The BlogHer08 Conference was touted as an opportunity to mingle and chat, and it was. And it was, to a point. During the early part of the Newbie party, I strolled from group to group asking about other bloggers and their blogs.We handed out and collected “Moo cards,” which are miniature business cards inscribed with our blog name.
Once the official conference began; however, things changed. Round tables were arranged around the ballroom to make it easier to talk to others at our tables and learn more about their lives; what it’s like to live in Vancouver, Canada, apparently one of the geek capitals of the world, or Alaska, with the challenges and pleasures of worldwide social networking. What about all these folks from Ohio? What about their families, their friends? What was important to them? Can I see joy or sorrow in their eyes, in their facial expressions, in how they wave their hands and point their fingers while telling a story? What makes them laugh? What do they feel strongly about? How hard was it to leave children or their jobs or their homes to travel all this way to attend this conference?
Guess I’ll have to read their blogs. The round tables, usually so conducive to group discussion, were instead electronic carousels of laptop lids. Instead of faces, I was greeted by Dell, Apple and HP logos. Where you would expect to see the open glance of a stranger welcoming your approach (“Good morning,” etc) there was just downward stares at glowing computer monitors. If the participants weren’t tapping at their computer keyboards, they were texting on their phones, eyes flicking from one gadget to another to stay in touch with their own network instead of the one gathering around them.
There were hellos here and there, brief flutters of conversation as computers booted up and Twitter screens appeared. But it seems social priorities bow toward electronic conversation over those held in “real time.”
Several other women of my age genre commented on this too. Maybe it’s a generational thing, we mused. I had my laptop with me too but was not planning on using it during the sessions, preferring my paper notebook and using the computer to organize my thoughts of the day later in my room. And I don’t have a cool phone.
On the other hand, this was a BLOGGER CONFERENCE so my expectations were probably off. But as much as I enjoyed myself and all that I learned about blogging, I am a teeny bit sad about it, to tell you the truth. I think I missed something, or someone.
Guess I’ll just blog about it.