After attending #BlogHer13, I came away with a renewed inspiration for writing. I’ve always loved writing and never run out of things I want to write about. NEVER. Currently, I have eleventy billion ideas swirling in my head for blog posts. I want to get at least 4 of them done in the next week. At one of the sessions someone raised their hand to say they can’t think of anything to write about. REALLY?! Then we can’t be friends. I’m kidding. We can totally be friends. Just be warned that after drinking copious amounts of alcohol, I’m going to ask you to explain in detail why this is. I’ll be obnoxious about it. “How come you can’t think of anything to write about? Do you live a dull life?” It’s like standing in a huge library and saying you can’t find anything to read. PLEASE. That was the only time all weekend that I was tempted to raise my hand. I would’ve said “I never have trouble thinking of something to write about. I just can’t find the time to write.” Of course, that was too much like bragging so I didn’t do it. Lack of time is an issue for a lot of people, if not everyone. There’s always something else you can be doing. However, if you’re like me, you get so much JOY out of laying down the written word via your brain, through your fingertips, that you need to MAKE time. I never knew what that meant. I don’t have a machine in the basement that manufactures extra minutes or hours to add to each day to make it longer. I don’t have farmland that has migrant workers picking spare moments like weeds for me to stockpile and use later. How do I make time for writing? Yes, I’m asking. To write 2 LONG #BlogHer13 recaps this week, something had to fall by the wayside. Pretty much everything but general hygiene, walking the dogs and physical therapy. I didn’t clean house and took the easy way out on cooking meals. I let the laundry pile up. Like a lot of other women, I rarely take time for myself. I felt guilty at spending the majority of my day writing a blog post. That quickly passed though with the huge rush I got from publishing it and getting such positive feedback. Normally, I do a post a week (used to be a post a month). I’m lucky if I can squeeze in an hour to sit down and whip that puppy out as fast as I can type it. I’m writing this one the same way but I’m actually going to proofread it. This is just a huge preamble to what I really wanted to bring up today.
Since #BlogHer13, I’ve got about 100 blog post recaps to read and comment on. I’ve read a few and was shocked at what has offended people. First off, I’m not easily offended. Only if I think someone is INTENTIONALLY trying to hurt or insult someone else (or myself), do I take offense. I heard most of Guy Kawaski’s keynote and Q&A session in front of the entire blogging community. I never understood why he was such a big deal before this. I saw that a ton of bloggers follow him on Twitter and I even tried following him briefly. He is not my cup of tea. It has nothing to do with him being a man. He is just totally wrapped up in getting more followers in all social media sites. I know in some circles that’s where worth is measured by numbers of followers. I’d love to “be somebody” and have a huge following. But if it came down to brass tacks, I’d much rather have 100 people I interact regularly with on social media than 1,000 people I’ve never talked to. Anyway, Guy Kawasaki is a salesman first and foremost. He works for Android and Google +. He sings their praises but I believe he really finds them superior. He’s not just saying it because he’s getting paid. I think he’s done enough public speaking that he appeared relaxed. He said what he felt and that later on caused a backlash in the blogging community. People have been up in arms by his sexist remarks. Things such as “Behind every great man is a woman.” “You women writers come up with the best blog names.” “I’ve got the wrong chromosomes for that.” (when referring to Pinterest) I’m sure these are sexist remarks, I’m just not sensitive to them. Overall, the guy seemed generic to me. He didn’t get me excited about publishing or Android or Google +. He didn’t seem dynamic enough to command that size of an audience. I am not political and stay out of any heated and hardcore discussions involving conflict. That’s just not who I am. I’m not here to defend Guy Kawaski AT ALL. But I do think the people who are attacking him need to consider a couple of things: 1) He was being himself. He’s human. We can’t all say the right thing at the right time. 2) It’s more on BlogHer for hiring him if this is how he references women. I mean, if he’s being himself and they want him, then they have to bear some of the responsibility for picking him. 3) No one in their right mind would get in front of a huge blogging community made up mostly of women and INTENTIONALLY say anything bad about women. Think about it. I don’t think he’d want to lose the gig of appearing at BlogHer in the future. He didn’t say these things in a nasty voice or a sarcastic tone. We need to consider his intentions and if he’s malicious.
I don’t have a problem with others writing posts about their extreme dislike for his sexism. I think that’s a large part of what BlogHer is. They get women talking about what they see going on around them. They start a dialogue and give everyone an equal voice. I just think it should matter if he did it through ignorance or with the intention of putting others down. They say ignorance is no excuse but it’s been my excuse more than once. I’m a very naive person. I never want to hurt anyone by my actions or words. Yet, I’m sure I have and do. Unless people know me personally, they wouldn’t know it was unintentional. Someone who was offended during the Q&A should’ve stood up and just asked him. “Did you mean that to sound so sexist? You’re supposed to be talking about writers but instead you make it sound like women come up with cutesy names for blogs.” I have no doubt if it was brought to his attention (in a non-threatening way), he would’ve admitted he could’ve worded it better. People say the wrong thing everyday and that’s never going to change. Even with all the education in the world, there’s always going to someone somewhere who “misspeaks”.
You’ve probably got me figured out by now. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I make excuses for them and let them get away with things. Especially it is is done by accident, not knowing better or just having an off day. I do this because I’m human and screw up a lot and hope that others will cut me some slack when I say or do the wrong thing. That they won’t give me a hard time when I’m probably already having a hard time. I do look for the best in people and forgive them for not being perfect.
In some ways I’m easy going like that. Don’t think things don’t get me riled up! I’ve worked myself into a lather about plenty in my time. I wrote in my last post about meeting some great people. At the Voices of The Year, I happened to be 2 seats away from the infamous Titcircle. I don’t think it’s my place to discuss it but that’s not going to stop me. A group of women to my right were just having a good time. I could tell they genuinely liked each other and were thrilled to be in one another’s company. At one point they all jumped up and formed a circle and took a picture of their cleavage. My first instinct was to ask if I could take a picture too. Why on earth would I want a picture of a bunch of strangers’ boobs? Because of what it signified to me: women, friendship, fun. It was that simple. To me, it wasn’t sexual, it was like having a foot/shoe picture with a group of friends only x100 on the fun chart. Yes, I probably go through life looking at things simplistically and innocently. At the moment it was happening, I wanted to join in. Not just to take a picture but BE in the picture. I’m pretty much up for anything at all times but unless someone asks me, I’m sitting on the sidelines. I don’t like to insinuate myself into situations. Unless I’ve been drinking. Then all bets are off! So I didn’t join in but felt good about seeing it. I wasn’t offended in the least.
Imagine my surprise when I read the post by Lauren Marie Fleming about being called out as unprofessional for participating. She had taught one of the sessions I attended at #BlogHer13, It was called Using Social Media Tools Without Being A Tool: Marketing And Promotion That Lifts The Community As A Whole. This was my first exposure to Lauren and I could espouse her virtues until the cows come home. Instead, I’ll suggest you check out her blog. She speaks for herself better than I ever could. She was very professional while running her session. I felt like when she’s not teaching, she can do whatever she wants. I think to some people, you can’t be professional and have fun. If that’s the case, then I NEVER want to be a professional! Not only was Lauren called out for being unprofessional, she received so many NASTY, VICIOUS comments about the Titcircle. I think they should be everywhere like Cropcircles. We need to figure out if they need to be anonymous like Cropcircles though. Not only were people attacking the women for doing it at all, they were criticizing their breasts! I was aghast. A community made up mostly of women were going after what they deemed as body flaws. Really?! Haven’t we come farther than this? Besides how wrong it is to criticize someone for what they were born with, WHY DOES ANYONE ELSE NEED TO LIKE OUR BODY? Or anybody’s body. We need to learn to like our own bodies and nasty remarks like that aren’t helping anybody. This is where i will repeat that INTENTIONS ARE EVERYTHING. Looking at those comments, there is no question that those comments were meant to tear down, humiliate, bring pain to another person. Lauren in general but also all the other women participants. They were beyond cruel and so unnecessary. I could live to be 100 and never understand that type of mentality. If someone doesn’t like that they had that Titcircle, that’s fine. They can say that they’d never do it. Or they thought it was wrong for them. They should walk away and never do one. But to attack and malign anyone because they were having a good time is stupefying. No one forced them at gunpoint into a Titcircle so they need to calm down. Whether they know the women who participated or not, they need to respect their choices. That’s like going up to someone with a tatoo and saying, “That’s the worst tattoo I’ve ever seen. That’s gross and you should be ashamed.” I would hope nobody would ever do that but it’s along those same lines. Life is hard enough without having others telling you you’re doing it wrong all the time.
Something Erin Sipes told me happened to her at #BlogHer13 was equally disturbing. A blogger who KNEW Erin wanted to meet her put her hand up to shield her face as she walked by her. I was horrified to hear this. Erin isn’t a newbie, she was on the panel of the session I attended called Is Your Blog Holding You Back? The Balance Between Your Blog And Your Goals. The fact that someone could treat another human being this way hurts my heart. It shouldn’t matter who you are or what you do, no one should treat another person like that. Especially at an event intended for networking and connecting with other bloggers. There may well be people that some don’t want to talk to (although I can’t imagine it being Erin) but wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to exchange pleasantries and then say you need to talk to someone else? Is it ever ok to be that rude? I’d hope not. If we examine the intentions of the Talk To The Hand/Don’t Bother Me blogger, it can only be their way of showing their superiority. They consider themselves too important to deign to speak with mere mortals.
I’m going to climb down off my soapbox and go make some dinner. Let’s hear your thoughts on intentions and what makes you accept some less than stellar behavior and what behavior you will never accept.