AUTHOR: Marty, a.k.a. canape TITLE: Reconsidering the reasons DATE: 3/09/2009 10:47:00 AM ----- BODY:
BlogHer, the conference, is something I assumed I would attend this year. I've been twice now, and it helps me give credit to what I do here, and here, and here, and here.

The first year I attended, I roomed with an amazing woman and got to hang with some super cool bloggettes. It was validating to be around so many great writers and to learn more about the craft and the business. I was inspired.

Then I got a little busy having a baby and all. There wasn't as much time to do the reviews I had been doing for Props and Pans. I got tired of always being down and dragging my blog through the muck. I kept up with it, but only half-heartedly.

By the time summer came, I was feeling a little better about things and Little Bird and I took off for BlogHer once again. We met my momma there, and she helped watch after Bird while I attended the conference.

Here's the thing. I didn't feel connected. Most of the people I knew and had hung with the year before were all attending outside events that I didn't know about and wasn't part of. It's hard to say that without sounding like sour grapes, and you certainly can't say it right after the conference or people get terribly defensive, and you get labeled a whiner.

I'm not whining, I'm just stating some facts. Facts that have been influencing how I look at blogging. Besides, what affected me was not that I wasn't invited to events, it was that I wasn't missed. As in, no one noticed that I wasn't there or included. I felt invisible. Plus, I didn't get to visit with the people I really wanted to visit with because they were busy. With these other things. Maybe invisible isn't the word, maybe it's just disconnected.

I've been doing this for a few years now, and I know that "canape" is one of those names that illicits the, "Oh yeah, I've heard of her," response. I also know that I have a small (but fantabulous) readership. I'm okay with that. I will not find my fame and fortune with blogging. I never intended to.

There are bloggers on every level who I consider friends. They are terrific women who I'm humbled to have personal relationships with. The thing is, they have their own circles of friends, so even though I have friends, I don't have a group of friends. I've had this issue my whole life. I can be friends with a jock, a geek, a freak, and a brain, but I never have fit in with the whole group of jocks, geeks, freaks, or brains.

I stand alone, in the end. Always alone at some point or another, but yet never forever. I'm working on learning how to be a part of a group. There are some women who have been schooling me in that for about 18 months now. It's a good lesson to learn.

In the meantime though, there is the question of BlogHer. It has come down to this for me:
That is the bottom line. Do I value networking and the possiblity of making a few more connections over giving my family some much needed time off together? Do I really think that I can accomplish enough at BlogHer to justify choosing it over a week off with my boys?

I just don't think so.

Having said that, I am not against going with a sponsorship. If some company wants to pay my way and have me wear their name plastered on my behind, that would be alright with me. I think the conference is a wonderful thing, and if I end up there this year, I would do some things differently.

I would be a little more outgoing. I would find out ahead of time what was going on and when, and I would get myself included. Because in the end, most of the events surrounding the conference weren't exclusive - getting left out is way different than being excluded.

We'll see. For now though, I'm going to book that cabin in the Appalachians and look forward to some quiet summer days with my family.

And I'm going to keep writing and reading. Because that's what this is all about in the end.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Mrs. Chicken DATE:Monday, March 9, 2009 at 3:46:00 PM EDT I know exactly what you mean. I've never been and now I feel like maybe I don't want to be part of it, for all the reasons you've listed here.

Great post. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Misa Gracie DATE:Monday, March 9, 2009 at 3:46:00 PM EDT I'm right along with you on this one. I went to Blogher in the past and don't think I'll be shelling out the bucks this year - instead I'm taking a much needed vakay in Vancouver with my sister (who also went to Blogher with me in 07). I write because I love it. The end.

Enjoy the mountains! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Amy DATE:Monday, March 9, 2009 at 4:37:00 PM EDT I intended to go for the first time this year, but with the economy like it is, and me only a "hobby blogger," there is no way I can justify it. We too are planning a vacation around that time and it's what I would much rather do! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous gail DATE:Monday, March 9, 2009 at 5:18:00 PM EDT I've never been and the main reason I wanted to go was well, because you were. Now that I've met you, I don't want to go anymore.

I'm a tiny fish, a itty bitty one in a great big bloggy pond. I thought whoa, 19 comments, I'm a rockstar. Yeah not so much.

I wasn't ok with that for a long time.

Today? I am.

Only I wish you didn't stand alone. Or feel like you had to because you are and will always be a part of my group.

Misfit group that it is. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous @sweetbabboo DATE:Monday, March 9, 2009 at 10:50:00 PM EDT There was a time that I truly wanted to attend BlogHer, but not so much anymore. Blogging really seems to be an exclusive group (like the popular crowd) of which I'm just not part. And really, that's ok.

There was a period of time when I devoted hours and hours to trying to fit in... blogging daily, commenting constantly, basically working my butt off at this imaginary job. And the only thing all that hard work got me was stress. My stats didn't significantly increase, my comments didn't go up, etc. Instead, I was constantly stressed, constantly disappointed, and as a result not exactly a great mom or wife.

Now, I'm trying really hard to realistically define why I blog- to feel connected, and I'm pretty certain those connections aren't going to happen with most of my favorite bloggers at Blogher. It would be especially difficult as I tend to be a bit of a wallflower and am not apt to put myself out there.

Instead, I agree with you that I need to focus on these real-life achievable friendships and just continue to worship Kristen Chase and Kate Inglis from afar. At least I can find comfort in knowing some truly fantastic bloggers right here in the Triangle.

We can have our own little Blogher party at my place if you want. We'll call is Bah-her.

-Abby ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Bubblewench DATE:Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 6:52:00 AM EDT I have not been to Blogher, but I have to say, I wouldn't go either. It never even crossed my mind to attend. Not my cup of tea.

I would much rather spend the week in the mountains too. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Convertible Girl DATE:Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 7:45:00 AM EDT Thanks for including me in your list. Know the feeling of being in a group without really belonging. Hope you know you have a safe place in my little crowd any day. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous nikki DATE:Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 10:53:00 AM EDT In many ways I don't really feel like a blogger at all. I started A Small Song to keep family and friends updated on Abigail - and a year later, now, I'm almost 100% positive that not a single family member reads it, although many of our friends do. Most of my readership are people who followed me over from Livejournal, where I've kept a semi-locked journal since (really) 2001. Most of my online friendships were made via LJ. And although a ton of my LJ friends "blog" as well, I think most of us are still unsure exactly how to go about blogging, finding a real blog audience. We're not even sure if that's what we should want.

Blah blah blah Ginger, I guess what I'm saying is that at this point in my life, I would rather just write for me, and the small group of friends/whoever who read my blog, than worry about knowing or becoming one of the chosen few. And I'd like to cultivate real-life connections as well, so I dearly hope we can manage to meet up one of these days. Maybe now that cold/flu season is on the way out! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous whymommy DATE:Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 3:32:00 PM EDT Well, I, for one, will miss you there. But you know that. You also know whether you go to something like that or not would never affect our friendship.

I wish I'd known how you were feeling last year ... I thought you were just tired from not sleeping. I would have TOTALLY forcibly dragged you places had I known. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous No Minimom DATE:Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 7:30:00 PM EDT "As in, no one noticed that I wasn't there or included. I felt invisible."

This. I was gung ho about going this year since it's just a state away, but I know that I would feel just that way.

But know that I notice you and I think you're FABULOUS!! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Mem DATE:Tuesday, March 10, 2009 at 11:51:00 PM EDT so i'm that girl/woman too- never fit in but never alone... i've often wondered why that was... i'm glad to know i have a chum who is also friends with the geeks, the freaks, the cool kids, the drool kids, the brain... oh whatever i can't miminc your rhyme. you get me point. luv ya k ----- --------