This past Saturday, at 1:56 a.m., I posted a Facebook update letting my friends know that I had cross-published my response to Katherine Rosman’s article in the WSJ on my BlogHer.com page, with this caption:
I published my blog post on BlogHer.com. If you haven’t had a chance to comment yet, I’d love you to share your thoughts either on my post or on BlogHer.com. I found my cause, people. This is what I’m passionate about, this is what gets my heart beating faster – the business of blogging!
Writing that post really fired me up, people. I barely consider anything I posted last year to be a worthy blog post, and trust me, I’m not proud of that. When this year started, I gave myself a pass and started really thinking a lot about why I started blogging in the first place, what I wanted people to know about me when they come here, and what I want to remember about blogging when I’m too old to do it.
My reaction to Rosman’s article surprised even me, because I hadn’t felt a fire in my belly like that in, well, ever. I don’t really have a “cause” like a lot of people do, but I knew as soon as I read the article that I had to respond. NO ONE was going to disparage my blogging community and get away with it, because I truly, deeply care about bloggers. Really, I do. If someone tells me they’re a blogger, I feel an instant connection, the way I imagine musicians and actors and dancers and athletes feel when they meet someone who does what they do.
So, imagine my surprise when I got my first comment on that status update, from a fellow mom blogger who wanted me to know that she thought the WSJ article was accurate, that mommy bloggers can’t be taken seriously when “all they do” at conferences is drink, and that we aren’t in college so we should act like adults. And then she ended with this:
I literally log off the internet for the few weeks breceding (sic) blogher and the weeks afterwards. It’s my way of not exploding over the embarassment (sic) I feel for all you silly mommies.
Oh. Oh lady, you don’t get to post that on my wall and walk away. edited to add: I’m not going to name the person here because I don’t want her coming here to attack me. If you go to my Facebook page and scroll back to Saturday, it should be easy to figure out who it was.
My reply was that her comment wasn’t fair, that I am NOT a “silly mommy”. I’m a hard working woman who happens to have children. I go to BlogHer to network and reconnect with my longtime friends, and make new ones. Then after thinking for a minute, I decided to let her have it, which is totally not like me at all, but dammit, I’m not going to have someone assume that the only reason to go to BlogHer was to squee and drink, when I know that I personally work 14 hour days for four days in a row on little sleep, and if I want a drink after that, so what? This was my reply:
And to suggest that cutting loose with friends equals being in college, well, that’s just plain ridiculous. I get a few days a year when I can say “sure, I’ll have a cocktail, thanks” and not worry that one of my kids will wake up puking or something. I might be 46, but I feel 26 inside, so if that means that after a few cocktails, I pose for a photo with my arms flung around the women that mean almost as much to me as my actual family? SO THE FUCK WHAT. I didn’t realize that adults aren’t allowed to make their own choices. I never said in my post that the article is wrong about what goes on there, I just said that there was a much better story that the Wall Street Journal, a BUSINESS paper, could have focused on. I never honestly thought I’d have to explain this to other women, either.
Her follow-up comment then took a weird turn, as she then went on to tell me that BlogHer “doesn’t welcome handicapped women” (which is just plain NOT TRUE AT ALL), and that since she went to lots of professional conferences that don’t involve parties, drinking, and free swag, that she’s a much better person than any women who go to BlogHer. She then went on to say nothing she had said was untrue, I just didn’t want to admit “the truth”.
So I posted a new update that said I was surprised to have just learned that BlogHer doesn’t welcome handicapped women according to what this commenter had “heard”, that my head was about to explode. And she came to that thread with another comment, so I posted a third update, and she came there too. It was surreal.
By the time she called me a hypocrite and asked if I was TOO CHICKEN to face the “truth” about BlogHer conferences, my head was spinning.
And then came the cavalry. I had three DM windows open with friends wanting to know what the hell was going on, I had friends jumping on the threads to defend me, people saying really sweet things about me. A friend who has dealt with this woman personally even jumped in and told her it was time to go away and leave me alone.
The lesson I’ve taken away from all of this is that taking the time for personal interaction on Facebook is absolutely worth it. It’s a lot easier to just run through your news feed “liking” things, but taking the time to comment lets people know that you think of them as someone you’d like to talk to, even if it’s just through their Facebook updates. What starts out as “your kids are so cute!” and “love that dress on you” can lead to “can I ask for your opinion on this?” and “do you have a problem with this too?”, and then you aren’t just “Facebook friends”, you become friend friends.
Which could come in handy when a woman well known for attacking people online decides to come after you. As for the friends who came to my aid, THANK YOU. It meant more to me than I can say to realize that other bloggers were going to stand behind me. I still mean what I said in that original blog post, but now I’m telling everyone – if you think BlogHer is only about parties and drinking and swag, come to a conference with me and see that it’s about so much more than that.
Sure, there are parties and drinking and swag, but there are also friendships. There are people I see for literally one or two minutes every year, some I only see every few years, but they feel just as much like friends as anyone. Bloggers have a bond, and spending four days commiserating over swollen feet and excitedly sharing new information and everything else we do just seals that bond tighter.
If you have my back, I have yours. Plain and simple.
- In Which I Invite Katherine Rosman of the WSJ to Attend BlogHer 13 With Me (table4five.net)
- BlogHer to WSJ: Here’s the Rest of the Story About Blogging Business Trips (blogher.com)
- BlogHer, BlogHim, BlogEveryone! (creativebloggingsp13.wordpress.com)