How I Feel About Meeting Bloggers In Person
I wonder how much of what I'm about to say will ring a bell with you... Well, we shall see won't we? So. I love connecting both online and in person. I enjoy both almost equally, though when I'm feeling a bit anti-social the online thing really works for me - its bunny slippers, yoga pants and my laptop all the way and I can pretty much roll with that for days. But there is this thing about being together in person, isn't there?
When I started blogging over 7 years ago as a profession (gulp! still hard to type that word), in-person connecting was a lot more difficult and creepy even - I remember a blogger calling my home in 2006 and I was totally freaked out by it - and I gave her my phone number and it was still freaky to me that she actually used it! I think the general assumption back then was that loners, drifters and rapists were creeping around online and everyone was doing some major posing including us bloggers - we were lumped into that poser crowd too. Most weren't too keen on connecting outside of the comments section of a blog. Can I see a show of hands if you remember this time online at all?
Do you remember when (insert air quotes) "Social Networking" wasn't even a phrase yet? Blog conferences weren't on the map, Facebook was unheard of and Twitter wasn't around yet. In fact, most people didn't even know or care what a blog was. I remember pitching story ideas to magazine editors in America - I wanted to write about how I felt blogging was an up-and-coming trend and every single editor declared my story idea as totally brainless. One top editor of a very well known magazine hung up on me after saying, "Bloggers will never amount to anything". Today SHE has a blog.
Things got real. Thank god. We little guys had a voice and spoke up. Good on us. And while there are still some people out there who think like this guy, that all bloggers are pretty much self-conscious, I'm hear to say NOT TRUE. I met lots of you on my book tour and when I'm out teaching and wow, I love you guys MORE after meeting you so I tend to feel really good about bloggers overall and think we have a really good thing going on.
Today blogs are going strong and people use them as a resource more than ever. But wayyyy beyond that, we use blogs to make genuine connections and build some of those connections into friendships because it's what friendship is really all about - you find someone you like and start to talk and boom! things start to grow.
In a way, blogging has become an online dating service without the cheesy walks-on-the-beach bios. With a blog, you can build friendships. These friendships can be quite one-sided but then again, not always. You find a blog you like and start reading it. Maybe you get the courage to comment. Maybe the blogger comments back. Your arm hairs stand on end if you're new to blogging because it's this blind leap of friendship that you've taken and in your head, it was scary to reach out to a total stranger like that. Maybe she likes you too? Maybe she also reads your blog? It's like the beginning stages of dating, right? Girl finds blog. Girl reads blog. Girl wants more.
I believe there is a blog for everyone, often multiple blogs. There are so many bloggers that you can pick from when you need a virtual friend. Have you always wanted a perky and creative pal who seems to be eternally on uppers? The blog world has 'em. Have you always wanted a friend who simply gets your obsession with colored paperclips? Bloggers abound with similar leanings, including washi-tape addicts, balloon addicts and bunting addicts. Do you wish more of the moms in your local community would talk candidly about their messed up, whacked out family life or insane children? TONS of those women are online writing blogs and they are witty, intelligent and often over-sharing at alarming rates. When you find a blog with that sparkle - that energy that you're looking for, it can be totally rockin'. Am I right or am I right? But it's a whole 'nother level when these people you click with online become actual friends exchanging emails and tweets. You start talking about your cramps, baby making issues, boy problems and the racy novels you've been reading.
Then there is this moment during the whole blogger friendship thing where you just want to meet your favorite blogger. In the blogging world, it's common to hear the phrase, "I have a total girl crush on x", which is a non-sexual (or? ha ha!) term that pretty much means you think such-and-such blogger is someone you either aspire to be, secretly want to stalk, wish you could meet, wish you could be besties with, but generally it doesn't mean you want to shower together. A girl crush is a very innocent way of saying that someone makes your life a bit more lovely, that this person inspires you and that you would do almost anything to meet them. It also means that if they lived down the street from you, you'd do some serious drive bys.
Thanks to workshops, meet ups, classes, blog conferences and events we CAN connect. I've taught thousands of mostly women online for over three years in my e-course and these ladies stay in touch, some of them organizing frequent meet-ups in their cities. It inspires ME so much when I hear that my students are meeting, connecting, building relationships that go beyond the occasional blog comment. Opportunities to meet fellow bloggers are everywhere now and we can only expect more to come because people want to connect with their girl crushes. I don't think for one minute that women are pouring into these events solely based on learning. Most of us can refer to a slew of free stuff on the web or buy a book to learn how to set up a blog. We want personal experiences on topics we're curious to learn more about by those lovely blogger friends of ours that we admire. We also want to see if our girl crush was really worth burning our lunch breaks for each day over the past few years. AND when she is, your heart pounds and you shake her hand IN PERSON and OH.MY.GAWD.
Just add water. Insta-friends! Weeee! We love this stuff. Everyone wants to belong to something greater and blogging connects us.We all need a good girl crush (or 10) don't we? These women (and men) inspire us and sharing, touching a life, connecting, offering love and kindness, lending advice, isn't this what most of us are blogging for in the first place?
Think about it if you are a blogger who has been writing online long before the fame (ha ha HA), long before the money (a-hem) from your ads or the possibly of people buying anything from your shop or finding out about other ways you make money, long before all of the sticky stuff - when you strip it all away don't you really just blog for the sake of connecting and sharing? I do. Beyond the gain I've have from a career standpoint, the impact of being out here, with all of you, that this has had on my life is pretty massive and I am eternally grateful that we have this community. Here's to the girl crush! Hurray!
Okay so all of these words above were directly inspired by a recent post that I read on Melanie Biehle's blog, Inward Facing Girl, about an event in Seattle held recently called Girl Crush started by The Jealous Curator . Girl Crush events are unfolding in different parts of the US now thanks to The Jealous Curator and if you want to go to one, you totally can - just see her blog for more info.
What do you think of meeting bloggers in person? Who have you met? Did you feel more connected after meeting them when you read their blogs? Did anyone disappoint you (please don't say who) and if so, why was that? Would you attend an event to meet other bloggers or do you not really have an interest in meeting up? (images: melanie biehle)