Monday, July 21, 2008

Camp Blogher

At one am, one of my roommates was sure she was done with blogging, the other was hatching plans for a new venture. I was still reeling from the conference, trying to decide what to make of it.

Debbie called Blogher the blog prom. To me the two days felt something more like summer camp. As kids, Karen and I both went to sleep away camp. When I talk to other people who had been “camp” kids, I hear the same stories about the experience, whether it was a camp organized around kayaking, one run by the girl scouts or for Jewish youth. It is an intense experience; days feel like weeks, and weeks contain years. Friendships are forged, feelings are hurt, dramas rage, are discussed, analyzed and forgotten in the face of new dramas. Sleep is forgone, nerves fray, people declare themselves and remake themselves daily.

Gwen and her favorite blogger enjoy a SF cab ride

As with camp, I enjoyed it and hated it in equal measure. In the session on infertility, adoption and loss, I listened to women speak and felt in synch with them. Over the course of the weekend I met several women who I genuinely enjoyed getting to know, with whom I want to continue friendships across time and space.

I also felt confused and a bit put off by the structure of the event. As a blogger with a small readership, I am not expecting to monetize my blog, I do not hope to get a book deal or even a paid writing gig. I did not need to network in the way that people do when their business is at stake, when working the room can affect their careers.

my old bunk was never this swank

At lunch on Thursday, Karen asked what I wanted out of the weekend. I could not really answer. Sitting in the airport waiting for a delayed plane, I still don’t know. As with camp, I leave exhausted and overstimulated. Unlike those years that I came home from camp with a pile of dirty clothes and a slight sunburn, unpacking is not accompanied by an immediate nostalgia for the days past and a hopeful excitement for next year.

But maybe that's just because I am no longer 14. 


  1. It was nice to meet you at Blogher! xo

  2. i don't think i'll be back to blogher. that vibe of which you speak? i've spent too much time trying to move past it.

    that's not to say there weren't some wonderful women there.

    and i found a new blogger to read -- you.

    i've always been wary of women in groups. the dynamic brings out a meanness that can be breathtaking.

    negative much, sarah? heh.

    i'm sorry i didn't get to talk with you more.

  3. I am finding that reading all these posts about BlogHer and the reaction of most of the people leads me to believe many are just ready to move past that kind of group dynamic.

    I didn't go... and wouldn't. I'm too old to deal with the BS :)

  4. I'm *so* glad you included a photo our new little blogger friend.

  5. I kind of know what you mean. What i got out of the weekend was unexpected, and for me what meant the most was meeting bloggers like you. Bloggers that blog just for themselves and not the ad revenue. Sometimes I feel like I get a bit off track, you know?

    Anyway. I would like to see more fun for more people at the conference. If only I was in charge...

  6. Hello, NLG.

    I'm so glad you came to our panel session, and I'm glad you felt at home because that was kind of the point.

    I, too, had a hard time with the return by my psyche to junior high, where I did not feel popular.

    Like your photos.

  7. I didn't happen to meet you at BlogHer, though I was there. I found you the old-fashioned way...through a friend's ("Crunchy") blogroll. I liked the name of your blog.

    I've gone to all the BlogHer conferences (I live in the Bay Area so it's easier), but I also had some mixed feelings about this one.

    It seems to be getting harder, not easier, to meet people at BlogHer. Feels too much like the first week at a new high school.

    I'm not really interested in "pumping up" my traffic, or "monetizing" (how I hate that word!) my blog. Just not into the celebrity blogger thing. I've tended take the techie-wannabe track, but there wasn't much of that this year.

    The "beautiful blogging" session was pretty good, and the "Shutter Sisters" photo walk was a good idea. Hey, at least I got a couple photos I liked.