This weekend has been all about cake. The 30+ bloggers who came to my house for the BlogHer meetup left quite a lot of food and half of it's cake! They arrived with laptops, silver toenail polish, gossip, and stories about past BlogHer conference. Hot topics: the conference; how to get conference tickets (enter the special offer contests!) WordPress vs. Blogger; making books from blogs; the food conference in San Francisco; April Rose; social media strategy case studies, and a blogger's relationship to comments and commenters.
Before the party I stalked everyone from the Evite, found their blogs, printed out screen shots of the blogs, and wrote Twitter names onto the printouts. We put them up on the wall with blue painter's tape. It was an impressive sight!
By making a wall of blogs, I hoped that people who didn't know anyone would feel especially welcome. Sort of like having a place card at a formal dinner, or a letter of introduction! Everyone enjoyed looking at the Wall, which I think made an impressive sight all clustered together.
If you'd like to follow a pack of Bay Area BlogHers, here's a list of meetup attendees:
Ana from Finding Bonggamom organized the party! She did a great writeup of the meetup,
bonggamom confessing that she volunteered to organize it partly as a relief from only going to little kids' parties for the past few years. Hey! She went to Maker Faire! She's a geek mom who loves books and science and sharing them with her kids. Next time I see Ana, we're going to have more to talk about than blogs because I love how she thinks about raising kids in geek culture.
Like Ana, Meggan from Meggans A Mom was happy to come to a grown-up party that didn't feature fish crackers and juice. She totally cracked me up as she described the heavenly feeling of being in the motel down the street from my house - all by herself - out by the pool with sunglasses on - and sleeping as long as she wanted! I have to say, if you have to be eating fish crackers at the park you probably couldn't find a better mom to do it with, because she has a hilarious take on parenting. Plus her son is an 18 month old badass.
Adina Levin's BookBlog is full of ideas & analysis of books, culture, music, politics, environmental issues, law, and technology - especially social media and social software; all sorts of good stuff. She tends to read nutty, crunchy, non-fiction when she does talk about books. Try What Twitter Won't Kill: RSS and cultural depth, or The Death of the Hit Narrative. I think of her blog as insightful and quirky, in fact I'd say vastly underrated in the realm of tech blogging. If you want to read the prolific thoughts of a hard core Silicon Valley geek going back to 2002, you should read her blog!
Wheelchair Dancer came, filling me with joy not just because it's so lovely not to be the only wheelchair user at a party, but because I love her blog so passionately and she's so much fun to talk with, overflowing with enthusiasm, kind of wild eyed and full of ideas, vivacious in every way. Plus, because she's an athlete and a dancer, she's graceful beyond belief, floating around like a crazy fairy or an elf or something. I can't imagine what it's like to see her actually dance, if that's just her normal state of hanging out. Oh, you think I'm exaggerating! Read what she says about Dancing in Your Bones, and for some fierceness along with grace, Piss On Pity. Wheelchair Dancer has one of the best blogs out there for intelligent, thoughtful writing on any subject she tackles.
I love how so many women from BlogHer are impossible to categorize. Stefania from CityMama and Momocrats, Susan Mernit, who writes about tech, culture, food, relationships, and social media; Elisa Camahort who's massively multiblogular with Elisa's Green Scene, SF Bay Style, and my favorite, Worker Bees; Robyn Roark from Who's the Boss and Silicon Valley Moms Blog, who is an expert in Feminist Politics, a fantastic cook, and a project manager for architects; and Abi Jones, Information Architect and Frozen Food Critic.
I also met Lia from Freitas Family Follies; Kimberly from Tippy Toes and Tantrums. Diana Orgain, who doesn't have a blog yet but who just wrote a series of mystery novels, "Maternal Instinct"; Jessica from It's My Life and her partner and two cute kids and who's writing a novel as well; Nicole Pelton from Not Just a Working Mom; Susan Etlinger who writes about parenting and autism, Jeanne and Karen from Periodic Elements of Style, a fashion blog; Rick Buchich who took great photos; and my corporate overladies (along with Elisa), Jory Des Jardines and Lisa Stone from Surfette.
Sabrina from The Daily Sabs will always be "the girl in the fantastic green dress who made the cherry cupcakes from scratch. Unfortunately people don't wear the same clothes every time I see them, nor do they carry cupcakes around with them all the time, so you see the problem when the conference hits with all 1200 of you people! How am I going to remember?
If you could all just wear your blog templates on your badges I would recognize y'all from that. Also? No sudden haircuts please!
Frivolity that shouldn't be left out: The popularity of silver toenail polish. The comic book reading and Nerf gun shooting by various children. And the way I sadistically made people drink "BlogHer-52s" which are just B-52s with an M&M in the bottom of a shot glass. (Recipe: Equal parts Kahlua, Bailey's, and Gran Marnier. One to three M&M's depending on sweet tooth.)
If we have another Bay Area BlogHer meetup, I'd love to have people introduce and tag themselves, and to make a big whiteboard and post-it-note area for people to put up something they want to learn, and something they can teach. Then, see what happens! But at this party, we didn't need an ice breaker activity; the vibe was so friendly.
And if you're going to be a newbie at the conference, I recommend you find some bloggers who will be there, read them, get to know them, and comment. The meetups were a great idea too for getting to know people first in a smaller environment. I'd love to host more, especially if I end up with all this pastry...
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