When Bloggers Leave the House, They Have To Wear Pants
This was an original post for LA Moms Blog on January 7, 2010. SV Moms Blog was acquired by Technorati, so I publish my archives here on Fridays.
I started blogging in 2004 “since you had to chisel your thoughts into rocks that were just shaped like computers.” Nobody knew what a blog was and we bloggers perched on the edge of our desk chairs and a new wave of communication and media. I was pregnant with my first child unemployed alone in my house all day while my husband and all my friends were at work. Little did I know that free time like that would become an elusive pipe dream only months into the future. At the time however it was my prison. Bloated and exhausted unable to do much toward the end of my pregnancy I turned to the internet as so many women have done in the years since I first started House of Prince. Through my blog I could connect with the outside world without ever changing out of my comfy comfy pajamas.
Back then there were little or no corporate sponsorships. Affiliate ads did not show up on blog sidebars. Heather Armstrong was a funny woman with a baby and a blog, not yet a name so famous she was an answer on Jeopardy. There were simply blogs and I naturally gravitated to the ones about pregnancy and early motherhood since that was the life change I was experiencing at the time. But there were others. I read a blog by a cranky fat guy in Missouri who regularly skewered Notre Dame football. And a blog by a cowboy in Virginia who raised goats and five children. The “mommy blogs,” as they came to be called became my mainstay, however. I found kindred spirits in the smart, funny, eloquent women who shared so many of my particular circumstances despite their different locations.
And that’s how it went for a few years. I’d blog, I’d read other blogs, I formed friendships online with other people scattered about the world. When we first started meeting in real life it was like a series of blind dates. I remember driving to meet a blogger I discovered who lived right near me. We were meeting for coffee with our babies who were still young enough to hang out in their strollers but old enough to get fussy and loudly proclaim their displeasure after just a little while. I carefully chose my outfit – I wanted to make sure I looked put together but not like I had tried too hard. I hadn’t needed to worry because she was so nice and funny that the meeting was easy and fun. That kind of thing kept happening. I knew these women before I ever met them and when we were lucky enough to meet face to face we reached deeper levels of understanding each other.
As we often say in the mom blogging world, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Certainly when groups of people who are comfortable behind their computer screen get together in larger groups there’s bound to be an awkward moment or twenty. Or personalities that clash in real life after getting along just fine through carefully worded posts and comments. And then the conferences – forget about it. Thousands of bloggers piled into one building? The concept is overwhelming in every way. My first conference was last July and after several years of watching this subculture evolve I found that in real life it was so different than how I had imagined it years ago. Maybe that’s because it had grown so much before I got a chance to see it before my eyes.
Now there are so many conferences for bloggers it makes my head spin. There are corporate-paid blogger events all over the world that facilitate our meeting in person. In Los Angeles a blogger with the right associations can attend an event every day and every night it seems. I’ve attended my share of them and I’ve found what works for me and what exhausts me. I’m not 25 anymore. Mama gets tired.
But all that hard partying in the name of networking and wag has brought me the best reward of all: true friendships with people I may never have met if we didn’t somehow have a connection with each other online. I have wonderful business contacts, partnerships, and now employers who value my writing and the reach of my personal audience.
It is comical to attend a blogger event and see many of the people there huddled in the corner with their computers or staring into their iPhones but I get it. At the very root of it we’re just geeks who express ourselves most comfortably with our keyboards. But it’s so nice to know we’re not alone.
I’ll be at BlogHer ’12 this weekend, celebrating this hobby-turned-career, seeing friends, meeting new people, and hopefully learning something. Find me at the Serenity Suite on Saturday night from 9-11pm (Hilton room 4246), where we can just sit calmly and talk together.Pin It