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Monday
Oct112010

Through the Looking Glass: BlogHerFood 2010

The movie on the flight home from BlogHerFood 2010 was Alice in Wonderland. Too tired to fully concentrate I watched snippits, mostly without sound, in between fits of dozing. The surreality of the movie did not escape me—in fact it was intensified by the start and stop action produced by my napping. Alice in her sometimes confusing world. Alice chasing a “dream”. Alice falling through a hole and coming out the other side—a place filled with big and small personalities, fear, hope, mystery, friends and victory. Alice returning home with a different view and a lifetime of opportunity.

Not so unlike this weekend at BlogHerFood.

I so much want to tell you about every bit of the conference—who we met, what we ate, what we learned. (Yes, it was robust, bigger than life, and tons of fun.) It would be volumes of riveting reading. But, you’re not going to give me the hours it would take to read about it, are you? Besides some very articulate insightful bloggers are going to share their experiences, too and you want to have time to see it from the myriad of perspectives that will emerge. And, you know bloggers—we all want to share.

There was an essence to the conference—a character that emerged. So here’s what I walked away with—a distillation of the days we all spent together. It’s a bit of a word cloud approach.

It’s all about the sharing. Feeding the community. Taking a little piece of the life we live and putting it out there so others can become a part of it.

You have a responsibility to your readers, your subjects and yourself to be true and ethical. To provide something that will work for them.

The world around us is beautiful. Take a minute to look at it from different angles. Take a step to the right or left and a different picture emerges. Pay attention to the highlights and shadows. Capture the moments.

Finding your voice—what makes you you—is a journey.

Each time you put yourself out there, you try something new—you fail, you succeed, you fail, you succeed—you’re on the journey. You’ve fallen through the hole and a new experience unfolds. When you go back through the hole and return home…a little bit of a different person will emerge.

A last comment about the word cloud that’s floating around inside my head as I decompress from the past few days. I met so many people I’ve talked to online over the past year and a half that I often felt dazed. My regret is not being able to talk to more people—or to spend more time with some people—while I had the chance to do so in person. I’ll openly admit to feeling overwhelmed and retreating to my comfort zone to recharge. Still, seeing online friends in person was incredible and I’m grateful for the time spent with each and everyone of them.

Like Alice we fell through a hole into another world for a few days. We’re all back now and I’m guessing we’re all just a little changed for the experience.

The tool used for the wordcloud is Wordle. So much fun! Try one.

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Reader Comments (12)

well done Nancy, well done! and if i had to choose who to be stuck on the streets of san francisco with, it would be the same group who were - tired, cranky and very close to a meltdown, turned into being the highlight of the conference for me. and yes, i know - what happened in san fran, stays in san fran!! hugs!

Oct 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSMITH BITES

I must admit, reading your post left me covered in goosebumps. Your writing is not only eloquent but it mirrored so much of what I was feeling at BlogHer. I was worried yesterday when I wrote my post with my heart on my sleeve. I worried about people thinking I was overly emotional or just plain sappy. But as I read your words and other posts about BlogHer I realized that many of us were touched by the weekend in San Francisco. It was soulful, emotional, heartfelt and very authentic.

Oct 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSelena Cate

Nancy, thanks for sharing your experience with those of us who couldn't be there. From your description, it sounds like the trip to Wonderland was one that you won't soon forget.

Nancy-What a creative way to describe all the thoughts and emotions and experiences that are swirling around in our heads after this weekend. The very best part was meeting the people like you that I have chatted with online. I can honestly say every single one of the gluten-free bloggers I have met in person at IFBC and BlogHer Food are people I want to stay in touch with, would travel out of my way to meet again and look forward to future conferences as an excuse to spend more time with them. That alone is worth the price of admission for me.

Deb - I loved meeting you and The Professor. Just wished we'd had more time to hang out...and laugh! If it wasn't for the shoes that evening standing on a street in SFO would have been AOK with me. Such great company.

Selena - The whole experience was so overwhelming. I felt I had to distill it to take away something that would provide a lasting impact. It might be just where I'm at in life but the idea of being the best of who you are and accepting the best in others rang loud to me. Glad it resonated with you, too.

Wendi- You and our sister (and brother! can't forget Chris) BSPer's were there in spirit. We missed you but know you had a great Pity Party.

Wendy - Again, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think these friendships we've made online and cemented in person are lasting ones. Such a very very very nice time. And, hopefully many more opportunities to get together will arise.

Oct 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterNancy Kohler

I followed Debra's link here and glad I did - I live in Austria but I would have just LOVED to go to Blogher but I know if I had, I'd have loved it but I probably would have felt overwhelmed too - stimulation overload! I love the design of your blog - super cute polka dots!

Oct 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSasa

Nancy, Wow! This was put brilliantly. I absolutely adore how you captured your feelings. That word cloud is simply wonderful. And I so understand what you mean about wishing that there could have been more of an opportunity to connect and get to know the people that we have spent so much time chatting it up on line with. I know for sure I felt that way about wishing I could have had more time with you. ;) And I also so agree with Wendy that these are connections and friendships that will be long-lasting and I will look for every excuse to connect in person with all of you again and again.
Well said, my friend, well said!

Hi Nancy,

What a beautiful post! Oh, now every time I read your blog, I'm going to remember how we just kept not getting time to talk. I really wanted to do that with so many people, but the conference itself got so overwhelming that I feel like I lost myself amongst all the hubbub.

I do hope we can all get together for a smaller gathering so I can have some real conversations with all of the people that I want to get to know.

Truth be told, the sessions are great, but a lot I can get in a book. The connections with like-minded folks and friendships, I cannot.

xoxo,
Tia :P

Oct 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTia

Nancy, this was perfect. Exactly what I've been trying to put the words together to say. I felt the same way there and my head has definitely been swirling with many words, ideas and moments from that weekend. Reading through the wordle makes so many of those moments refresh in my head. I am so grateful that we were able to spend so much time together. You're even more wonderful in person :).

Oct 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Kim, Tia, Lauren - your comments made me a little teary eyed. I really really really wish we'd had more personal (and quiet) time together. But, it'll happen. I just know it. *big hugs*

Oct 16, 2010 | Registered CommenterNancy Kohler

It sounds like an incredible experience. And, like you, for me it would be the in-person meetings that would make it click! I am always so envious of these events because they are usually SO far away from where I am (6 hour flights and all that) that I can only hope to go at some vague time in the future. . . or hope for something in the east end of the continent. ;) Glad you enjoyed it and hope to meet YOU some day at one of these! :D

Oct 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

It was so nice meeting you at Blogher Food. You are a doll!

Oct 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

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