If you've been reading this blog for longer than a month, you know how I absolutely gushed about my first trip to SXSW last month. I was simply blown away by the people I met and how everyone was so open and brilliant. I was literally stunned at the experience and the community that existed there. Now I say all this to remind everyone what an impression my first trip to SXSW made on me, so that this next statement might have some context:
SXSW cannot hold a candle to the magic that happened last weekend at Blogger Social.
The tone was set early when I arrived at The Perfect Pint on Friday night and tried to introduce myself to Lori Magno. I told her who I was and tried to shake her hand and she said "Mack what is this handshake shit?!?", then she hugged me. And there you go.
What still boggles my mind is how so many people that have never actually met, are able to meet for the first time and carry on as if they were life-long best friends, based on online communication.
And that's what it was all about, CK and Drew created an event that let us take the online relationships offline. That's what was so beautiful about Blogger Social, and as someone told me Sat night (I think it was Director Tom?), "I just wish we had a way to let everyone that isn't here see the magic that is happening in this room right now!"
Because unless you were there, it's really hard to understand. CK had the quote of the weekend on Sat when she said that "The world isn't getting flatter, it's getting smaller. And this room proves it."
Did it ever. Several bloggers came from Europe. Arun came from Oman. Katie and Gavin came from Australia. There was a very moving moment on Sat night when CK was announcing the state/countries that everyone came from, and had them stand as their location was called. As the Washington DC group rose and we had 90 or so people standing she said 'Look around you, the world is in this room'.
And it really was, at least for me. The majority of the bloggers I know, admire, and even love, were in that room. That's what makes writing this post so difficult because I *want* everyone that wasn't there to understand how amazing it all was, but it's an impossible task. I want you to know how incredible these people are and what happened when you got 90 or so of them together in this small of a space. But you simply had to be there. It literally moves me to tears to think about how incredible these people were. And again, you have to remember that there were only 4 or 5 people in attendance that I had actually met prior to Friday. But everyone was treated as if they were family. Because we are.
I told CK and Drew this privately, but they literally created a life-changing event this weekend. I hope they are so proud of what they did, because they created magic this weekend. And their motives were the most noble of all, they simply wanted to bring together the people that they cared about for a weekend of being social(and they went to IMPOSSIBLE lengths to make sure that happened, trust me). This was NOT a conference, and that was by design. CK and Drew had a lot of help (most notably Lori Magno), but they drove this. This was their baby and I just hope they know how much it meant to myself and so many others.
If there is a Blogger Social 09, and I pray there is, then you have to come. No matter what it takes. And when you get there, even if we barely know each other, expect a hug from me. Cause as Lori taught me, I'm done with this handshake shit.
That's all I've got. I've pilfered a ton of pictures that so many people took, including Matt Dickman, Kris Hoet, Steve Woodruff, Marilyn Pratt, Cathleen Rittereiser, Shashi Bellakonda, Chris Kieff, Doug Meacham, Jason Falls, and of course the Blogger Social Flickr set. Also check out some of the tweets on Twitter during and after the event.
UPDATE: Check out CK's post about Blogger Social, and more importantly, look at the pure emotional joy on her face when she realizes Arun has made it halfway around the world to be at Blogger Social. THAT one pic is what Blogger Social was all about.
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing, Blogger Social