Monday, August 06, 2007

Will Popularity Make Me Quit Blogging?

Before I went to BlogHer I commented without abandon. I never considered whether or not a blogger visited my site. I never considered how they were catagorized in the hierarchy of the blogosphere. I just left a comment when what I read moved me to do so.

Many times those bloggers would come visit my site and leave a comment, many times they didn't. I didn't keep a tally. Certainly, I felt I had developed a community with those whose blognames were regular visitors to my inbox.

Then I went to BlogHer.

Don't get me wrong. The conference was good. It introduced me to many terrific women whose words I would never have had the privilege to read had I not been there. And boy, if I hadn't attended I would have missed out on pulling my turkey out of the oven each week (you know I roast one every week for Sunday dinnner-HA) with my new Butterball pot holder.

All that said, I find I'm not looking at blogging quite the same way.

There were cliques. There was a hierarchy. There were snarky comments and "once over" gazes. And I kept looking over my shoulder to see if the principal was coming down the hall.

And that was diappointing.

The beauty of blogging has been for me the opportunity to get to know writers without the filter of appearances or "neighborhoods." In the blogosphere, I felt I could get to hear about another's experience in a way I might never in the "real" world.

I've resisted writing about this for fear that people will assume I am just the bitter, "dork" in the corner (okay I was) who no one would talk to. I tried to just let it go and move on with blogging in a way that was good for me.

But I'm having a hard time.

Maybe it's because of my feminist leanings, of my approach to the world, but I don't think women do each other any favors by knocking each other down...by judging each other because of their decisions...by setting themselves apart to feel better about the choices they have made. We only become stronger together if we support each other.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I'm noticing whether someone has visited my blog now. I'm considering whether or not I should leave a comment. I'm thinking about cutting down my reader list. AND I HATE THAT.

I don't know that what I have to say on this blog is really all that profound or all that important. And I don't know if it's worth doing if it means having to be aware of these things.

72 Deserve Mamma's Love:

bellevelma said...

Really?! Wow. I didn't go to the conference so I'm learning about it through other's posts. But that is disappointing to hear and something to think about.

BethGo said...

Sister friend, I am so with you on this.

Women can be mean. And exclusivity seems to be a part of it all. It's our sharpest tool sometimes. Sad to say but true.

I can't please everybody and I simply refuse to go back to high school(although it would have been nicer there with people like you).

Just keep on keepin' on.

karrie said...

Odd timing, but I have stopped blogging. Not because of how I experienced the conference per se--I knew beforehand I would be the weirdo in the corner..lol-- but more from an ongoing ambivalence about how much of myself I feel comfortable sharing online.

I've never fully understood the perceived hierarchy in the blogosphere. My local Yellow Pages generate more interesting content than some of the more widely read blogs.

I'm sorry you felt uncomfortable. You seemed so friendly and approachable that anyone there who looked down their snotty little nose at you can suck it! (and then some....hehe)

Kelly O said...

I hear you. When I'm in those kinds of situations, I totally feel like screaming, "I left high school twenty years ago and I'M NOT GOING BACK!" (In my head I sound like Sam Jackson.)

~JJ! said...

I am always afraid of that whenever I go to a big party/convention/get together.

I'm sorry you felt that way there...I would have kept you company...

coolbeans said...

"My local Yellow Pages generate more interesting content than some of the more widely read blogs."

See, I should have gone to BlogHer just to make out with Karrie. I missed my chance.

Mamma - I've always been aware of who is coming and going and why they're not saying hi when they pass through. It's better right now, but I wish I could shake it entirely.

Mamma said...

Karrie!!! NOOOOOOOO!!!

Your words. Your words. I LOVE your words.

You can't take your wonderful words away from us!

*sniff, sniff* I hope that doesn't mean you'll stop coming by.

Slackermommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Absolutely Bananas said...

Love your honesty in this post. But if you even THINK about stopping blogging I am going to hunt you down and hang you up by your toenails... and I MEAN IT. I'm already on Karrie's tail (she deleted her blog! she wasn't kidding! wtf?!!!)
So here are my wildly scattered thoughts on the blogHer/popularity/etc. topic...
1) big gathering such as BlogHer are hard. You want to meet a lot of people, but that is totally at odds with getting to know anyone at any level of depth, unless you ditch the group and go to dinner at the W with the coolest people you can find ;)
2) Just b/c you like someone doesn't mean you'll like their blog
3) Just b/c you like someone's blog doesn't mean you'll like THEM
4) Ultimately I just think we all need to "keep on keepin' on" and try and make those yucky parts of BlogHer a distant memory. The truth is, just because someone's a good blogger, or funny, etc. doesn't mean they're a great PERSON. There's good and bad eggs in any pursuit, the trick is to sort through and not waste any unnecessary time on the bad ones. :)

Jurgen Nation said...

DO NOT knock yourself down, Mamma. Here's the thing - if someone gives you catty elevator eyes and doesn't talk to you because they think they're a more "popular" blogger, fuck them. They have so many larger issues to think about. Just like the bitches in high school, these women will enjoy their day in the sun, but later when the dust settles they have to face up to the fact that they are getting their might from A BLOG. Without it, they're just like you and I. So, fuck them. Keep writing your ass off, love, and don't think about anyone else. I felt the same way about the first BlogHer, but this time I found that I realized that we're all sort of the same. Who gives a shit about stats? We all have the same hobby. Everyone shits sitting down.

Am I allowed to cuss like a sailor here? Hope so.

Anyway, don't beat yourself up over this. YOu are entitled to your feelings and I salute you for having the conviction to write them. Never stop doing that.

Lawyer Mama said...

Oh no! I think you know from my recent post on the subject that many people were feeling the way you did. I got the feeling that some bloggers just already knew each other and weren't interested in connecting with new people in more than a very shallow manner. And maybe that was a pointed decision. BlogHer was very overwhelming and I feel like I didn't get to spend enough time with people I really want to know better - like you. There were just so damn many people there.

Also A, I gotta tell you that I heard SO MANY WONDERFUL comments about you. SO MANY! Luckily, I didn't hear any fun high school comments in the bathroom. (Dear lord, why????) And frankly, that would really turn me off too. (I'm tempted to force you to tell me WHO so I can purge them from my bloglines as well.) I was there to meet people I loved (at least loved the way they write) not to tear others down.

Is this inevitable whenever any large group of women get together? I hope not. That's so sad.

Jurgen Nation said...

PS: Karrie, where can I find you on the web, girl? I want to know you. This: "My local Yellow Pages generate more interesting content than some of the more widely read blogs" made me pee a little. AWESOME. I couldn't agree more.

Mamma said...

AB-You're so balanced and kind. You've GOT to tell me how you achieve that peace.

JN--For fuck's sake! Would you stop messing up the joint with all your fucking swearing?

As for Karrie's blog. Rumor is she deleted it today. And I have to go on record as saying that is a HUGE shame. Talk about a kick ass woman!!

COME BACK KARRIE!!

LM--Next year baby. You and me!

KO--I thought it sounded like Samuel Jackson too. I love it!!

Slacker--Let me at 'em. You know I've got your back babe.

JJ--I'll get you there next year.

CB--Isn't she the best. Shall we start a campaign to bring her back?

BV-Go to BlogHer. I'm just being a baby.

andi said...

I missed BlogHer, but I had mixed feelings about going anyway. I was jealous of those who went, but then was also happy I didn't go because I feared the very things you are describing. I have been questioning blogging myself lately as I feel pressure to post when I initially just started it as a way to continue my writing and not as a way to feel social pressure to post or comment on others' blogs. I'm going to try to go easy on myself and not feel pressure to comment or to post if I have nothing of worth to say. The bloggers who I love ( you being one of them) hopefully know who they are and will realize that sometimes life does get in the way of trying to build up some sort of false "status" in the blogosphere.

Whew. That was a long rant. Two more things - I loved Karrie's comment and I'm so sad, but understand why, she stopped blogging. And I hope you continue blogging as you are one of my must reads. And I so would have hung out with you at BlogHer had I attended. Oh, I guess that's three things... :)

JazzBrown said...

As you know, I've had these issues and did not completely express them in my blog. My short rant was too general.

My WTF? moment came when I sincerely wrote a sympathetic post (and an email) to someone going through a tough time. I go back to her blog to check on her and ...my post was deleted but other popular bloggers are still there. That, I think is shitty. I met this person just like anyone else. I tried to make geniune connections. I don't do superstars. Not my gig. I read blogs that amuse or enrich my life in some way. Although it stung,I got over it.

A good blogger/friend reminded me that I blog for me, it's my story. I don't do it for stats.

Please keep writing :)

Steve said...

Geez, that is sad. This is why I'd never go to one of the these large conferences.

There are about 10 bloggers I truly want to meet, but since we all seem to leave comments on each other's blogs, I think we'd get along. There are a few people who never comment back. I fear that if I met them in real life, I'd never read them again.

But the joys are in the connections, not the expectations. I've loved the few people I had the fortune of meeting. And frankly, it's only a matter time before we meet as well. (Honestly, given that your hubby did the same program I'm doing, I'd love to meet sooner than later.)

Glad you stay real!

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

Oh please don't quit!!! You're one of my faves. I'm sorry to hear BlogHer left a bad taste in your mouth, but I truly appreciate this very honest assessment of what I already suspected. Women and especially women in large groups cannot seem to mesh.

Erika, Plain Jane Mom said...

Don't stop blogging -- I had a similar experience to yours at blogher, and am finding myself with nothing to blog about. Hmmm...

Sheila said...

I had been disappointed that I was unable to attend the BlogHer conference, quietly jealous of my blogging friends who did. Some of them (like FineryInLife) have posted about the same things as you and that's sad. I am a somewhat shy person and new to blogging and really had no idea that it was like that. I used to have a lengthy blogroll, but I found that not many people were sharing the love so I trimmed it down to the ones that I really, truly read and enjoy. Just keep doing what you love doing and leave the nay-sayers behind!

DangerDoll said...

If I had been able to go, I totally would have clung to you and it would have been US against THEM. Seriously.

I appreciate your honesty, and can imagine that I would have come home feeling the same. It sounds like high school, and I wasn't the popular kid there, either. I've had the thought many, MANY times regarding bloggers I really adore...if this person lived next door to me, would there have been interaction? And sometimes I say, no, probably not, I would have been too intimidated or judgmental or shy (shut UP I can too be shy). Online is easier because it seems to speed up the friendship process (peeling the layers). But I can see how that might backfire in a crowd...and how a Big Name Blogger (or even a wannabe) looking down their nose at you would kinda hurt.

On comments, I do the same thing you do. Whoever it is, whatever their "status", I'll still leave a comment. But I have had a couple of comments mocked (and places where I'm considered a "regular"!) for no real reason I could discern by the blogger or their commenters, which I thought was shitty. And I thought, if someone did that to me in real life, would I keep visiting? No. So I don't. And I'm happier.

I have the blogs I visit bookmarked into two folders: "Regular Reads" and "Other Reads" (you're a RR). And last week, I really thought about who I got feedback from, really enjoyed, etc., and ended up moving a buncha blogs from RR to OR.

But not you.

You're a dork? Yeah, honey, and what do I write about? The cat farting on me. The latest stupid thing I did. The occasional animal joke. But as long as it's fun, I'll keep on. Please don't stop blogging.

DangerDoll said...

Jesus fucking Christ, that was long...sorry!

deb said...

I came here from Jazz and I have to agree with you. I was at Blogher and more than a few times people looked at my name tag, tiredmummy, and it was like I became nothing in their minds. It was strange and amusing to watch.
And yes, it reminded me a lot of high school except I'm old enough it doesn't bother me, much.
It's a rude thing to do though, it's called stereotyping.

MamaLee said...

Ah, women can spineless at times.

Mommydork, I wuv you. And you KNOW that you and I would've been guffawing in the corner all weekend if I had attended!

And you make so many good points. The elite bloggers who get all the good stats are just regular people. We are ALL the same in many ways, so I don't understand all the cliques. I comment when I feel the urge to share my thoughts. Period. It's really too bad that people have to measure and be snarky.

I go back and forth, actually. I care about stats, and then I don't. Lather rinse repeat. I certainly don't know how to boost any of that unless I start showing my boobs and write some porn.

And you have a better chance of seeing GOD at this moment...

XOXO

Lisa said...

Slackermommy and I talked of this.

Someone we'd talked to even overheard someone make a horrible comment that was very immature. It blew my mind... that someone would say such a thing...

And lady, you weren't the dork in the corner. You had people lining up to talk to you! And rightfully so cause you are a fun, amazing, interesting woman.

canape said...

I've been thinking about what to say for about 5 hours now, and I'm still not sure I have it.

Perspective is everything. I actually thought you were far better accepted than I was, and I was scared I was dragging you down by the end of the weekend. Now I see that is probably a dumb thing to think, and I believe I have once again failed at the being a good friend thing. A good friend would have known this before reading it.

I assumed that the groups of people that formed were justified in not really talking to me. Because I am not that interesting, nor have I ever fit into groups very well. Upon walking up to a group and not having anyone know what to do with me, I shrug it off as my own fault and move along.

You have made me rethink all of that.

And that is why you can't quit writing. Even when you think you have nothing to say, you are waking me up and telling me something new. Always.

Jenn said...

I have to admit that there were many times I had to walk away and find a quiet corner outside and just be alone. Not because I felt I was left out or felt I couldn't talk to anyone, but because I was OVERWHELMED by the sheer number of people there. After a year of being pretty much in solitude and not very social, it was hard to "be on" the whole weekend.

So if there was anyone at all that ever felt snubbed by me, I sure as hell hope they would come to me to my face and tell me. Maybe you should, too, if they are someone you feel you can approach. If not, blow it off and KEEP WRITING.

So many people in one place is tough. It has been every year. Overwhelming and discombobulating. (I love using big words.)

Don't you dare stop writing over a few instances at BlogHer that were upsetting. Your writing is terrific and I would be upset to lose you in the blogging world. Personally, I really enjoyed meeting you and talking to you. (If you even remember that we did with so many people there! lol)

amygeekgrl said...

i am new to your blog (came this way via jazz's blog), but i just have to say wow. i've never been to blogher and thought it sounded like a good time, but now i'm not so sure. it's sad that women can often be so hard on each other. why does that have to happen?
anyway, even though i am new to your blog, i can tell you've got a lot to share and i hope you'll stick around. :)

A Week In The Life of A Redhead said...

This is really an interesting read for me as I blog to self-publish and test my writing ability (or lack of) on a general audience ... not to be the Prom Queen of female bloggers. I never thought about women not supporting women in this venue. I love the fact that people - both male and female - are writing about so many things. Women are foolish to put down other women in any sort of business venture ... men bloggers support and help eachother. If we are ever to hold the positions above the glass ceiling, then we had better stop biting eachother's backs and helping eachother up. How great (and brave) of you to share your observations on this "all female" supported event. Maybe you should plan your own conference and all us fun women will come to yours...
Hugs,
Catherine, the redhead
http://www.aweekinthelifeofaredhead.com

myminivanisfasterthanyours said...

This is my first time to your blog and I am SO glad I made my way here. I just started blogging a few months ago and wasn't at all familiar with the blogging politics. I have been to so many incredible sights the two comments left, then go somewhere else to read a line or two that they don't have much to say so will be back the next day, and POOF, 50 comments.

This helps clarify for me. Thanks for offering a broader picture to the newbies. I will DEFINITELY be back to your blog again :) Hope it's here when I get here!

Kimberly said...

I felt the need to escape to a quiet place many times because it was just so freaking non-stop. I live in a pretty quiet world so 4 days of feeling like I was in some sort of sorority party was mind blowing at times. At one point I had a meltdown in the rooftop bathroom and quickly had to pull my shit together when a couple of bloggers straggled in to pee. I felt the popularity pull as well but that didn't bug me as much as the session that made me feel like I really had to reason to even be blogging. Bitches.

One of my favorite times was sitting at the lunch table with you and the other VA girls chatting it up about grocery stores and traffic. I felt very at home then.

And BTW- when ever I saw you, you were in a large group of very fun looking women having a blast. SO much so, that I was afraid to approach you. I guess we're all a little lame, huh?

Mrs. Chicken said...

You know, I didn't go this year and I felt excluded twice over when I read the recap posts all over the place.

I think if I HAD gone, I would have been in the same spot you are now. I would hope that I would've found you in your corner and set up shop there with you.

I think I like the shield of the interwebs. Makes me feel safe from what you describe so articulately here.

Last but not least, can we start a "Bring Karrie Back" campaign? Just two weeks ago she told me not to stop writing, and here she is leaving us!

ps - just finally subscribed to you. xoxxox

Jenny said...

I'm having a really hard time reading this and I'm just going to be honest about why.

I was lucky enough to get to talk to you but the whole time I was thinking "God, she probably just wants me to leave I'm not really popular enough to sit with her". It wasn't anything you did or said, just my preconceptions of invisible levels that are probably only exist in my head. And here you are thinking you're "the dork in the corner".

Why is that? How often do we screw ourselves because of these "levels" that don't really exist or even matter?

I'm so glad you wrote this.

I'm so glad I met you.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I think there were a lot of overwhelmed women at Blogher. Now that I can put some time and space between me and that convention I can see it a little more clearly. That situation is not exactly conducive to making deep connections, know what I mean (uh, speed dating, anyone?).

With that said, I know I'll be there next year with more experience under my belt. I hope I'll see you there again too, so we can spend some more time together!

Florinda said...

This is my first time visiting your blog - hello, and I like it here! :-)

I'm relatively new to the blogozone, and have been really interested in people's reactions to BlogHer, but wouldn't have felt it was my place to attend it at this point. I've been thinking "maybe next year," but your post and a few others I've read are making me wonder. A lot of the conference content sounds like it was really good, but it's the "extracurriculars" (high school again?) that I'd worry about. I've spent enough of my life as the dork in the corner already, and I tend to get overwhelmed and timid in crowds of strangers anyway (which is what they'd be in person, regardless of online relationships).

But if BlogHer is the same weekend as Comic-Con again this year, I'll probably be embracing the dorkiness and going to that instead (my husband really wants to!).

Karen said...

Oh Mamma, don't stop! We are all out here, reading and enjoying your words, and that's what it's about.

I'm so sorry that BlogHer didn't live up to expectations. I've thought, before, that some of my very favorite bloggers wouldn't want to hang with me in person, or even that they're probably not very nice people even though their words are fun to read, but it would be disappointing to actually experience it.

Women, en masse, aren't very nice, unfortunately.

Wish I'd have gone. We could have hung out together.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I felt the exact same way - last year. I got home and I took several people off of my blogroll and I added a bunch of new friends.

Whoever said that liking people doesn't mean liking their blogs and vicea versa was dead on. Some of my closest friends have blogs that I don't enjoy. Some people that I met and detest are great writers.

There is an "in crowd". It does exist. This crowd has been blowing me off since Jr. High.

Don't let the bastards drag you down, or let them stop you from doing what you love.

Andrea said...

This is the most depressing thing I've read in quite some time.


REALLY???

If you're only blogging for big name people to read your blog or for the popularity, then just stop. Because that's pathetic and stupid. You really shouldn't care what anyone thinks. If you like blogging then blog, if it makes you sad because Suzie popular didn't comment then get the fuck off your computer and go make some real friends.

Jack's Shack said...

Blogging is one of those things that should be done for yourself. at least personal blogs. Not very profound, but I believe it quite strongly.

It is easy to get caught up in the whole stat thing, I do from time to time. But I am happier when I ignore it.

Arlene said...

Crap...I live in the Chicago area, and only didn't go cause I'm broke ... from this and other posts I've seen...I'm glad I didn't.. I certainly am no blog celebrity, far from it...just my stupid blog for my business and my little house .... I just enjoy blogging, and commenting on other blogs...cripes...really really sounds like high school...that stinks! I'll stay in my little fantasy blog world where everyone places nice!

Anne Glamore said...

I didn't get to go and I'm sad because I wanted to. I've been blogging a while, and I'd have to say that if there were 850 women there, that's at least that many blogs. I certainly don't read that many!

Also, you tend to find blogs by following the links from other blogs you like, so after a while you get into a circle of blogs that you read, and it takes effort to get out of that circle.

You are not in my regular circle even though we are both BlogHer members, but I started following the links about BlogHer discontent and found you-- TA DA!

My main point is that it sounded like a huge meeting where it would be hard to talk to everyone, much less find all their blogs in such a short time.

However, I'm glad I've discovered some new ones through this topic...

Lola Goetz said...

wow, chica. seems like you really hit a cord. i, for one, was so excited to see some friends that i don't see nearly enough that i didn't mingle as much as i did last year. but i still met some new people (including you!) and made some new friends. it's tough when there are so many more people, it's almost overwhelming.

i've gone up to a couple of people more than once and been ignored. then, i ran across them later and they were as friendly as can be. you just never know what's going on with people.

anyway, i had a great time yakking it up on the patio with you. hang in there!

becky
misspriss.org
(yeah, the pregnant chick)

Girl con Queso said...

I'm with Jenny. And I really must have been drunk (again, with Jenny). Because I missed it. I didn't pick up on any of that. I'm always the clueless one that has no idea what's going on. All I was paying attention to were you AWESOME red shoes (and fab flower!)

Amber said...

I am kind of torn on the issue. Overall, I had a great time and would not trade the friendships I made.

However, I did feel like some people were inclusive and did not go out of their little cliques to meet new people. I had an experience where I was with "the popular girls" and while I was not snubbed, I was just kind of politely ignored.

Would I attend again? Maybe. I would just have more realistic expectations about the whole thing.

Oh, The Joys said...

I went to meet too many people.

In the end, I spent too little time with every body.

I'm not sure I would go again.

That said, I did walk away loving Canada. Canada made my whole weekend. I love Canada. All those ladies from Canada are nucking futs.

Her Bad Mother said...

This is exactly the thing that I felt so facking guilty about during and after BlogHer. There were too many women that I wanted to connect with, but not enough time, and it was all so overwhelming and I was CERTAIN that I had (accidentally) not met someone's gaze or not noticed them in the elevator or whatever.

But it was NOT politics. It was social overload. Too, too many people (among whom some of my very best friends, who I was desperate to spend time with) - and that carries over onto the Internets: SO MANY BLOGS.

There may have been a few Heathers at BlogHer, maybe. I don't know. What I do know is that many of the women who might have seemed as Heathers, were just strobing and couldn't see straight. Please don't stop lovin' the Internets because of social weirdness!

Mitch McDad said...

WOW. Look what I missed! This is further confirmation of the joy that I feel in not owning a vagina--though I do live with three of them.

You girls sure are a complicated bunch.

I guess this is what happens when writing mixes with socializing.

You just keep doing what you do...and to the rest of it--fuck 'em.

You rock in my book...for whatever that is worth.

Grim Reality Girl said...

Wasn't there so I can only live through you... sorry it was disappointing...

Girl said...

I totally get it... and that's all I can think to say on the subject.

Indigo said...

I wasn't at BlogHer, but I did want to go. This is my first time here, and I truly hope you can work through everything that you are feeling.

Devra said...

I loved having lunch with you. (or was it breakfast?!) You see, I can't even keep a meal straight let alone keep track of everyone I met or everyone I tried to speak with. I think it is really important to fill out the BlogHer post-conference survey so the organizers understand that networking and meeting people is a HUGE deal. For me, while last year's hotel wasn't exactly the Ritz, it did serve as a central location and having only one pool to gather around in the evenings or between sessions really worked well for getting to know many people and table hopping. I found this year's location was the polar opposite. It felt disjointed to be split among hotels and the pier and I felt awful that I couldn't get to spend more time with others, those I *know* and those whom I really want to know! I filled out my post conference survey and suggested we go back to the "hotel in the middle of nowhere" type of location. Yeah, it's great to be in a cool city like Chi-town, but when meeting others, networking and attending sessions is the focus, it is easier to do it with fewer distractions and in a more centralized location.

I hope you continue blogging. When I was in Highschool I ran with everyone. I ignored the cliques and just did my thang. I had friends in all the groups, yet didn't worry about being a "member" in any of them. I think I live my life the same way now. Also, I think that BlogHer is much like the youth group conferences/conclaves/retreats of my past where everyone who attends the first year feels a bit left out, but the next year there is a feeling of feeling more "in" because the familiar faces greet you and you feel like you know more people an feel less isolated and alone.

Oh but I did go on! I probably should have have more coffee and I would have been far less verbose!

sarcastic journalist said...

Okay. Big dissenter here. In my graduating class of high school, there were 806 people. roughly the same amount as were at BlogHer.

When we sat there and watched people cross the stage at graduation, I couldn't help but think "I've never seen her! Or him!" And it wasn't because I was snobby (woah, I was down on the cool ladder there) but that I just never, ever saw them.

So take something like BlogHer, which happens just over two days. TWO DAYS. Did you meet all 800 people? Did you go out of your way to say hi to everyone at lunch? Talk to all the health bloggers and the political bloggers?

Did you remember every single person you met?

I felt that there was a very open vibe there. There were people I didn't get to speak to and there were people I spoke to a bunch. And, surprisingly, some of the people I wanted to meet were the ones I didn't hang with much. Doesn't make someone a snob; it makes her overwhelmed in a short period of time.

This "us against them" mentality is silly. Aren't we all doing what we love? Are you making friends? Having fun? Who cares of Sue from Idaho doesn't return the comment you left her? PERHAPS SHE IS BUSY.

I can name the numbers of parties and meetings I didn't get invited to easily. But just because I got invited from "a friend of a friend" doesn't mean I couldn't enjoy myself. Were some of these people supposed to stand on a chair and make sure everyone heard it?

I can understand being hurt or snubbed. But, I feel that so many people were reading into things that weren't there. All in all, this is silly. It was a blogging conference. I hope you met people, had fun and had a break from real life for a weekend.

Mamma said...

For some reason, Blogger is not allowing me to reply to comments individually so I'm going to try and do so here.

Thank you all for your feedback. I appreciate everyone's perspective on my experience.

Just to clarify, what was bothering me was that I was noticing "groups" for the first time since I started blogging. That was something I never had considered before. I was noticing them as a result of the conference.

Yes, I said having groups does feel a bit like high school--and it did to me--but I was talking about my experience. My disappointment.

I realize after many of these comments that quite a few people were overwhelmed with the experience of BlogHer for one reason or another. I know now that I shouldn't presume a level of confidence on anyone's part. And I realize that I will be in a much different place next year.

I hesitated even writing this post for fear that people would make some of the assumptions they have, but alas I didn't successfully convey my point.

I am not blogging to get comments from certain people, I am not discounting the experiences of attendees and I do blog for myself.

Writing this post was a way to get through a block I was having on my blog. The minute it was off my chest I found things to blog about again.

Thanks for stopping by. Please understand, these are just my opinions.

Kelly said...

I really enjoyed this post. I didn't go to blogher this year, but I am planning on trying harder next year. I think if I go with the attitude that I'm going for the classes and self-improvement that might help me because I sure would hate to have misjudged the bloggers that I love to read. That would make me sad to find out that they're a bunch of a-holes.

As far are your disappointment is concerned, I've often felt the confusion over the "popular" bloggers. I hear people bragging about their greatness, go to their blog and start to read, and say now why are they so popular? And in reverse what I find to be my best writing is sometimes ignored and some of what I consider to be my "writing to get something out there" brings the most comments. I can't figure out the blogging world to save my life.

And it used to bug me, a lot.

But this year I've gone through some sort of shift. I just don't give a shit anymore. (Maybe because I'm getting so close to 40...) I like to write. And sometimes I'm good, and sometimes I suck. And I only feel obligated to comment if something someone writes reaches me somehow. And I really don't care who they are, how popular they are, and how long they've been blogging. If you write something that touches me, I'm going to send some love and a thank you on over to ya. And if you comment on my blog, and I don't know who your are...yes, I will check you out. But if your writing doesn't touch me somehow, well don't be offended but I probably won't comment. Doesn't mean that I don't love your comments, and I'm grateful that I've touched you somehow.

I mean for me that's what blogging is. It's a way to say what you think and to get some validation or not. It's a cathartic thing for me. And man, I'm far too lazy to jump on into the marketing side of blogging. So I'm just going to go with this attitude for a while. It's working for me.

And Momma Love...I hope it works for you too. Because your writing often touches me...especially my funny bone. So here in my long drawn out comment is some love.

Thanks!

BOSSY said...

Bossy thinks that most everyone felt the same at BlogHer: overwhelmed, a little shy, and sobered by the information (although not actually sober, oh no, not one bit.)

Bossy didn't feel the cliques or anything - or maybe that's just what she tells herself...

Anyway - great meeting you. Fer real.

Jodi said...

I'm sorry this happened to you. I actually have no interest in going to Blogher for this very reason.

Paige said...

I had heard about this sense of cliques through various people, though not in any great detail.

I did not go, after all.

But here's what I have to say about it: Keep doing what you're doing Mamma. Don't worry about the cliques. The rest will take care of itself.

Jordan said...

Hi...I'm new here, just subscribed recently, I wish I could even tell you how I made my way here, but I can't! It was after BlogHer but I know I didn't meet you personally. I live in Chicago but for various reasons missed the actual conference and only made it to a few parties!

I know what you mean, though. There were a few "blog celebrities" who were the bright and shining stars with long lines waiting to talk to them, and that felt a bit Prom Queen to me, even though there were a couple women I made an effort to meet as well.

The fun for me was that I didn't actually have a name tag, so people sort of had to introduce themselves to me, just IN CASE I was someone "important". So I just presented myself as if I am (which of course is true, just as we all are) and had some nice conversations with people that I might not have had if they'd seen my unknown name plastered to my chest! I highly recommend this. ;-)

Oh, and I hope you don't stop writing.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Wow... I'm soo happy I didn't go...
I would have felt totally insecure...
and I already feel insecure....

and getting a bunch of girls together.. forget it.... I would have hated it.....

I do think the blog world is VERY clicky...

I just have a small little group of "conservative" friends that I blog around with ... we all kind of have the same beliefs....

but I totally notice if someone never stops by my blog, especially if I go to theirs all the time.... I feel like they are totally dissing me (espeicially if I see their little faces all over the place...)
I am thinking of a couple people this second.

I am certainly not a eloquent writer... not one bit..
I just write about what's on my mind for that moment.

Peg said...

Maybe it's because of my feminist leanings, of my approach to the world, but I don't think women do each other any favors by knocking each other down...by judging each other because of their decisions...by setting themselves apart to feel better about the choices they have made. We only become stronger together if we support each other.

Yes, yes, yes. This is why I love you...in a bloggish way, of course! ;-)

Mamma, while I am a shitty commenter (sorry :D) I totally am a reader kind of reader. As in, my google reader is how I read people's blogs. That's in between all that other crap I call my lame little (non-BlogHer-going) life.

I don't dig clique-ish action, probably because when I was a HS girl, I was associated with the smoking/'head'/'druggie'/headbanger or whatever you call the "jean-jacket & high heel, lots of black eyeliner and smoking butts before during and after school" group of kids, type of crowd and actually felt like an outsider in that crowd, never mind the rest of my high school.

And now I'm that same girl, only I'm currently disguised as a suburban mom living in Podunk, with two kids who tell me, literally, that "You Rock, Mom!" and I do, LOL, or so I like to think...and I don't want to venture back into that abyss of the unknown, of the "Do they have time for me?" or if they actually appreciate the silly little words I put to paper.

And hell, I'm comment #59 on this blog entry, but you, Mamma...you, I know you are real, and you don't fall into that kind of BS. You, I want to meet (and I say that about very FEW bloggers that I come across, seriously). Because, bottom line? You are REAL.

This post is why I think that you rock too...And wait--you got to meet Slackermom? *sigh* Now I REALLY wish I had been there.

Kvetch said...

I'm here via Chicago Moms Blog...and I agree with you about BlogHer. I'm not a novice blogger but I have to keep it in perspective. There are cliques, and it's not just the mom bloggers. I inadvertently sat at the Food Bloggers table one day. YEESH - the looks I got - and no one was inclusive or overly friendly.

Melizzard said...

Interesting... thanks for sharing. The blogging world seems mostly populated by those who probably weren't the most popular kids anyway and yet they seem to re-create the same system that made them feel like outcasts to start with.

I sort of wish I had gone this year because I'm so new to blogging that I don't have a clue who is more popular than who and hopefully would have just been too stupid to care. A year from now I'll probably be much more aware of the hidden heirarchy.

That being said I think the Blogher organization as a whole has a little bit of high school attitude. I recently submitted my blog to their listings and was told to piss off - I haven't been around long enough to be considered worthy.

karrie said...

SJs comment made me realize what personally bothered me about the conference. Like Mamma, I did overhear and witness some catty remarks and bizarre behavior. I think insecurity was likely behind much of this--at least that is what I hope.

SJ, you asked Mamma if she made an effort to connect with a diverse section of the blogosphere. I cannot speak for her, but I did make an effort to talk with food bloggers, political bloggers, and travel bloggers. Yes, I have a child, but I've never fully felt 100% comfortable slapping on the mommyblogger label.

I write about all kinds of topics--food, travel and politics among them--and the pressure to identify yourself as _____ variety of blogger really rubbed me the wrong way. I cannot tell you how many times I had to mumble an explanation to people who wanted a quick way to label me. I understand the need to connect with like-minded people, but I also found that many people were no longer interested in talking with me once I refused to label myself.

I think that the labeling and pressure to identify your brand, is the driving force behind a lot of the seemingly clique-ish behavior in the blogosphere. I don't get it.

Izzy said...

It's funny how you can look at someone and get a totally different impression of things. Whenever I saw you, I honestly saw someone who seemed to be having a great time and enjoying the company of many friends. I do understand what you're saying. Social situations can be really weird and uncomfortable at times, even when nobody intends for it to be that way. While I'm mostly a floater type of person who prefers to move in and out of different groups, I still felt time-crunched and that I didn't get enough time with my old friends or to get to know newer ones.

I hope you will consider MommyCon in January/February of 2008 and I hope it will be the antidote to some of the things I keep reading about over and over like gigantic crowds and packed schedules and not enough time to really get to know people.

Here's the Yahoo group if you're interested:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/januarymommycon/

ali said...

as usual, rather late to the party...

just my $.02...i think the problem is that a place like blogher is just too overwhelming (i wasn't there...but that many people that i want to meet all in one place??? i'm overwhelmed just thinking about it!!)

i wonder how it would be if i'd gone. i consider myself a pretty small part of the mom-o-sphere (aka - not a popular blogger) and i don't really know any bloggers in real life (except a few of the awesome canadians)...i'll have to let you know next year!!!! :)

Lotta said...

There were def. a few times that I felt bruised by some other bloggers. Mostly when I thought I had a great connection with someone and then when we met I was the only one excited about the introduction.

But mostly I just kept my blinders on and stared straight ahead at the warm and welcoming women (like yourself) that were at BlogHer.

But I know that there must have been more of that bitchyness that I observed because I've read some post BlogHer dissections that slammed mommy bloggers and other "inferior" attendees. And to that I say Bite Me.

Alex Elliot said...

This is the best post I've read on the conference! I really enjoyed going to BlogHer. That being said, I've been blogging for less than a year and if I hadn't gone to the conference with friends from home, I wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much. Before BlogHer I considered myself to be just a blogger who was a mom. I wasn't "in the know" enough to know I was a mommy blogger. When I went to the mommyblogging session (I'm pretty sure I sat next you!) I was blown away by all the concerns that where brought up.

Jenny said...

I think women can be the meanest, cattiest, most nurturing, caring, terrible, wonderful people ever.

I totally get what you're saying and I feel the same way...but then I remind myself of the good in people and it keeps me going.

At least until some bitch pisses me off and then she's going to get cut.

PunditMom said...

Wow, I have to have a word with Karrie! And don't stop. I love your blog. I do hear what you're saying about that feeling, but I didn't know how much of that was my own left over insecurities from high school rearing their ugly heads.

OMSH said...

Mamma, Mamma, Mamma,

What you just said was the equivalent of my first experience at BlogHer. i came home feeling "small".

After my 2nd year, and recognizing some of the same faces, and deciding I would just toss my fears to the wind and engage, it was fabulous.

Of course, I went and roomed with a close friend, but still ... she was the only one I really "knew".

I do hope you decide to go again. I think that first year is a rough one.

Not sure about the highschool comparison. I didn't really feel that way. I was too busy wondering whether or not I was sucking in my stomach (and look at 1/2 the photos - I wasn't!). ;)

TG said...

Wow! I never considered going to BlogHer because I don't get a lot of traffic, I just really do it for myself. My circle of friends would not fit in at BlogHer because most of them are guys. I told my friend Michelle that if I could meet with other women who are similar to me and not catty like a lot of women are then I would consider. I'm not a Mom either so that really makes me different.

The thing is, I never fit in, in highschool and I'm still the same way in my 20's if I ever did begin to "fit in" then I would truly be discombobulated.

Stay true to yourself and keep writing!!!

There are cliques everwhere in life school, work, among circles of friends, the trick is finding the folks that you can be yourself with :)

Mama Luxe said...

I was not at BlogHer.

I thought it was a great post and I don't read it as a pity party at all. I read it as a just a twinge of sadness that BlogHer wasn't the utopia some were hoping it was going to be. That the blogosphere is the democratizing classless society and that BlogHer wasn't the empowering feminist force for which some were hoping.

People are people and out of insecurity or loneliness they will create cliques, some are intentional and enforced bitterly, while others are merely accidental and completely not malicious at all.

We don't really outgrow this and a large event, where things are overwhelming, will tend to send us back to these roles.

I read your post as saying that because of your attendance at BlogHer, you are noticing these things in the blogging community in a way you hadn't before.

JJK suggested some sort of interest group social mixer meetings to mix things up a little. I think the more ways you can get people to interact beyond the people they already know or know of, the closer it will come to meeting the ideal...although nothing is ever perfect.

margalit said...

Weeks after the fact I ran into your post and I did have a couple of things to say. First, I didn't go to Blogher and I highly doubt I'd ever go. I can't stand the whole high school thing, I'm 55 freaking years old and I'm not going back in time. It's bad enough that my kids are now doing high school and living through the angst. Once was enough.

Last year, it was even worse because the A list bloggers were all there, and there was this crazy angst about getting your picture taken licking Dooce or Mir or Melissa or some other big name blogger. It was RIDICULOUS. It was like they were superstars or something.

Then when people returned the blogs were filled of bad feelings. The mommy bloggers vs the non-mommys, the mommies vs the popular mommies. It was so disheartening I vowed then that Blogher wasn't for me. Ever.

But just this weekend I got together with a bunch of regional bloggers and it was fabulous. Not overwhelming at all. Plenty of good conversation, lots of insights from different people about blogging and about just being a part of this weird community of writers.

Maybe that's the answer. To start small and build up a community of your own with regional bloggers, so that when you go to another convention, you'll have your own crowd.

As an aside, something I've noticed, even in your comments, is that the A-list bloggers (Izzy, SJ) aren't ever gonna get it. At least you weren't stuck with some of the A listers from last year. Talk about enormous heads and not much talent.