One month later ... my BlogHer '13 memoir.
It's been a month since I attended the BlogHer '13 conference in Chicago. Procrastination award goes to (thumbs in) this gal. My brain filled up at an alarming rate -- like bubbles in a beaker -- so many words to get out! Inspiration! Motivation! Amazing writers everywhere around me! Brainsplosion! It was a serious chemical reaction set off by the bold and effervescent ingredients of simply being at BlogHer. While I won't give the Martinelli play-by-play in its chronological and in order of appearance credits, I will spell out the bold and effervescent ingredients that had me using the phrase "game-changer" repeatedly in BlogHer's wake.
1. The Serenity Suite + Twitter
I had no idea what I was doing at BlogHer. I have my personal blog, which has been scattered in its aim and post frequency. And I have the gDiapers blog, which is a project that I want to do better. And so I was off to a conference to try to make some sense out of both of those things. I had little agenda except to see what this was all about, to meet some blogger friends in person, and to search for new voices to woo as guest bloggers. My flight wasn't going to get in in time for me to go to the opening events at the conference hall. So I got to my hotel room and I turned to twitter. I searched simply "#blogher13". Quickly I saw a tweet that included #blogher13 and #serenitysuite. So I searched #serenitysuite and found a recent thread of tweets saying to come to room # whateveritwas and say hi. I timidly tweeted back something like #reallycanicometo? And got a pleasant response that yes, all were welcome! I threw on some deodorant and headed out the door. I was warmly nervous, like when you're about to jump off rocks into a swimming hole, which you've done before, but now your bladder is telling you the time might not be best, but then you shrug and go in anyway cause you know you can pee in the river. Yes you can.
I found the right room. Thankfully it had a sign outside that said "serenity suite", so I was at least fairly confident I wasn't about to be abducted by a tricky tweetster. I poked my head in. What did I say? Probably hello. Or "Serenity NOW!!!". More likely hello. There was a smattering of ladies lounging on the floor, in chairs, milling about eating chocolate and cheesy popcorn. The chit chat started off small and awkward, but rapidly gained momentum and soon we were howling at a story told by Heather, who writes the blog The Extraordinary Ordinary. And then Kimberly of Red Shutters loaned (accidentally gave) me a pen. And Cheryl of Busy Since Birth had us break the ice with some introductions, though we quickly got distracted and abandoned them (sorry Cheryl!). And Sarah of Bluegrass Redhead pulled out a pic of the world's most perfect pink prom dress and her wearing zombie makeup and the whole room swooned. I was in love. I pulled out PugHer, my daughter's stuffed pug in the kittycat nightgown, and I captured the scene so as to remember it forevah. My BlogHer Origins began in The Serenity Suite courtesy of Twitter and Heather's inviting tweets. And I wrapped up the weekend there as well, with baby gawking thanks to the kind uterus contribution of Melissa of Peanut Butter in my Hair. And a Candy Crush confessional with Ellie of One Crafty Mother. Ugh. #fishshakecandycrush
2. Familiar + Faces
|this guy rocks.|
|pug on over here, kim.|
Now that I had legitimately met bloggers with human names and faces, I felt at home. I journeyed downstairs to the opening night cocktail hour alongside my new conference buddy, the zombie prom queen. Crammed into the hotel lobby bar was a swarm of dolled up and dressed down bloggers, one of whom I actually recognized and I was 73% confident she might know who I was, too. That partial confidence couldn't outweigh the urge to blurt out "Hi Kim! It's me, Kelli, from gDiapers" thereby succinctly smooshing together both my personal and corporate social identities. Kim (of Let Me Start By Saying and "I Just Want to Pee Alone") either actually really recognized me or is alarmingly responsive at the game of sympathetic play-along. Moments later and I got a text from my daddy blogger friend, James, impressively known as The Rock Father. He was on his way over to the party. I was so giddy it was like I was on The Muppet Show and I just got invited to do a duet with Kermit. Amidst this sea of socially familiar faces and brand new faces from The Serenity Suite, I began to collect interactive tidbits. This wasn't your normal networking event. The kind where it's what can you do for me and if nothing then get out of the way. This felt like friendship. Like storytelling. Like summer camp. Conversations were happening around me that were filled with hilarity, depth, and a common tie of a passion for writing.