A couple of years ago the BlogHer conference was held in Chicago, just 50 miles from my place. The Pioneer Woman's star had just started blazing across the blogging sky and she was a speaker. Even though it was held just a train ride away, I didn't attend. If I remember the cost to register was not insignificant and attending would have also required a night in a downtown hotel.
Can you say $$$$$$$$$$?
I've seen videos of some of the sessions which confirmed the fact that I did not feel at home with this particular group. They seemed to be a more urban crowd with a different world view than myself. Let's just say I got myself into hot water with my views when I commented on a thread. BlogHer's founders have been named on Forbe's list of the seven most influencial people in media. Seriously? Oh yeah, that's media, not journalism.
One of the session in the last conference was titled, "What is 'Pro-Woman' in a Post-Palin World?"
Uh, oh! I feel a mini-rant coming on.
Look I was "in the house" when Gloria Steinem, et al, started the movement and things are 1 million times better for women in this country then when I was coming into adulthood. I honestly wish they would quit micromanaging, dissecting and finding mysogynists under every rock. If they are true feminists who care about the plight of women they need to get their hides over to third world countries and help those poor women. Let's move on ladies. There are other's who don't even have the basic human rights. Pro-woman is putting eveything on the line for a woman who has nothing.
End rant, back to the conferences. BlogHer's 2010 conference is $198, plus airfare to New York and $199 a night for a hotel. This is not possible in my world and the world of many, many women. Many bloggers reported feeling like they were back in junior high. You know the feeling of being slammed by the in-crowd.
Then Blissdom came along. This group felt a little more joyful and inclusive and the conference in Nashville sounded like fun. It's an 8 hour drive from here and I've done it many times in the past (family in Clarksville). The Farmer had just lost his job and a couple of tanks of gas, the conference registration, hotel and food expenses were not in our budget.
Hey, I'm in the least bit shy about saying, "We can't afford that." At this point, we can't and that's just the reality.
Then there's Mary Engelbreit. Oh my goodness. I've loved her artwork and her now defunct magazine since it's inception. After the magazine folded Mary created a nice online presence.
Mary has put together a workshop. Can you imagine touring Mary's studio, participating in a workshop with the likes of Charlotte Lyons and listening to Amy Butler discuss the future of handmade? Oh YEAH!!
It's an easy drive down to St. Louis. but the conference fee is a whopping $575. I don't think that includes the hotel room.
MARY ENGELBREIT WORKSHOP
Just when I was feeling totally deprived of bloggy get-together love, a group of northern Illinois bloggers has organized a gathering at someone's home. Now that's an inviting and affordable event. Hooray for the can-do spirit.
This morning I'll be heading off to Amy's house. She publishes The Maisy Report. Jen from Sanctuary Arts will be there and Joy from Savvy City Farmer.
I've never met any of these people in real life and there will be more, maybe 20 total. Thank goodness I never have a problem walking into a room of strangers.
How about you? Would you like to organize/attend a local blogger get-together? Do you feel comfortable walking into a room of strangers or do you think of them as friends you haven't met yet?
Wish me luck. It's gonna be fun.