Friday, July 25, 2008

Hanging With the A (and B) List Bloggers

Because I was reporting this year at BlogHer, I got the chance to meet waaaay more people. Last year I didn't have a story to report and I'm a bit shy about just introducing myself to people with no pretext. And honestly, I didn't see any bloggers in Chicago last year who I had read or heard of.

Here are some of the faaay-mous bloggers I met or heard speak. As you might expect, many of them have pretty nice blogs, and I've been procrastinating finishing up my other story as well as many mom chores this week to check them out.

  • Dooce! Obviously the most famous personal blogger of them all, especially when it comes to being a mother. I got to interview Heather Armstrong and hubs Jon for a good hour at The Chronicle. They were quite friendly and chatty -- Heather even complimented my quite-the-worse-for-wear Target bag which led me to throw out all my tough questions and spend the hour asking her, "So how do you get those floors so clean?" Jon was especially helpful on follow-up questions, promptly returning emails and calls. It's a bit nervewracking to interview someone with direct access to a large and loyal audience, because it's pretty much guaranteed that most people are not going to love everything that appears in print about them. If you write something that pisses them off, or god forbid get something wrong, they can make you look very bad. And -- although she assured me that she has softened around the edges and doesn't want anyway to dread being on her Web site -- Heather has not been known as a shrinking violet. Lucky for me, I never read a word from them about the Chron piece, so either they were fine with it or it slipped below their radar.
  • Finslippy. I didn't interview Alice Bradley but I saw her at the closing cocktail party. Usually you don't run into A-list bloggers at the official BlogHer events because there are so many invite-only parties going on at the same time. But Bradley contributed to "Sleep Is for the Weak" and they had a signing, which explains her presence there. I looooove reading Finslippy and have also enjoyed seeing Alice's work in Wondertime. I got the chance to tell her as much, and I was strangely compelled to pat her arm as I spoke to her. Fortunately she didn't pull any kung fu on me for invading her personal space. It's wierd because I am not a patter, or a physical contacter at all normally. I'm Scandinavian. I think it was my subliminal way of offering a meager little comfort to Alice, who has been blogging candidly about her grief after a recent miscarriage. I was a bit stymied about what to say before approaching Alice, because blogs are so wierd that way -- you read about the most personal things, and yet you have never actually met this person. How could I walk up and say, "Sorry you lost your baby."? And yet how could I acknowledge reading her blog and pretend I didn't know? Awkward, but still, I loved meeting Alice Bradley. One of the best writers I read online.
  • Motherhood Uncensored. Kristen granted me a quick and informative interview after her panel and she is a very interesting person -- she started a network to hook up parenting bloggers with marketers, so the marketers can get their products out to people with a voice in the new social media community. She hung around to do the interview despite my concerns that she might pass out, since she is pregnant and her friends were urging her to come to lunch. I've since started reading her blog and she's pretty funny too. I didn't end up being able to include her in the Chron piece but I really hope to write about her yet because, what a novel job she has!
  • Citymama.com. Stefania Pomponi Butler is officially a B-List blogger. Her site is full of good cooking ideas for parents who don't want to eat or feed their kids crap. She's also a lovely gal who was so kind as to reply immediately to my email queries before the conference, even though she was on vacation in Hawaii. She also graciously allowed photographers into her home the day after BlogHer, even though she'd at that point been away from home for over a week and probably wanted nothing more than to veg out in some sweats. At least that's what I wanted by that point.
  • Woulda Coulda Shoulda. I didn't meet Mir Kamin in person, since she didn't go to BlogHer, but she gave me a great interview on the phone full of insight into the kinds of opportunities the Internet has made possible for parents who want/need towork. More material that I hope to use in a future piece. Also, I am now addicted to her bargain shopping site, wantnot.net.
  • The Bloggess. I didn't meet Jenny, but I heard her stand up during Armstrong's keynote and defend her own post calling Armstrong a "mythical hobbit." This was the girl-drama portion of BlogHer, and I gotta say that the Bloggess seemed to have a point. The long and the short of it, for me, is that I discovered the Bloggess' site and it's funny.
  • Because I Said So. I couldn't believe that Dawn Meehan, the mom who wrote that Ebay auction about the Pokemon cards, was at the conference! She is from Chicago, very down to earth, and her writing is amusing and unpretentious. She's less slick, much more Midwest, than a lot of the other BlogHer ladies and I liked her very much. She's got a two-book deal and is in talks to make a motion picture based on her writings about parenting six kids. Gotta love that!
  • Mommy Needs a Cocktail. I didn't get the chance to interview Kristen, although we tried to link up. I saw her speak on monetization. She's sold a bunch of Tshirts with her blog name on them. I'd buy one, wouldn't you? Another site I've been checking out.
  • I also chatted with the authors of Mom to the Screaming Masses, Notes From the Trenches, Rocks in My Dryer, SuburbanTurmoil.com and Boobs, Inuries and Dr. Pepper (hiLARious lady who I met last year at the cocktail party and who always sends me visitors through BlogHer ads). And am checking out all those blogs too.
  • Then there are the blogs of my new Silicon Valley Moms Group buds: Hormone-Colored Days, Meaganfrancis.com/blog, I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl, Sarah and the Goon Squad, and others.

So, um, yeah, if you don't hear from me for a month or so, you know where I'll be. Reading the Internets.

1 comment:

Meagan Francis said...

Hey Carrie,
Great recap! I had so much fun chatting with you at the Chicago party and (briefly) at BlogHer. Can't wait to see you at another function, hopefully soon!