Yesterday I provided an overview of the sort of activities and events on offer at the BlogHer ’12 conference. (In case you didn’t catch my earlier posts, I’ve also shared some reflections on the people of BlogHer ’12, as well as thoughts on what I’d do differently next time.) Today I thought I’d follow up with a few of my own personal experiences and impressions of my weekend at the conference.
Help! I’m surrounded by bloggers!
Even in these enlightened days I run into plenty of people who have no (or only a vague) idea of what exactly blogging is, and even when they do understand the concept, they have no idea why one would choose to engage in such an activity. While I’m always happy to explain or answer questions about blogging, one of the reasons I enjoyed myself so much this weekend, I think, is simply because I was surrounded by other bloggers!
It was a great experience to be in the company of thousands of people who already know the whys and wherefores of blogging life, with whom you could speak in a sort of insider shorthand. It was freeing (and time-saving!) to be able to jump right into conversation about the finer points of what we do and collaborate on how to do it better without the need for laborious introductory explanations and rationale.
No time for shyness
I’d mentioned before I left for the conference that I was worried about my shyness taking over, but I’m incredibly pleased to say that that wasn’t the case. I’m not sure if it was because I’d dealt with the possibility and prepared myself beforehand, or because of supportive words from family and friends, or because my fellow conference attendees were so welcoming and the event so solidly programmed that there was no need or time for shyness… or perhaps some combination of the above! Regardless of the reason (or reasons), however, I’m really happy to say that at no time did I feel out of place, nor did my wallflower tendencies come to the forefront.
Actually, part of my success in that area quite possibly had to do with the fact that apart from the three sessions on both Friday and Saturday, much of my time was spent hanging out with my roomie at the other events. It was really nice, I found, to have a friend there as a sort of “home base” so that I didn’t feel completely alone and lost. Plus, I find it’s always easier to meet new people as a twosome rather than on my own (particularly if my companion is much more outgoing than I!). Still, even when I was on my own during the sessions, or wandering alone through the Expo halls, I found that my shyness wasn’t particularly an issue as nearly everyone took the opportunity to immediately introduce themselves to me as soon as I sat down beside them or approached their booth!
A sense of community
Throughout the entire weekend I was impressed time and time again by the sense of community that pervaded the event. It was amazing to me that so many individuals with such divergent backgrounds, interests, experiences, and outlooks could be brought together as a cohesive whole. The image that persisted in my mind was of each blogger as a unique and beautiful piece of fabric, with blogging as the thread that stitched us all together into a gorgeous (and useful!) patchwork quilt.
Room for everyone
I was also struck by the realization that in the blogging world, there really are no limits or barriers. Every one of us has a unique voice, every one of us has a platform from which to speak should we choose to do so, and every one of us has control over how we manage our opportunities. Not once during the weekend at BlogHer ’12 did I get a sense of bloggers competing or vying for position, because in the blogging world there is room for everyone.
What an amazing gift!
I’m sure that in the weeks and months to come I’ll have more to say as I reflect on this amazing experience… but in the meantime, please let me know if you have any unanswered questions or wish to share your own experiences with BlogHer ’12. I’d love to hear from you!
Then, it’s on to planning for BlogHer ’13!