BlogHer ’09

A lot can change in one year. For instance, if one year ago someone had mentioned BlogHer ’09 to me, I would have been totally clueless. My response would have been along the lines of, “BlogHer? What the hell is BlogHer? Leave me alone, I have to check my Facebook!”  Yes, it was approximately one year ago that I dipped my toe into the social media pond and joined Facebook. One year ago I was still in the honeymoon phase of Facebook, when Facebook was fun, not like Facebook now which is lame and aggravating. Somehow Facebook led to joining Twitter which in turn led to the creation of this very blog.

Twitter has introduced me to many friendly, funny and creative people so it’s no surprise that these people have funny, creative and moving blogs.  And it’s through Twitter that I learned that once a year these bloggers get together for a conference devoted to the blogosphere and everything blog-related –  BlogHer.  As the date of BlogHer ’09 got closer, more and more people were tweeting about it. All of this BlogHer talk peaked my curiosity. Maybe I could partake in some of the BlogHer fun, after all, BlogHer ’09 was going to be held in Chicago – Chicago is practically my backyard (that is, if your yard was 25 miles away from your house).   I really wanted to meet in real life the people I follow on Twitter as well as the authors of the blogs I read, but my attempts to procure any type of pass to BlogHer was an epic fail.  I contemplated driving down to Chicago without a BlogHer ticket to just hang out in the lobby of the Sheraton hoping that I’d meet people.  But I figured real BlogHers would be busy doing scheduled BlogHer activities and hanging out in the lobby without a BlogHer pass would be make me a creepy loser wanna-be BlogHer stalker and someone might call security on me.  So I stayed home and lived vicariously through the tweets of others.  I learned a lot about BlogHer including some of the BlogHer lingo: 

BlogHer ’09:  Attended by around 1400 bloggers, this 3 day blogging conference in Chicago at the Sheraton was complete with interesting speakers, discussion groups and opportunities meet with some of the brands that support bloggers.  Oh, and there are lots and lots of parties. 

Swag: free stuff

Bewbs: breasts

Parties: Did I mention there were a lot of parties?

Squee: I’m still not sure what it means to squee.

Reading the tweets from BlogHer I realized that I didn’t belong there. BlogHer is for the blogging community, a community that I’m not part of. Yes, I have a blog, but I have a hard time keeping up with it. I have more drafts than actual posts and I can’t seem to find the time to complete them. So many of the BlogHer attendees balance work and family while maintaining successful blogs that people want to read.  This balance has eluded me, resulting in a small and insignificant blog written by a  small and insignificant blogger. And I’m not sure if BlogHer is the place for a blogger like me. 

As I was reading BlogHer tweets thinking about how there’s no way I could possibly be a part of this blogging community, I received an unexpected tweet.  One of my “in real life” friends, a real social media goddess, had gone to BlogHer for the day and she tweeted:

Key learning (not kidding) is @drlori71 can legitimately call herself a humor blogger. Seriously, you should read her Loripalooza blog.

Me? A legitimate blogger? Well, I wasn’t sure if I agreed with that, but it sure was nice to hear. Plus, it’s not polite to reject unsolicited flattery and giant boosts to the ego, so I gladly accepted it.  Yet, I still found it odd that someone could consider me a legitimate blogger.  But maybe BlogHer ’09  could help me realize my blogging potential.  One thing I learned from BlogHer ’09 is inspiration; the BlogHer attendees have  inspired me to work harder on my blog and really make an effort to post more frequently.  So if one person thinks of me as a legitimate blogger, maybe others will too and I’ll be an accepted member of the blogging community. 

And maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll make it to BlogHer.

And maybe one day the Cubs will make it to the World Series.

Will either of these things actually happen? We’ll just wait and see.

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Brother Can You Spare A…..Oops, Never Mind!

I don’t get much traffic to my blog.  This is probably because I only average about one post a month.  A handful of friends follow my blog and if I happen to promote a new post on Twitter, some of my Twitter followers may check it out.  Sometimes after reading my blog, my fans readers feel compelled to comment.  Every blogger loves to get comments and if they tell you they don’t care about comments, they’re full of crap not telling the truth.  Who doesn’t want some positive reinforcement and appreciation for their hard work?  A simple comment like “Great post” really makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside and inspires you to keep writing.  Every once in a while, a total stranger will stumble upon my blog.  Such was the case in March 2009 when I posted “Brother Can You Spare A Dime?”.  The post was about a high school senior named Rachel who dreamed of attending college at Notre Dame but couldn’t afford it.  To solve her financial dilemma, she created a web page and started seeking donations to help her pay for college.  This post was my brilliant humorous take on the topic of cyberbegging.

(In case you missed it, read it here:  http://loripaloozablog.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/brother-can-you-spare-a-dime/  )

The stranger who found my blog was named Christina.  After reading my award-worthy amusing post, she left me a comment.  

Just stumbled upon this blog last night via twitter and while I usually don’t comment on things I disagree with on the web (if you can’t say anything nice…), I felt compelled to come back.

Wait a minute!  This wasn’t the usual “Great post” or “You’re a great writer – you could be the next Michael Crichton Joel Stein” comment.  The praise and flattery had to be coming in Christina’s next paragraph, right?  Wrong!  Instead of stroking my ego, Christina punched my ego in the gut.  She attacked questioned my character and insinuated that I was a horrible human being…at least until the last sentence of her comment.

Sorry for the rant – I’m sure you’re a good person and physician.

Despite the warm and fuzzy ending, I still felt like this was a negative comment.  My first negative comment.  I am very open to criticism and feedback but in this case I felt like Christina misinterpreted my post.  Having accidentally discovered my blog, Christina wasn’t familiar with my style.  My posts are humorous, bordering on silly and shouldn’t be taken seriously.  In fact, one of the tags for this particular post was “humor”, but Christina obviously missed that. 

Usually I don’t care what people think of me, but it really bothered me that Christina had this misconception of me.  I wasn’t sure what proper blogger etiquette was for responding to negative comments.  Was I supposed to comment back on my own blog?  How could I be sure that Christina would revisit my blog and see my comment?  So instead of commenting on my blog, I emailed her.  It was a very cordial email in which I thanked her for reading my post and for the feedback. I explained that she took my post a little too literally and that my blog should not be taken very seriously because quite often I write with the maturity of a 4 year old.  I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email reply from Christina.  Her email was very friendly and she thanked me for emailing to clarify the questions she had regarding my character.  But more importantly, she shared a piece of information that was very relevant to my “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” post.  This news, which I had not heard prior to Christina’s email, was fascinating.

Rachel, the girl featured in the post, did not get accepted to Notre Dame. 

She was DENIED

<Gasp!>

<Uncontrollable laughter!>

Wow, what an embarrassing turn of events.  When she created her web site and started cyberbegging, Rachel was very quick to alert both the local and national media.  Her story made headlines in newspapers and was seen all over television.  Where’s the media coverage now?  Where were all the stories about her rejection?  Apparently, Rachel wasn’t shouting the news of her denial from the highest mountaintops (gosh, imagine that).  Since she forgot to notify the media, I wanted to verify the Notre Dame rejection story by checking her web page.  Sure enough, it was true – she was not accepted to her dream college, Notre Dame.   She thanked everyone who sent her a donation and said she would be returning all of the money that she collected.   

This certainly has been some riveting reading, wouldn’t you agree? I’d say we learned some very important lessons today. Let’s review!

Lesson #1:  Don’t count your chickens before they hatch 

This lesson is a classic. An oldie but goodie.  Even my 6 year old knows not to count his chickens before they hatch – literally. Last month his kindergarten class had a unit on chicks. The class received 24 eggs and patiently waited for them hatch.  Only 5 of the 24 eggs actually hatched.  Although there were only 5 chicks, my son wasn’t disappointed because he was told at the start of the chick unit that 24 eggs would not necessarily result in 24 chicks.  (He was also told that the 19 eggs that didn’t hatch were “taken to a farm” – he was not told about omelet day in the teacher’s lounge). Very few things in life are guaranteed 100% and this includes being admitted to the college of your choice (I won’t even comment on the University of Illinois and the current admission & political clout scandal…maybe in a future post….oh, who am I kidding, I’ll never get around to writing that one).  It was stupid a mistake for Rachel to start soliciting donations for tuition at Notre Dame before she had an actual acceptance letter in hand.  No one would ever fathom writing a check for tuition before being admitted to a college, so why would a person start begging for that tuition money before they’re even a student at that university?  In retrospect, I’m sure Rachel realizes her mistake and will likely never forget lesson #1.

Lesson #2:  I am an incredibly talented writer.  

Lesson #3: What may seem like a negative, may truly be a positive. 

When she received her rejection letter from Notre Dame, Rachel probably felt like it was the worst thing that ever happened to her.  But my guess is that years from now Rachel will realize that not getting into Notre Dame was actually the best thing to ever happen to her.  Once the initial shock of denial wears off, Rachel will find another fine university to attend (one that she was actually accepted to) and have a wonderful college experience.  Chances are, the tuition at the college she picks will be less than tuition at Notre Dame, so she may not bankrupt her parents – another positive!

When Christina commented on my blog, I thought it was a negative comment. But if it hadn’t been for her negative comment, I would have never learned about Rachel’s rejection from Notre Dame.  Out of that negative came a positive – this blog post.  Well, it’s my opinion that this post is a positive, you may feel otherwise.  And if you do disagree with me, feel free to make a negative comment.  But be forewarned, your negative comment may end up as the subject of my next post….oh, who am I kidding, I’ll never get around to writing that post!