Raise your hand if you've never said or done something you really wished you could take back.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The three of you who raised your hand, the ones who are either sainted, mute, or have lived alone in a cave all your life, you can put them down. Your prize is waiting for you over there - a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax and a map of the road to Righteousness. Sorry it's 2009, the GPS to the road to Righteousness.
As for the rest of us, we're human. We say dumb things. We DO dumb things. We have a finite amount of time on this earth to try and get things right but in the meantime we're stumbling around in the darkness, feeling our way along the path to being perfect, until St. Peter comes calling and we have to defend our lives in front of God and a choir of sparklingly clean angels with golden ringlets, floating on downy clouds. Or some shit like that. Feel free to insert your own dogma here.
This does not excuse us, however. It doesn't give us a free pass. When one has foot in mouth disease (as I do, and I was called on it this weekend and didn't do nearly enough bowing and scrapping) you learn to live with the nasty aftertaste. When we do something we dearly regret later, as we all have, we need to live with that memory forever.
Where it gets sticky is in the year 2009 we have this thing called The Internet. And The Internet never forgets.
As internet users and internet writers, we have the responsibility to use our words correctly, and in the presence of others we need to check ourselves because chances are there are people watching who aren't afraid to use their words. Words are mighty. Words are powerful. Things written or said - I'm not talking about specifics here - in jest or seriously can be judged and analyzed, blown out of proportion or taken in correct context. And those words that are said out loud or written will come back and hit you where [choose your deity] split you.
So whether your words are being directed toward a corporation or an individual person, keep in mind that you're not living in a bubble.
I don't judge. Like I said, I have occasional diarrhea-of-the-mouth attacks as well as someone-stop-me-from-being-a-dumbass syndrome. You did what you did because for the .02 seconds it took you to decide it seemed like a really good idea. We've all been there. You'll know better next time.
I guess what I'm trying to say, again without getting into specifics because chances are you know the specifics, is that from now on maybe we can start to remember that what we say, write or do is being watched by the world. And the world? It has access to The Internet and it's not afraid to use it.
This was not the post-BlogHer recap that I set out to write.
What I set out to write was all about the positive aspects of this conference from my perspective because for me there were more positive than negative. But after three different revisions and too many rewrites to count, this is what you got. So if you came here for links to the more unpleasant happenings, sorry. You're not getting them here.
But I'll be happy to tell you about what was good about BlogHer '09, as seen by little ol' moi:
I decided to stay away from the panels this year, not because I wasn't interested in what was being said there - to the contrary, I was very interested and wish there was more time - but because I was set on attending the Room of Their Own breakout sessions. And for the most part I was very happy with my choice. Most were very informative and the ones that weren't, well, at least they were entertaining.
The best party had nothing to do with swag, it had to do with friends getting together and dancing like damned fools. To the ladies at MamaPop: Best. Party. EVER. To quote your honorary gay boyfriend, it was legen - wait for it - dary.
My bags made it to Chicago and back and didn't get lost once. Wheeee!
I had a gracious roommate who tolerated my late night tiptoeing (so as not to wake her delectable baby) and genuinely enjoyed her company, if for no other reason than because she's damn funny and she made me laugh and I'd like to think I did the same for her.
I had great non-conference-sponsored meal conversations with wonderful women that both set the tone for my positive weekend experience and nicely wrapped it up (and please let me know if I didn't link to you because I really want to! I just can't deal with sorting through these business cards yet.), and shared cheesy bacon fries and mutual admiration with someone I expected to like, just not as much as I did. I'm now planning on abducting her and moving her into my home.
I approached a writer, who has long been a favorite of mine, after his moving keynote reading and at the risk of being a fan girl told him how much his writing touched me. I may have freaked him out but he didn't run away immediately, so there's that.
I spent quality time with someone who is becoming a cherished friend and met another who, though tiny enough to fit in my pocket, is a powerful force to be reckoned with and as genuine a person as you'll ever meet. Just don't try to get past her at a party.
I met my twin (okay, not in an outwardly physical way but trust me, twins.) and though we didn't spend enough time talking, we finally were able to speak face to face. And discussed the skunking of her dog. If I could I would take the train to her, rescue her from the stench and bring her to live at my house. I'm thinking of starting a commune.
I introduced myself to others I knew only by blog or Twitter name or avatar; in elevators, in bathrooms, in the hallways, just because. Shook hands and shared hugs, just because. Danced wildly, even though it's not my nature, and laughed hysterically, which is in my nature, just because. Was even coerced into going out to a nightclub at 2am (fer chrissake) against my better judgement and I'm glad I did, just because. But most important I made personal connections, just because I wanted to.
I talked with old friends and made new ones. Yes, the people in the computer are my friends. The gin was only a partial help because a majority of this was done during daylight hours.
All in all, swag or no swag, an experience I'm happy to remember over and over.
And now I need a nap.