I'm home from Blogher 2012. It was - awesome and amazing and inspiring and above all
I got to NYC Wednesday. It was a hassle free day of travel, I got to the hotel, checked in and walked around the city for a while. I LOVE New York City. I found my favorite deli, grabbed lunch and went back to the room to unpack and rest. I had a meeting with the Blogher people to talk about the panel I was set to lead on Thursday - I was a speaker on the topic Technology Rocks Your Running Socks Off - and I plan to write a post about the panel later this week.
Here we are in all our glory.
Yes. I have my eyes closed. I was maybe thinking of something brilliant. Let's go with that.
The next two days, I was the room host for the Geek Bar. Geek Bar, for those who don't understand it, is similar to Apple's Geek Bar. Small sessions - like, really small, run by appointment, set up to help you understand or fix specific niches in your blogging.
Key word there is SMALL.
And this is what the crux of this post will cover.
The Geek Bar is very targeted. It's very niche, and so it's run differently than the rest of the conference. Any other panel you attend, you figure out where it is and just, you know, GO. You probably try to get there early because the rooms fill up and sometimes, they have to close because they are over fire code - so get there early. Geek bar has 8 slots. EIGHT. Maybe ten if the presenter feels that she can handle more, and one presenter told me to bring as many as I wanted - but the majority capped at eight.
6 panelists per session. Each 30 minute session presented twice per session slot - so six TOTAL sessions on Friday and 6 on Saturday. With 8 slots. The Geek Bar is a sign up offering. It went out in email to attendees. It was promoted on the website. You had 5 slots offered for advance sign ups, and we kept three back for walk ups.
But it was definitely promoted. I know, because I saw it - and I signed up for two of the Writing Labs - which are the writing cousin to the Geek Bar offering. So it was there. And this isn't the first time it's been this way. As far as I can remember, it's been this way.
Many, many people wanted to attend the Geek Bar sessions. We could have offered a dozen more on at least three of the topics and still turned people away.
I was the room host. I was in charge.
And I rapidly lost count of the number of women who screamed at me, who yelled ugly things, told me that I *ruined* their conference because I wouldn't let them into a session for which there was no opening, who told me that they'd *get* me, didn't I *know* WHO they were, and on and on.
One woman threatened me with physical abuse.
One woman told me she'd paid EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS to come to this conference and this was the only session she wanted to attend - and I'd RUINED her conference experience by not letting her in. One woman told me that she works 40 hours a week and doesn't have time to read emails sent to her by Blogher. Two asked for my cards in order to *turn me in*.
Over and over and over - I saw a sense of entitlement. An I'm super special, so much more special than anyone else attitude. A lack of thought for anyone else, a desire to be the only person who matters.
I get it. I do. I'm a special person. You are a special person. We are all special people, with quirks and foibles that make us unique and different.
But your special snowflakeness is not any more special than my special snowflakeness.
Yes. You paid a lot of money to come to the conference. So did I. So did each and every person in attendance. Yes. You gave up time with your family and your kids. I did as well. In fact, I gave up my entire conference to help run the Geek bar - I was scheduled to only host it on Friday, but by the third session we'd figured out how to streamline it - and I knew that if someone else came in to head it up on Saturday, it'd be a hot mess all over again - so I SKIPPED my sessions AND my writing labs - I snuck into about 15 minutes of the very last one and last minute facilitated a panel early Saturday - but, other than that, my conference experience was standing in a hall for 2 days being yelled at.
In fact, I missed much of the evening parties - because I was so wiped out that I went back to the hotel and went straight to bed. I can honestly say that I didn't see many people - unless you came to the Geek bar. THEN I saw you.
I worked really, really hard to try to get everyone in - and yes, it wasn't possible and yes, the first two sessions didn't run smoothly and I'm very so sorry that you didn't know you needed to sign up ahead of time and I tried, as best I could to not lose my cool and tried to understand that it just wasn't optimal for a bunch of people.
I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I have some great ideas for next year that I plan to share to make it run much more smoothly. I now know what needs to happen and what is not important. I'm excited to share that info and want to help make the Geek Bar AWESOME.
At the conference, I overheard women harrassing hotel staff and event staff for having the AUDACITY to check badges. I saw women yell at hotel staff for food that wasn't to their liking, for running out of preferred beverage of choice, for closing rooms that were a fire hazard, for trying to keep order from chaos.
We had horrific travel delays on Sunday. The entire US did. Over and over, I watched as people tore into gate attendees, screamed and yelled and bullied their way through a quagmire of mess - and sometimes, that kind of behavior is necessary.
It's a topic for later this week.
But.This is today's message.
You are a special person whose specialness is no more important than my specialness. And my specialness doesn't overshadow yours.
And yours doesn't overshadow anyone elses.