Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Would Life Be Without A Little Controversy?

I had pretty much resigned myself to not writing another post about Blogher. I went and I'm actually starting to get Blogher burnout*. But a topic keeps coming up and I find I can't resist putting in my two cents.


I have now read several posts and countless tweets about all of the nasty behavior surrounding the procurement of swag and frankly, y'all, I'm tired of it. I never once saw someone push someone to get at the swag. Never once did I hear someone say they were only there for the swag. Never once did I see someone be rude to one of the vendors or people handing out swag at parties.

Am I unobservant? I don't think so. I was at a number of the parties, attended all sessions and visited the expo hall. Did I see people crowded around swag tables? Yes. But from everything I could see, it was a generally well-mannered group of women. Perhaps the reason I didn't see any of this stuff is because I myself did not run to the swag tables. Or because I didn't surround myself with people who were "only there for the swag."

I suspect that these stories, like so many, are more urban myth than fact. A victim of the telephone game wherein a story (maybe even a true one) takes on mythic proportions by its hundredth retelling. I heard from soandso that her friend saw someone run over a litter of kittens and then use their dead carcasses as projectiles to get other attendees away from the table, just to get a kiwi spoon. Do I think that there were a few bad apples among us? Of course. It would be unreasonable to think otherwise in a group as large as that, but if you take nothing else away from my post, take this: that behavior in NO WAY defines my experience in Chicago.

Here is what I did see at Blogher:
- Women (and a few men) squealing and hugging.
- Excited conversations as friendships were made or renewed.
- The clinking of glasses. (Maybe too much.)
- Ogling the big bloggers, wishing you had the nerve to go up and talk to them, not because you were afraid they would be mean but because you were afraid you wouldn't be able to form a coherent sentence.
- Actually going up and talking to your blog idols. Knees knocking and hands shaking and finding that they were as kind and friendly in person as they were on the computer screen.
- Many, many, many photos taken.
- So much laughter. It was a cacophony and it was glorious.

Was Blogher perfect? No way. I have my complaints and they are substantive. Will I be back? I don't know. But believe me when I tell you, that decision has NOTHING to do with the swag.

*Unless, of course, you write complimentary posts or post flattering pictures of me. In which case, keep 'em coming!


  1. There's always someone eager to point out the negative in every crowd, don't you think?

    Was the swag really that great? What was in there, Tiffany and Co.?

    Jeez, people...

  2. What the hell is swag and where's mine, damn it!

    Got a story for you. People deplaning the airplane, flight attendant 'buh-byes" at the door. Someone in the line hands flight attendant puke bag, and before she could dispose of it another passenger sees it and snaps, "I didn't get one of those!" and rips it out of her hand. True story.

  3. Please go next year - I am most likely going and I would love to meet you!!!

  4. Thanks for a more positive spin on the convention, Cara. To say I am apprehensive about attending 2010 is an understatement.

  5. Well said. And you know - the whole time I was there, I, too, was very concerned about the potential for a full on butt trumpet. And I do man kegels.

  6. I haven't heard anything negative, but really I haven't paid too much attention to all the blogher stuff.

    Okay~ dummy here....What is the "swag"???

  7. It's disappointing that people have that kind of lasting impression...doesn't that go against the spirit of the whole thing? Darn it, I was all psyched up for my initiation in 2010 but now I'm not so sure. Maybe we should create a swag-free alternative?

  8. I keep forgetting to log into twitter...so I haven't heard about the controversy. But I would really love to know what you thought. The good and the bad. Other than the beans :-)

  9. I had a similar experience last year.
    I had a great time. It wasn't perfect, but it was REALLY fun, and I came home and got to read lots of petty complaining posts about various drama's that occured. It happens. Seems to happen every year, but I still think they do a pretty amazing job creating such a good time for that many people.
    Glad it didn't ruin it for you.

  10. I didn't see any of the meanness or swag grabbing, either. I'm sure some of it happened, but you're right: it MAY have all stemmed from one or two stories about a bad experience. We'll never know.

    I had a good experience, overall. My issues are mainly personal regarding BlogHer. That, and not being able to find all of the people I wanted to. That's all.

  11. I completely agree with what you say here. Completely. I think the echoing on twitter made the rumors worse.

  12. you know what - I kept reading all that nonsense to - and I never once saw any of that - I thought I was wearing rose colored glasses - so glad to hear this!

  13. Dude speak for yourself. I knocked those bitches over to get my hands on the Go Girl standing up to pee funnel!

    Oh man... I'm totally kidding.

  14. I have to say, I think that it would be a better conference if there was no swag and no super-private exclusive parties. But none of that stopped me from having a great time! And it was nice to meet you and add another blog to my roll!

  15. I guess I'm not as Austin-Powers-Secret-Agent-Intuitive as I thought. What is the holy heck is a swag? Why do I want one? Do I need to buy one or can it only be awarded? Should I have one before November? I need to know this answer....ASAP....:)


  17. I did see some of the swag drama, but like you said, it was not a constant at the event.

  18. I wish you would have used SWAGA in a sentence. I like that word. Swaga. *sigh*

    I wouldn't know what to do with most of the swag. Unless it was something I could use. It sounds like most people were well behaved. Your post reminded me of a funeral. Where mostly everyone is cordial...until the deceased stuff (or...SWAG!) is passed out.

    I hate that part. Of funerals I mean, not free stuff at cool parties.

    SHUT UP ! (I was gonna add "Patty LaPone", but I wasn't sure if you ever watched Will & Grace., lol)

  19. Oh my....It looks like I have missed out on a lot in my absence. You are sending me some of that swag right???

  20. I am glad that if there was any drama...you were able to stay far away!

  21. I was not really doing the swag thing, so I didn't see so much ugly either. I mean, why bother with swag, when there is a chocolate fountain...right? C'mon CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN:P

  22. I am not down wit da kids these days...I had to look up "Swag": The chief difference between swag and regular merchandise is that its purpose is not to make a profit, but to promote the band/label, and reward its supporters by giving them something cool and unique.

    That doesn't sound too bad...

  23. I'm assuming "swag" is code for free promotional stuff? Boy if I was there I might have made an impression on you! Ha just kidding...but I do like free stuff!

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