In case you haven’t been able to tell, I’m all about meeting people from the internet. Naturally, I would be the one to organize an event based off of the very idea. I am just glad that Jen agreed to be the backbone of my crazy idea. Even through all of the planning, it never really hit me that it was actually going to happen until I filled up my tank, stocked up on smokes, and hopped on I-10 heading West. A direction I have never driven before. I even made a Vine on the road.
I arrived in Austin, TX alone after a long, but enjoyable 6 hour drive. I love to drive. It’s relaxing to me as long as I don’t get lost. I take one wrong exit and you would swear I just launched myself into outer space without an oxygen tank. I don’t think the La Quinta Inn was ready for me. As I stepped out of my SUV and started to unload my stuff onto a luggage cart, shoes, lanyards, and toiletries were falling everywhere. It was like my luggage sprung a leak.
“Well, I’m here.” I thought.
I didn’t waste much time doodling in the hotel room, as I was ready to meet up with Jen so we could slap each other in the face as a reality check ritual. Little did I know, she had already explored Austin, met up with one of our speakers, Julian Gallo, and played with some bats. Cool. I’m late!
This would be a recurring theme. For some reason I felt totally under prepared the entire weekend.
Walking down Congress, I was looking around waiting for Jen to pop out of the woodwork, or one of the many hipster shops rather. Soon, I came to the restaurant we were to meet. I was right across the street from it. And there they were. Jen and Julian, and in deep conversation too by the looks of it. I thought about jay running directly to them, but I figured it might be best for me to refrain from breaking laws before meeting the rest of the attendees. A few times I actually waved thinking I had made eye contact, only to embarrass myself when I realized I hadn’t.
Too be honest, I was a little more nervous about walking down the wrong street and getting lost, than meeting everyone in person. I’m awkward as fuck on the phone, sure. I don’t enjoy giving speeches, no. But I don’t get nervous to meet people one on one. I’m totally cool and put together. Unless they are nervous. Then it’s like catching poison ivy when you haven’t been outside yet. Confusing.
Regardless of nerves, when I saw the set up that 508 Tequila Bar created for us, I got a huge surge of proud feelings. I knew we had done it right. It only got better after that first night. I don’t think we could have planned this thing better, and I think everyone there meshed in an amazing way. Friendships blasted into hyper mode. It went a step beyond networking. I think they call it bonding.
Jen’s composure and eyebrows wowed me. It was mesmerizing to listen to Jullian talk about pretty much anything. I enjoyed giggling in the bathroom with Michelle as she nonchalantly wiped the counters after washing her hands. Chiara and I snuggled in our La Quinta bed after the speaker session, entertaining ourselves with nothing but some 711 candy and lottery scratchers. I fell in love with John and his wife Lisa who have to be the cutest couple in the history of the internet. So many moments go through my head when I think of the weekend.
Unfortunately, I did have one hang up about the event… me.
I recognized the fact that I had lost touch with much of the blogging community well before BI but way too late for my liking. When I was buzzing around during BI, I felt a bit intimidated. I hadn’t read anyone in so long. Since the beginning of the year when we started planning BI13, I have been so caught up in… well… planning. Blogger Interactive, Kickstarter projects, moving and moving some more, Bachelorette parties, Bloggers for Movember, and a million other things seemed to keep me from participating in the one thing that started it all. Blogging.
When I asked Lauren and Michael of Key + Arrow who they were, I felt like an idiot. Their blog was right there on our Facebook page. Dur. Yet, my mind felt blank. I didn’t get to have the depth of conversations I wanted to, because I wasn’t leading conversation like my normal self. I felt scattered. I felt intimidated. What?!
Luckily for me Vyvy of Vyvacious reminded me of something. Vyvy expressed the same concern to me over Brussels sprouts and calamari before the event even began, yet there at the Hangar Lounge on the second night she was sitting on Red’s wife’s lap, taking pictures, dancing, and chatting up a storm. She reminded me that having everyone memorized wasn’t what mattered. What mattered is that we were all there. We were there for each other. We were there to continue to get to know each other and learn from each other. And most of all, I think we all gained a new excitement and buzz for blogging, writing, and our virtual community while we were there. And I am more than okay with that.
Thank you Jen for ALL of your amazing hard work on this with me. Thank you Julian and Chiara for sharing your sexy brains with us. And finally, thank all of you who came out despite the distance, schedules and nerves. I love you all.
Look out for the official post event write-up on the BI page along with a slideshow of photos that have yet to be shared!
Jen and I came to you last week with a proposal. We didn’t ask you to put a ring on it (us?), but we did ask you to hang out with us in real life. For internet people, this is almost the equivalent of committing to marriage. Luckily, you didn’t throw up, pass out, or flat-out say no. If you did, you hid it well and composed yourself before leaving a comment. This is a good sign.
So what’s next you ask?
Well, Jen and I gathered up the responses and made a list of where everyone is located. At first, I felt like I was a detective solving a murder by drawing connections on a map while smoking a lot of cigarettes in the dark. Then I just felt like I was a cyber stalker. Either way, it felt right.
There seems to be a great divide in the WordPress world. Half of you (who participated) are spread out on the West coast and the other half on the East coast. There were not too many bloggers located in the middle. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see that a few other southerners popped out from behind their fried chicken and waffles to give a thumbs up for the meet up. *waves*
Here is what we are going to ask you to do next. There are three polls below for you to cast your vote on a location that we have picked. We performed all kinds of high-tech mapping strategies, statistics, probability reports, and background checks to narrow down the choices. We assure you that the options listed are in everyone’s best interest. SO, if you are a tentative “yes” for the meet up, then cast your vote now! Just state which location you would prefer the most in the comments.
Options for West Coast:
- San Francisco Bay Area
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles/San Diego
Options for East Coast:
- Cincinnati, OH
- Boston, MA
- Altlantic City, NJ
- Charleston, WV
- Pittsburgh, PA
- NYC, NYC
- Houston, TX
- New Orleans, LA
- Atlanta, GA
- Blogger Meet Up 2013 (25tofly.com)
- Chicken ‘N Waffles on a Stick (instructables.com)
- Which Do You Prefer: Blogger Or WordPress? (renardmoreau.wordpress.com)
I am sure y’all remember that huge (imaginary) New Year’s meet up most of us partook in, even if you “don’t remember”. Although it was almost two months ago, I think it is safe to say its memory is still more enchanting than anyone could have fathomed.
Now, imagine if that had been real life. The sensation you just felt was the process of your mind exploding. But bare with me here.
Lately, I have noticed that a lot of mystical and cosmic encounters have been occurring among WordPress bloggers. While we were all getting classy-trashy at our party, Tracy spent New Year’s Eve with none other than Le Clown and his troops IRL. Vyvacious got to meet Sweet Mother and the fearless Jillian Levi last month. The same Jillian Levi who got to meet up with Calahan after that. I am still not over that one. Hell, even La La announced at one point that she received some free travel miles and took to Facebook to get suggestions on a destination.
What does this all mean, and why do I feel so left out? Besides the fact that I am totally left out. (I wear my tweets on my sleeve)
I began stewing. After that, I began high jacking Facebook comment threads with jealous rants. Then, I decided to stop pouting and do something about it.
I e-mailed Jen demanding that we organize a blogger meet up for 2013. I’m imagining something out of You’ve Got Mail, only you don’t have to make out with anyone at the end if you don’t want. You also won’t go out of business (if you have one). You will, however, have to know how to spell fox. That’s the secret password to get into the meet up.
Jen then pooped her pants in agreement. Thank god I had some baby wipes handy. We obviously make a great team, so we decided to join forces to make this blorgy happen. We would like to work on getting a census of where everyone is located, come up with a centralized venue that would be ideal for most of the bloggers interested, and of course pick some date(s).
BUT FIRST, we need to find out if this is something in which bloggers out there would actually participate. Are you pooing your pants in excitement like Jen, or would you rather remain loving your blog friends from afar? Much like that really rank smelling, yet extremely sweet and helpful cousin of yours. Maybe you don’t give a shit either way, but please humor us.
If you wouldn’t mind, please take a second and let us know by answering the poll questions below in a comment. Actually, you better do it or else I am going to high jack the comment section of your blog and continuously post Harlem Shake video links until the spam filter catches me. Or something.
To meet or not to meet? That is the question.
1. Would you be interested in attending a blogger meetup?
2. What is the closest metropolitan area to you?
3. If you are down, what other place(s) would you like to have a meetup?
- How to spot a blogger at ten paces… (lipsticking.com)
- Why Every Blogger Should Blog Outside the Comfort Zone in 2013 (weblogbetter.com)
- Security Bloggers Network Voting (psilvas.wordpress.com)