Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Coming Out of the Fog: BlogHer 2008, San Francisco

There is so much to tell I can hardly get my brain around it all. But here goes anyway...

I have tons of notes about syndication and search engine optimization, as well as great video blogging recommendations made by Amber of Capessa and Cathy from seesmic. Plus I got some invaluable tips on tags from a girl named Esther whose My Space page tracking her weight loss was so popular that she was hired by Weight Watchers as some sort of internet guru!

The parties were fantastic! The newbie party on Thursday night was great getting to meet other first time attendees. I guess we accounted for something like 56% of the group. I got to meet Mocha Momma and yes, I did make an ass out of myself by pointing and running over all the while repeating oh-my-God-that's-Mocha-Momma! The whole time I was hopping over to her, her eyes were getting wider and wider going "oh crap, who is this and how can I hide?" (Way to be cool, Shoog... way to be cool...) I told her I was Sugar and she remembered my posts on her site. She seemed relieved that I wasn't some crazy stalker freak... or maybe she still thought I was, but either way, she graciously invited me over to her table where I met the funniest prego at all of BlogHer, Mel the Stay at Aum Mom. I also met Bossy and Average Jane that night. It was pretty surreal, I must say. You might have heard that the People's Party was fun, but really really loud. It WAS! There was a funny little bucket for your extra drink tickets. I say funny because it just sat there all night, kind of empty. Not many people giving up the drink tickets... haha!

But my favorite was definitely Friday night at Ruby Skye, hosted by TNT, more specifically for The Closer and Saving Grace. FYI: TNT gives great swag. I was greeted at that party with a rousing SHOOOGGAAAHHH by Kristy Sammis, the kick-assiest Event Manager in all creation. If you ever meet her, ask her about her pants. The atmosphere inside was hoppin' swanky, but not so much that you wouldn't over hear the best line of the night: "Oklahoma's the new black, Bitch!" (Would the funniest blogger in OK please get in touch with me?!)

It was a good night to laugh after the heaviness of that afternoon.

The first ever Community Keynote on Friday before the party was a group of twenty bloggers whose posts were voted on to be read on stage by their authors. Two of the ladies really hit close to home for me. One would do anything to avoid being anything like her mother, even at the risk of her own sanity. The other who had such severe depression during her pregnancy that... well, you can read her story yourself . Another lovely woman wrote a letter to her face that was so poignant. Very touching. All of these stories made me cry, but also made my heart soar to see and hear the beauty of the human spirit.(searching links... check back soon...)

Saturday was a continuation of great information and education, kicked off by a great roundtable hosted by MSN about SEO. Each of us left with a new handy dandy web cam! Thanks Ani the Excel Diva and Sarah (a kick butt coder for Findable Blogs) for all that great info! But I think the highlight that morning was definitely the Kumbaya room, otherwise known as the Beutiful Blogging session hosted by Kyran Pittman. Let me just say that I did NOT want to leave that room! I was amazed at the awesome things women were doing to propogate goodness in the world through this medium. Many of their ideas that started in the blogoshpere have manifested into the physical world affecting positive change in such great ways. I seriously felt like I had gone to church. I could NOT stop crying... Check these people out, please: Square Girl with Hope Revolution, Lucrecer with Art Slam, Alysa with Just Cause It, and Jen at One Plus Two. Plus another woman who was in the room in spirit, Jen Lemen. I was lucky enough to meet her later that afternoon while she was doing some video for PBS. By the way... Thanks PBS for my kids stack o'swag. They love their stuff!

I took some time to decompress and missed a session to walk around and go inside my head for a while. I got back to the hotel in time for my massage at the spa suite. Then it was off to the Shutter Sisters Photo Walk. In all the hussle and bussle, I forgot to change lenses. So where I would normally be using my macro lens, I was forced to look further away for interesting images with my 200mm. I think this is why I didn't even realize that the lady I was taking shoe pictures with was aka Little Purple Cow, one of my original photo blogging heroes. So, seriously, Stephanie... do those shoes make me look fat? haha... Only one thing I would add to that experience would be an "after party." As if we needed any more parties, right? But it would have been nice to talk longer with Tracy Clark, Karen from Chookooloonks and a cool chick named Nelly from New York. Did anyone else want to call her Nelly Furtado??

I was technically on my own this trip, but not alone. Anytime I wanted, I could look up and find another thirty something lady with a nose piercing and big spectactles carrying a camera and just strike up a conversation. I could look across just about any room I was in and find a familiar face from one of our awesome sessions. No, I was definitely NOT alone. Saturday night's party at Macy's was a blast, but under all the fun (along withe scaring Julio and talking Armen's ear off) I was already feeling a bit wistful knowing that I would be leaving the next day. I didn't want to leave that vibe. I wanted to hold on to the euphoria of finding common ground, I suppose. Not like I totally bonded with 999 other women, but you get what I mean don't you? Anyway, it was sad waking up Sunday morning knowing that I didn't have any reason to go back to the hotel. It was all over. I laid on my sister's couch and teared up wondering where I was going to ever really feel that sense of belonging again? And then I thought...

Duh, Sugar... in the blogs!


There is so much more, like meeting Rocco DiSpirito... sort of... I'm sure the memories will come back in fits and bursts as all the alcohol and pasta leave my system and as I unpack all the swag and free t-shirts. I will say definitely go if you can next year. It's well worth every last penny. And if the Reach tour goes anywhere near you, and I mean even a neighboring state, I'd highly recommend sucking up the gas prices and heading on over to it. I doubt you will in any way be let down.

Thanks again BlogHer for such an eventful event and such memorable memories!


Oh, and if you are wondering, I did NOT make an ass out of myself by getting carted away from Dooce's suite. A) she wasn't staying at the hotel, and B) I got a picture with her instead:


jomama said...

wow, what a great post! blogher sounds amazing. i can't wait to read those posts that you talked about, especially the one from the woman who was severely depressed while pregnant...
thanks for the recap for those of us who weren't there!

Ann said...

You got DOOCED you HOT MOMMA you! Look at you! Loved reading about it, you captured it beautifully, felt like I was there - hooked arm-in-arm, ready to get in trouble with you. COOL. Sounded fabulous, rewarding, fulfilling, WORTH IT. Grand!

Now get that webcam hooked UP and let's see some live SHHHOOOOOG! :)

smiles4u said...

Sounds like an awesome time! It is always hard going back home or back to normal life after something like that. I am glad that you got so much out of your time there and look forward to hearing more about it.

Rowena said...

Man, I am so sad I couldn't be there. I would have loved to meet you and all the other great bloggers I have met virtually. I swear, next year will be the one. I really really want to go.

I should start planning now, it may take me that long to get it together.

Velveteen Mind - Megan said...

So glad you came to The People's Party. We completely underestimated how popular it would be, so yeah, it got really loud really fast.

And I swear that "drop your unused drink tickets" bucket was a huge hit. The problem was that people were stalking the bucket, so as soon as people dropped tickets into it, there was someone there to snatch the ticket right back out.

We'll need Bill Gates and Oprah to sponsor the party next year. Totally caught off guard. But seriously so much fun!

Average Jane said...

It was great meeting you! I wish I'd be in photo-taking mode at the time, but I kind of forgot until the last evening.

Jenny, Crash Test Mommy said...

Great recap Sugar! You are an absolute doll and I'm glad to have met you at Ruby Skye.

Wish I would have joined you for the Photo Walk . . . too many great session choices.

How did I miss the Extra Drink Coupon Bucket at the People's Party??!!

I said it once and I'll say it again -- Oklahoma IS the new black. Bitch. ;)

Talk soon.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Wow - what a great time! I will try to be there next year - I think it would be a blast. BTW - I LOVE that picture of you (the one with Dooce - (does she ever smile??). The only pic I've ever seen of you (up until now) is that little sideways photo of you. :-)

I'm so glad you had fun!

Armen said...

It was so great to meet you and spend some time chatting. :)

Naomi said...

sounds you like you had a blast! must've been great to runaway and take a vacation from your real life and travel to some surreal world of your blogosphere friends. if i knew any bloggers from jersey...heck the east coast even! ..i'd totally have everyone over to drinks. glad you had fun and got home safe.

Lela said...

I am so so SO jealous. Wish I could have been there. And the way you describe it, sounds like maybe next year I ought to be. But only if you promise to let me get my picture taken with YOU!