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No high school flashbacks here.

2007-08-08 - 3:56 p.m.

Okay, so I followed a link to this site where the author implied that BlogHer was like a high school and, “There were cliques. There was a hierarchy. There were snarky comments and "once over" gazes.”

To this I have to say, “What?”

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that my experience was not like that does not invalidate her viewpoint or experience at all. And maybe I was just oblivious to this sort of stuff and it really did happen, but frankly, this is the kind of obliviousness that I welcome.

Thinking about it, yes, there were people there that obviously knew each other and sure, they spent time hanging out with each other… but if you live scattered across the country from your friends and you’re all at the same place at the same time, wouldn’t you want to spend some time hanging out and catching up? I would. I did. And I loved it. And the people I made a point of meeting/meeting up with might be big name or might not, but that wasn’t the point.

Meeting people online is amazing – you can find people who are funny and interesting, and maybe have a lot in common with you, or maybe don’t but that just makes them even more interesting to talk to – but the drawback is that you often don’t get to put a name or even a voice to the person on the monitor. Opportunities for doing so are, understandably, rare. So hey, carpe diem.

My experience? I found people both friendly and approachable – from the few “big names” I recognized, through the people who may be big but whom I’d never heard of, on down to others like me with a very tiny select elite readership. There was the usual mix of those who talk to strangers and those who don’t, but I attributed that to personality, and not to the level of “blogfame” a person enjoyed.

I think that, overall, I found a good balance of catching up with people I already “knew” but had never met face-to-face, meeting ‘n mingling with new people, and also finding moments of “alone” time to regroup, even if sometimes it moments of being alone in a crowd.

I didn’t feel neglected if I wasn’t talking to people every minute, but I need to not be “on” every minute, and I’m pretty independent: in my true “clubbing” days I went out by myself almost every single weekend (sober, by the way) for more than an entire year (this ended when I met my husband and found someone I wanted to spend time with more than I wanted to dance). And if someone wanted to come with me it wasn’t as good because I felt I had to hang with them and entertain them and generally be responsible for their good time. Going by myself meant I could dance all night, take breaks only when I wanted to, and talk to anyone who seemed interesting.

Of course, I had a core group of “bar buddies” I got to know at “my” bar, who were kind of like my home base. And at BlogHer I had a similar group which functioned as touchstone on which to ground myself, in between sending out pseudopods to explore the kaleidoscope of new faces and ideas.

Now, for someone who might have lacked what they needed to feel comfy and happy at BlogHer, or maybe for someone with expectations of the event that weren’t met (and I really had no idea what to expect, which might have worked in my favour), I could see maybe having a different perception of the whole thing. But my vote? Nope, didn’t really see that whole “clique” thing around me.

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