I had pretty much resigned myself to not writing another post about Blogher. I went and I'm actually starting to get Blogher burnout*. But a topic keeps coming up and I find I can't resist putting in my two cents.
I have now read several posts and countless tweets about all of the nasty behavior surrounding the procurement of swag and frankly, y'all, I'm tired of it. I never once saw someone push someone to get at the swag. Never once did I hear someone say they were only there for the swag. Never once did I see someone be rude to one of the vendors or people handing out swag at parties.
Am I unobservant? I don't think so. I was at a number of the parties, attended all sessions and visited the expo hall. Did I see people crowded around swag tables? Yes. But from everything I could see, it was a generally well-mannered group of women. Perhaps the reason I didn't see any of this stuff is because I myself did not run to the swag tables. Or because I didn't surround myself with people who were "only there for the swag."
I suspect that these stories, like so many, are more urban myth than fact. A victim of the telephone game wherein a story (maybe even a true one) takes on mythic proportions by its hundredth retelling. I heard from soandso that her friend saw someone run over a litter of kittens and then use their dead carcasses as projectiles to get other attendees away from the table, just to get a kiwi spoon. Do I think that there were a few bad apples among us? Of course. It would be unreasonable to think otherwise in a group as large as that, but if you take nothing else away from my post, take this: that behavior in NO WAY defines my experience in Chicago.
Here is what I did see at Blogher:
- Women (and a few men) squealing and hugging.
- Excited conversations as friendships were made or renewed.
- The clinking of glasses. (Maybe too much.)
- Ogling the big bloggers, wishing you had the nerve to go up and talk to them, not because you were afraid they would be mean but because you were afraid you wouldn't be able to form a coherent sentence.
- Actually going up and talking to your blog idols. Knees knocking and hands shaking and finding that they were as kind and friendly in person as they were on the computer screen.
- Many, many, many photos taken.
- So much laughter. It was a cacophony and it was glorious.
Was Blogher perfect? No way. I have my complaints and they are substantive. Will I be back? I don't know. But believe me when I tell you, that decision has NOTHING to do with the swag.
*Unless, of course, you write complimentary posts or post flattering pictures of me. In which case, keep 'em coming!