were all together for many, many hours), the conference itself was pretty fantastic. I appreciated the panels I attended and I had a whole lot of fun on the one that I shared with Jeanette, Jen and Nadine (YOU WERE MISSED, ALI!). We shared our stories and talked to people attending the session and answered questions and made jokes and had a whole lot of fun. I really do hope that I get to be on a panel again in the future.
I’m not sure how to end this, really. A lot of people did posts after BlogHer and then said that they would NEVER LINK AGAIN because people would feel left out. I’ve also heard accusations of people using links as “ladder-climbing” or, possibly, FAWNING and I hate to think that people would perceive me that way but, hey. I can’t control that. I can, however, tell my story about this great time I got to spend at a conference being loved on and talk about some of the people who made that experience so fantastic and point you their way so that you, too, may experience their awesomeness.
It’s been a crazy week on the Internet for me and many others but the ladies who spent hours talking with me this weekend and other friends who have emailed or called me has been a great reminder that The Good that comes from these Internet friendships far outweighs The Bad. Thanks be.