"A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world."
Today I watched my husband fly in a helicopter. We then jumped on a ferry to Staten Island, watched a baseball game while eating a chilli hot dog, posted a big fat box of gifts and American candy to my boys back home in Australia. Then we walked to the World Trade Centre site and took a tour of the memorial centre .... wow.
Walked to Chinatown and got massages. Got pulverised. Walked to Little Italy and ate a whole pizza - Dave ate the best Lobster Pasta he has ever had in his life. (Say 'little Italy" over and over ..... Liddleiddleee. Liddleiddleee. Liddleiddleee.)
This city is so amazing ... and last weekend was hands down was probably the best of my life.
I went to my first BlogHer Conference, after vicariously living through them using the blogher hashtag on twitter for the past two years.
It was like, 2400 Harriet the Spy's converged in a hotel in the Big Apple, filling networking sessions and talking and laughing and crying. I met some amazing people - even caught a glimpse of myself.
So, what the hell is a blog? The word is an amalgam of "web browser" and "log files" ..... literally meaning, a log of events and thoughts on the web. A weblog. A blog. Such a funny sounding word! Not at all onomatopoeic. "Blog" sounds like a word describing a thud of something ... like a heavy branch falling on a roof.
Blogs are actually these amazing portals into other people minds, and hearts, Sometimes, even their souls.
They are amazing beasts, these "blogs." These feather songs, these sprinkly peppers. These winds of rhyme and reason.
"A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list." - Unknown
Contrary to what I thought at first, you don't need permission to blog. You just do it - just write some words on a blank screen and press "post." Simple. These words can be as deep or as shallow as you like. They can be written with the darkest blood of your deepest pain, or the ink of your sweetest joy.
My biggest discovery I made, this BlogHer .... was the uniting of womens voices, and learning how to harness that power. Shining inwards AND outwards - like being your own lighthouse, going around and around. Simultaneously lighting up yourself and then the sea, self then sea.
I was so jetlagged and delirious, I had no energy left to be self-conscious or anxious. SUCH a nice change. I was open and friendly and smiling, everywhere I walked. Most people responded to me in kind .... after they tried to lip-read what the hell I was saying because out came a heavy Australian accent from my mouth. Oh, and when I said my name, a lot of Americans did not hear "Eden Riley."
They heard "Aiden Rowley."
(I made the mistake of telling Dave that .... now he will call me Aiden Rowley til I die GREAT. At least it's better than Eddie, hey Palemotherf*cker? ;))
"Blogging is an art, same as any other method of self-expression. Some are better at it than others."
- Hugh Macleod
I saw big bloggers in the flesh. Bloggers I have admired from afar and would never go up to .... bloggers I love and know so dearly that I could not stop hugging them. My friends, my online Angels, my sisters-in-arms. My tribe. My 2399 fellow-Harriets.
I saw big bloggers ignore small bloggers. And I saw small bloggers not give a SHIT. I saw a few cliques, a couple of tantrums. This is not a "blogger" thing - this is a human nature thing. Meh.
Dave came with me to the Opening Keynote .... he looked around, limp in a sea of strong vagina overlords of the manor. He remarked how everybody was typing on their phones or laptops. YES!
You know what I love about a huge conference like this? Even the bathroom attendants were on social media. (Checking facebook on her phone.)
"The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful."
- Ron Dawson
Yes there was swag and parties and PR and marketers and advertisers and reviewers. But the best thing for me was noticing my own voice, in this chorus of strength. Realising I'd like to start doing things that mean something .... and I'm actually halfway there. An amazing friend and I have been working on something for months now, hopefully it will be ready to launch soon. I'm pretty excited about it - and I actually believe in it. I don't often believe in things in life - I mean good, solid believing in positive change and power.
But I'm willing to give it a go.
I'm still sifting it all in my head - but there is one thing that is crystal clear: Women are online with a passion and a vengeance. I'm a part of that. The possibilities really are breathtaking.
One of the parties. I took this photo after my friends had long gone to their warm beds - I didn't want it to be over, so I stayed for a few hours.
The ironic thing was, during the flight over to America from Australia last week, I had my biggest blogging crisis ever. A few weeks before, this blog had been featured in Australia's major Sunday newspaper, the Telegraph. An article was written about the rise of mummyblogging in Australia, and I am now known as the mother who compares her son to the antichrist. Awesome. I rang my sister in a fit, freaking out about what people would think of me. I DO write in a very confessional tone here, this strange public place. I know I must own my words .... and I do, but it was very strange ... like I was painted as the controversial one. (I accidentally naked-blogged before I even knew what the term meant. I'm learning as I go.)
I must go right now, as they are vacuuming around me in my fancy hotel lobby. Hopefully Dave is asleep by now, and has no computer issues for me to fix. America, your burgers YOU KNOW I WANT THEM. I have a few more days left in this town. I will carry the sight and sounds of it back with me in my pocket.