Have you heard? Not everyone had an awesome time at BlogHer. A thousand women in one place and not every single person had the time of their life (I can't not think of Dirty Dancing when I say "time of my life", can you?).
I'm not going to link to anyone's complaints in particular because everyone is entitled to voice their feelings in their own space without someone calling them out. But, I will say that Lindsay summed up her opinion nicely here.
Here's the thing: I agree with those people.
I don't disbelieve for a minute that they arrived at BlogHer fully intending on having a great time with their internet friends. Instead, they realized that maybe they didn't have as many friends as they thought. In fact, maybe they weren't their friends at all. They were ready for a weekend of basking in the glory of their internet-ness and instead found themselves wandering the banquet room with their plate of food looking for a table of familiar, or even welcoming, faces and thought "My God. I paid money to go back to high school".
On my panel at BlogHer (which, by the way, was like blogging in real time -- except a little unnerving when I was trying to make a point and saw a sea of confused faces staring back at me and wanted to ask Jory "Um, can I save my argument to drafts and come back later?") I asserted that the blogosphere can feel like high school.
Catherine argued that blogging is not like high school, as there is no active exclusion. My response to that was that blogging only feels like high school to those who are left out.
But, it's not just the blogosphere or BlogHer conventions, is it? It is a fact of life. I can't tell you how many baby showers, Passion parties, Pampered Chef parties, Creative Memories get-togethers I have been to where I spent a perfectly nice Saturday afternoon balancing a paper plate on my knees filled with wieners on a toothpick wishing I could disappear between the couch cushions.
Did it mean that there was something wrong with the party? Did it mean the other women hated me? Did it mean there was something wrong with me?
No, because for every bad social experience there's a great one I rocked. (And I have the tattoos and Polaroids to prove it.)
I think the difference with BlogHer is that we expect the convention to be a physical manifestation of our blog. We expect to get the same warm fuzzy ego strokes we get in the comfort of our own little blog home. When you're writing on your blog, you're on stage. And I admit it is difficult to step off of that stage. It's difficult to leave the accolades of your inbox and walk into a crowd of 1,000 people and expect to feel the same comfort level.
For some, it is good old fashioned shyness and insecurity. Which mixes with a large group of women like oil and water.
For others, I think it is just the realization that our little corners of the internet universe do not translate to real life the way we expect them to.
And for the rest, I think it's a matter of leaving the ego at home.
Life may sometimes feel like high school, but the good news is that we're big girls now.
Now, the real question: Am I just saying this because I happened to have a great time?
I could have written about how one blogger said to me in my own room during my own party "Cheeky Lotus? Never heard of you. What big bloggers are here?". I could tell you about the blogger who pretended to return a pencil in a lame attempt to escape a conversation with me. I could tell you about last year's BlogHer, which was not so much fun.
But, I'm not. If 30 has taught me anything, it's not to take myself too seriously. Because I had a bag full of cheeseburgers and hilarious friends around me. And I suggest next year, you do the same.