“Own it.”

August 11, 2009

Her words haunt me, echoing through my mind, looking for a place to stay, to settle, to make their own.

I know there is meaning there, and depth, and that all will be revealed once I truly grasp it, but for now I struggle still, wondering if this is really what she meant, if there really is beauty and peace in accepting responsibility for one’s actions, for one’s wishes, for one’s limitations.

Her words were liberating when I heard them, and have been challenging me ever since.

I’ve been doing something else challenging the past few days, something that I’ll tell you all about on Friday, but suffice it to say that it’s been something difficult for me to do. Something that takes going out in public and putting myself out there again. Meeting new people who don’t know me, and ask innocently, “What happened to your arm?” (or rudely: “What did you do to yourself?”) Walking back in pathways I’ve walked before, but as a different person now. Finding myself in places that I knew I’d be again, but with a totally different perspective. It’s wonderful and scary and liberating and a little freaky all at the same time.

I didn’t expect it to be. I expected it to be simple, straightforward, a step back to what I know I can do. But, after all that has transpired over the past 5 years, I find that I’m a different person now.  I care about different things. I value connections on a different level.  Not more, not less.  Just … different.

And as I walk back into that room, I have to stop myself from apologizing or temporizing.  I have to walk in there, bandaged arm, different life, and all, and … well … own it.  This is my life now.  This is who I am.

This is who I am.

Sponsorships at BlogHer

August 1, 2009

There’s been a lot of talk about this on Marketing Bloggers’ websites and on BlogHer itself, so I won’t belabor the point, but there is one thing that I have to get off my chest.

The thing that bothered me most about some of the sponsorships this year at BlogHer was how their sponsorships sort of took over the bloggers’ personalities. I talked to two sponsor-t-shirt-wearing bloggers in the elevator once and never got to find out who THEY were, just who their sponsor was and why I should care. (They didn’t ask me about my blog either.) That’s not why I came to BlogHer.  I came to BlogHer to find out about YOU.  To meet YOU.  To hug YOU.  When I left, I was overwhelmed by the prevalence of product and the controversies swirling around, verbally, and on twitter.

Last year, I was underwhelmed by the huge number of bloggers dying to get into the review product game, working like crazy for coupons.  I was disappointed, because I felt that the bloggers were selling themselves short — you are worth more than coupons, I wanted to tell them — but this year coupons have turned to sponsorships, and the money is out there.  There is money out there.

The question is, what is money buying?

If you spend much of the conference pushing product, are YOU getting what you came for?  Did you get to go to the sessions, hear from amazing women, have quiet conversations with those who you had celebrated, laughed, cried, and hoped with over the year(s) you’ve been reading their blog(s)?  I hope you did.  If sponsors made it possible for you to come when otherwise you couldn’t, I hope that their expectations — and your feelings of duty — didn’t keep you from getting what you came for.  I think there’s a balance to be had here, and I hope that all the talk this week is helping us as a community find that balance.  I hope that we remember why we’re in this — for whatever reasons each of us are in this — and that we can stay true to our purpose, even as we (many of us) seek to be compensated for our work.

Let’s not let sponsors take over the conversation.

Twitter changed BlogHer

July 27, 2009

BlogHer09 is over.  The conference weekend (was it only a weekend?) has come and gone, and now we’re each left to sift through the conference detrius that remains:  programs, business cards, ads, coupons, swag, more swag, ads that came with swag, and memories.  We’re each alone with our thoughts as the mania subsides.  The “we” is over, at least for a time, and we must sit with the “I,” forming our afterthoughts, asking questions like, “What did I think of BlogHer?  What did I get out of it, and who did I meet that I want to see/read/tweet with again?”

This is not that post for me.  It’s still bouncing around inside, and I’m conflicted on so many topics.  It was … different this year.  It wasn’t the bigger expo hall, the sponsored lunches (complete with a giant pasta jar made out of vegetables), more company mascots (Ms. Potato Head, the SoBe lizard, and not one, but TWO All laundry fairies), the costumes (at BowlHer and SparkleCorn), the private swag parties (I didn’t go to any), or the mania that ensued.

The difference was twitter.

Last year, I was a laptop girl, dutifully setting it up in each conference panel, taking notes, bookmarking sites, contributing to wikis, and otherwise taking action on ideas real-time.  This year, I left it at home (too heavy!) and brought my new iPhone.  It changed things completely.  Even thought I went to the same number of sessions (all of them), the same number of parties (the ones open to all), and met many of the same people (hello, you!), it was … different.

Here’s my top 5 list of how Twitter changed BlogHer, in no particular order (aside from the order I tweeted as I thought of them):

1. Tweeting key points made sessions more interactive.

2. By listening to #blogher09 backchannel, I could hear the best of other sessions too.

3. Party prep excitement was shared with everyone with Internet.

4. People heard exactly what they were being left out of … While it was happening.

5. What may have been intended as a whisper was broadcast worldwide.

Twitter enabled me to meet people I wouldn’t have found organically (by saying, hi! where are you standing? when shall we meet up?), but it also enabled a whole new level of disenchantment and rumors.  Overall, I’d use a conference backchannel again — but I’d take it with many more grains of salt — and I’d force myself to wait longer before reacting or retweeting.

How did Twitter change your conference experience?

You are beautiful

June 29, 2009

I know that everyone around these parts of the blogosphere is all shredding, and EA-activing, and Wii-fitting, and getting HASAY in time for BlogHer, but I just have one thing to say, and I’d like you to hear me out.

You are beautiful, just the way you are.

You are.  You may not see it when you look in the mirror, but think how amazing and wonderful your body is, to work in just the right ways, at just the right times.  It may not be the size or shape that you’d want it to be, but I’m willing to bet that it works, and that is worth more a lot more than fitting into some swimsuit.

But if you’re still all worried about that swimsuit?  Come swimming with me at BlogHer Saturday or Sunday morning.  I’ll be there, in all my imperfection, but I’ll be enjoying that beautiful pool that overlooks the lake.

Why should I let an imperfect body stop me from enjoying my weekend?