Dear Elisa, Lisa and Jory,
First, let me apologize for addressing you by name; however, I did so intentionally and for good reason. We forget that there are people behind a brand – people who work hard, have feelings and express emotions. Online, it’s sometimes easier to throw rocks at a brand forgetting that there is a person who has worked hard to create it. I want to remind myself, as well as others, that BlogHer was launched by three women much like each of us who launch blogs and businesses.
First, I want to thank you. Thank you, because I had the best time at BlogHer that I have EVER had since first attending your conference way back when you launched it. Now, you might be scratching your head and saying to yourself, “How in the world could you have enjoyed BlogHer, when you didn’t even attend BlogHer?” But let me assure you I did attend BlogHer. My bathroom scale confirmed it this morning when it reminded me of all the Garrett’s Popcorn and pizza I ate all week. Not only did I attend BlogHer, but I achieved everything I believe the three founders intended for attendees of the BlogHer Conference to experience. I met new friends in my space and networked with old friends as well. I learned about new technologies, new brands, new products and new ways of solving the challenges I face as a social media mom. Best of all, I felt like I was part of a unique and awesome community of women and men (when you count Mitch and Ted). I can’t honestly say that I have accomplished so much at past BlogHer conferences. I did all this without my BlogHer pass, which as we all know was revoked on Tuesday night at 11:30 p.m. (I really wish I wouldn’t read my emails in the middle of the night!)
But here’s the ironic part. What looked like a negative on Tuesday night soon became a positive upon landing in Chicago. You gave me the greatest gift BlogHer could give me by revoking my pass. You forced me to look at the conference in a new way and you motivated others to act in ways I’ve never experienced before. I received an invitation to my FIRST-EVER outboard party. Really! In all the years of attending BlogHer, I have NEVER been invited to an off-site party. I am not sure why. I thought I was a nice person, but most people may just think I’m too busy or going somewhere else. I guess once I was labeled an “outcast” from BlogHer, outboard event organizers felt sorry for me and took me in. I have to tell you, they are fun parties! I finally understand why so many moms can’t wait to venture away from home and attend these parties. I have read about them for years. I’ve seen women wait anxiously for their in-boxes to fill up but I never really understood why. I do now and if you’ve never been to one, I am going to encourage some of the outboarders to invite you next year.
Not having my BlogHer pass opened up my schedule and allowed me to attend some of these “outside” events. It also forced me to meet new people, socialize in new niche communities of moms and look at the conference from a different perspective. I had lots of time to listen to the opinions of moms about the conference, sessions, sponsorship policies and events. Not because I asked, but suddenly moms who I’ve never met before approached me to talk. It seems being a REVOKED MOM made me more accessible. It was awesome. I literally met hundreds of women who I would have otherwise walked past in the lobby or rushed by in the Expo Hall. We had a reason to talk and you provided that for us. Thank you. Many of the women expressed support for me – so much so that I felt a sense of community at a whole new level.
What I did miss, however, were my old friends, the experienced mom bloggers who no longer see BlogHer as a beneficial expense. We all know that for the first time, many of the “old-timers” weren’t in attendance. We need to get them back. Although their absence forced me to hang out with new acquaintances, their knowledge and guru-ness was definitely missed by not only myself, but I’m sure by women new to social media. I believe that the richness of our blogging community depends on diverse levels of know-how, assortment of histories and sometimes conflicting perspectives. Do I like that there are other moms who sell the services to companies that BSM Media provides? No, but these women make me a better business owner. They keep me from getting lazy, they motivate me to constantly re-invent myself and they fuel my engine when I get tired of staying up late working. When you embrace competition it makes you a better person overall; personally and professionally.
The Dalai Lama says, “Don’t lose the lesson” and I believe that my lesson this week was learned in the sense of community I felt with every embrace, tweet and Facebook comment. I’ve joked about being revoked. I’ve worn a fictitious REVOKED name badge and I even tweeted from @REVOKEDMOM, but I want to get serious now.
I learned this week that BlogHer, the conference, has a place in the female blogosphere. It has a place because as bloggers (yes, I am a blogger: www.bluesuitmom.com, http://www.womenontheirway.com/jane-air/ ) we need a physical place to gather, share, network and learn. However, we also need an event that evolves with our community. One that offers content as valuable to an old timer like me as to a newbie. A conference that sees the value of empowering its community members with financial opportunities as much as it values building them for themselves. A community where there’s open dialogue and opportunity for growth. All of this leads me to my proposition. I feel so strongly about preserving and growing our community that I’m willing to fly to New York at my own expense and sit down with the BlogHer team to brainstorm. I want to be part of the solution rather than the REVOKED mom. There’s so much more for us all to gain by working together rather than tearing each other apart. I try to practice what I teach my children and in this case, I’d like to see how we can play nicely together. Email me, even if it’s in the middle of the night. I’m sure I’ll read it before dawn.
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