There's nothing I can really say about Blogher09 that hasn't already been said in many thoughtful ways by the very many talented bloggers who were also there and who write with words and sentences I could only hope to compose.
I went to the conference not truly knowing what to expect. I knew there were going to be a whole lot of people there whom I did not know and I decided before I left Salt Lake City that I would make it my mission to meet 100 people. As a geekly girl without a television, I already have over 1000 (no that is not a crazy typo) blogs in my google blog reader and I knew that I could definitely squeeze in the time to enjoy and read and devour 100 more.
So that was my plan. 100 new blogs that I never knew about. 100 new blogs to stretch my mind in new and interesting ways. 100 new blogs that would push my own boundaries, that would perhaps make me question my own sensibilities, that would ask me to be a better me.
I made it a point, that no matter where I was, or what I was doing, to always be gracious, to always smile, to introduce myself and to ask each person about their blog and what made them excited to write it? And then I made sure that I listened.
I found my 100 blogs. Actually I found 117. So bravo, Blogher. You definitely gave me the stuff I needed.
What I didn't need, though, and I do have to go here, I'm sorry, was the overwhelming amount of swag. I know it is a choice whether to accept it or not. I chose not to accept it in most situations. I will admit that my eco-conscious vegan activist went a bit nuts over the amount of waste I kept seeing literally piling up in the hallways around me
Here's what bothered me most, I suppose.
I'm a refugee from the hey day of the dot com insanity. I was the Marketing Director who threw the lavish parties in San Francisco and spent 500K on a single launch party. I know how much promotional materials cost. I also, prior to that job, was the graphic designer creating the print materials for all those brochures that were tossed about and into the recycle bin. I actually do know about the print production costs not only to the company, but to the environment.
What I kept seeing were dollar signs. I couldn't help it. (The same thing happens to me during Sundance, I'll confess). Massive amounts of dollar signs and I couldn't help but think of our children, their schools, the funding that is being cut from the oh so important non-profits across America, the very non-profits that benefit so very many of those who are less fortunate than many of us who were fighting over free laundry detergent at that hotel.
I wanted to scoop up all the free laundry detergent and take it to the nearest woman's shelter. I wanted to ask the Quaker Oats folks to please take their oatmeal to the homeless shelter or a nearby magnet school. I just, well, I just got totally overwhelmed and wanted a check-box on my Blogher Registration that said: "Please have the sponsors give the $$ equivalent of my swag to Habitat for Humanity". *
I want to believe that I am not unusual in this respect. That if you were given the chance to perhaps give the $$ equivalent of the plastic Mrs. Potato Head and the Gerber Teddy Bear and the Mickey Ice Cream to a cause close to your heart, in lieu of paying extra to ship it home, you would do the same. I want to believe that we're all bloggers with big, generous hearts that care more about those who are less fortunate than about getting that free video camera from Kodak.
I want to believe that. Actually, I have to believe it. If I don't, than this world is not a world I want to live in. And I've only just started living my very best me.
My Finest Blogher09 Moments:
1. Michelle of Everyday Celebrating. Who was my ad-hoc publicist and wrangled the crazy. I am beyond blessed to have her in my life and I can't imagine attending a Blogher without her. Seriously. The woman is made of GOLD.
2. The scream heard around the Blogosphere with Grace Davis at the People's Party on Thursday night. Grace has begged me to come to Blogher every.single.year. I finally made it.
3. My Escalator Ride.
4. The Lush Party with Anna. The Lush party was truly lovely, but sharing that whole evening with Anna, who happens to be one of my dearest friends on the planet? Nothing better.
5. The Community Keynote. You all, each and every one of you, blew me away. You made me proud to be a blogger and you made me ache to be an even better one. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
6. Melle recognizing Buddha and Stella before she recognized me. No, seriously. That was a button-bursting proud mama moment for me. She even knew their names!
7. Meeting Jenny. She was exactly as I imagined she would be. Meeting and whispering about all kinds of good things with JenB. Who I have loved for so long it felt like I was talking to my very best friend. It's a Jennifer Universe, you know. We just let the rest of you breathe the air. Sometimes. If you're good. And we like you.
8. The Vaginally Challenged session. I may have been miffed by some of the things that were said, but honestly, it is good to have your buttons pushed. I learned things in that session about myself. Learning about yourself = GOOD!
9. Kevin. He took the train in from his secluded suburb and we debriefed on Sunday. He's known me since long before I could construct a grammatically correct sentence. He still loves me. He is family and I am so very grateful that he is a part of my life.
I know that Blogher09 was exactly what it was supposed to be for me. I laughed, I loved, I cried, I hugged more beautiful souls than I've hugged in two years and I was reminded that it really and truly is the love that you give that is most important. Make sure you give lots and lots.
* McFrug has come up with something thoughtful to do with all those BAGS. I want to send oodles of good chalk, quite frankly. NeverNakedBeth is a lifetime teacher and I can't imagine what she'd do if she could only use one piece of chalk for an entire year?!