Tag Archives: in the moment

Some new books from authors I love have come out recently, but they’ve yet to be picked up as I continue reading with great fascination, interest and, at moments, concern about what life with screens means. (If Emily Posted this Friday will be about some of the tools I’m using to make for mindful screen(s) time in 2013.)

Once upon a time, in our lifetimes, computers were where we wrote papers and letters and printed up dot matrix birthday banners. But, I digress and date myself.

I love what the web has opened up for us, and particularly in the blogosphere, I appreciate and enjoy the unique community it creates. A whole wide world made closer via a web that narrows it all.

My friend Morgan, of The 818, wrote a really great post on her blog yesterday that touched on one of the very things I am becoming increasingly aware of in my pursuit of mindful screen time: the way we think about what we receive online.

She writes about the truncated RSS feed and the various reasons she uses it. I do, too. There are so many reasons someone can choose to do this and some who do it without knowing why. They just click the button in their dashboard.

Here’s my take on it. The blogosphere is extraordinarily unique. Different from any form of writing I have ever done in my 16 years as a working writer. No matter how surface or deeply personal the subject, bloggers are writing for themselves. And the reaction they receive, be it via traffic numbers or comments, is validation. And validation is something we all need in some form.

As users, we take so much for granted online. We get so much information/inspiration/education/sustenance for free from the 1%.

The 1% known as the 1% percent before what we now consider the 1% – creators.

“It’s an emerging rule of thumb that suggests that if you get a group of 100 people online then one will create content, 10 will “interact” with it (commenting or offering improvements) and the other 89 will just view it.” – The Guardian, July 2006

(I need to do some research for more data, but I don’t believe the ratio has changed much. In fact, the surge in blogs and the degree with which people share via other SM platforms, makes me believe that the lurker numbers are higher and contributor/commentors are lower than 7 years ago. I’ll have to see what I can find beyond the anecdotal.)

I don’t think it’s bad if people don’t want to read blogs that they can’t view in full in an RSS feed, but I do think it’s important that they understand the many reasons why doing so isn’t really supporting creators. Sometimes that support can be financial. All times that support is emotional.

We skim rather than deep read online. That’s the nature of the beast. But the impatience, the skimming life, I watch how it bleeds over into the real world. Impatience grows. People complain when there isn’t a twitter handle to complain to. When a restaurant doesn’t have a website. When they can’t get what they want as soon as they want it.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but I don’t like the direction this is heading. I don’t like that blog reading via Reader breaks a certain connection I believe it creates between blogger and reader. Reader with a lowercase r. But I do love that a Reader or RSS feed allows people to keep up with when someone has posted new content. It’s like hearing the mail truck drive away. You know the post has arrived. Now you have to go and get it.

Again, check out Morgan’s post. It’s good food for thought.

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Everyone takes away their unique experience from BlogHer. Last year, I was inspired and exhausted. After last weekend, I am exhausted, yes. Inspired, too. And I’m swimming in gratitude. Just beginning to get my ducks in a row again.

I came to BlogHer without setting crazy expectations. I had friends to see, old and new. I had a panel to speak on. I had sessions I couldn’t wait to sit in on. I awaited VOTY with great anticipation and Kleenex. I packed my iPad and a notepad, a stack of business cards and allergy free snacks to get me through each day (but I kind of did a lousy job on the food front and was wiped by about 7pm each night). But I planned to kind of go with the flow.

I did not live up to my not-so-great expectations. And that’s OK because I still got a ton out of it. I saw some dear friends and met some new faces. There are some paths that never crossed however much we tried. Not enough hours in the jam packed days. See that whole time thing I’m always talking about.

My panel was a great group, but oh, what I would have given for a bit more time to talk with attendees and answer questions (but I will do it – more on that below).

Thank you so much to Amy for sharing photos of me, jazz hands and all. You don’t know what it meant to see friendly faces in that audience (thank you Amy, Alexandra, Lindsey and Morgan).

(top, second row left, and bottom row left by Amy, the second shot on the right by Heather and the one of Heather speaking by me)

As last year’s photographer, I recognized so many faces wandering the hotel, and while some I have connected with via URL and IRL, there was a constant sense of “don’t I know you?” that I then realized hadn’t been via conversation but rather through my lens last year.

I went without a camera this year. No DSLR. No point and shoot. It was really kind of fabulous when a friend turned to me at one point and asked it I could take a photo of something, something that would require more than my phone, and I had to say no. Not fabulous because I couldn’t help. I would have loved to. But the fact was I spent my time at BlogHer mindfully aware of where I was and what I was doing and not busy trying to capture it all. I swear, I don’t even recognize myself.

The conference was huge and attendance was record-breaking. And the long days and the heat and all the people was, at times, a bit much. I didn’t get to all the sessions I had planned. Midday Saturday, I found myself wandering the largest of the expo halls, wanting a little time to simply have some quiet. (Only later did it occur to me I could have gone to the Serenity Suite, a space just for that very purpose.) I wandered the expo, stopping to chat with a company with a line of products that make my food allergy-filled life much better. Never underestimate the joy that comes for those with food allergies when they find themselves eating a fudgesicle for the first time in 20 years. I think I said thank you at least sixteen times for all the ways they’ve expanded the ways I can cook.

Rounding the corner, there was a booth for massages and things and I stopped to see if one was available. No, but they had a spot open for a light makeup application. I sat enjoying the  moment to just relax, not realizing until she was done that at about 2:30pm I had smoky eyes and bold lips more 8pm ready. At least I had little to do to get ready for the evening.

I didn’t make it to every sessions I wanted to, though I went to some great ones. And in that time I needed to unwind, I ran into people I might not have otherwise seen. Two three four, oh I lost count, people I had wanted to see but had yet to, including Diana and Wendi.

As for my session, it’s virtually impossible to share all you want in 1/3 of a 75 minute session. So I’ll be doing the first follow up post on Friday about using Pinterest well as a blogger.

After the conference, I didn’t have the time to see family and friends I had hoped for. But just before and after the conference, I did make it to the places that balanced the busyness of BlogHer with time for myself. Popping into the MOMA. The Met. A walk Sunday afternoon through the park, stopping at The Strand kiosk to grab some books. A visit with my great aunt. A walk on the High Line. Drinks at The Essex House. Just enough to remind me why I adore this city so. There really never is enough time. Never.