Monday, April 07, 2008

"I wish they could see the magic happening in this room"

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.

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Anonymous said...

And you, my friend, were the first one I bumped into upon arrival Friday night. It was good to find a "familiar face" immediately, and then so many others right after (with more hugs than handshakes)!

Mack Collier said...

That's right you were the first person I met at BS08 as well! Still have no idea how I forgot to get you to sign your chapter of AoC, but I guess that's what BS09 is for, eh?

Toby said...

Mack you captured the essence .. it was almost 2 day of 'heart and hugs.'

Anonymous said...

It really was magic, Mack. I'm still floating a couple of feet off the ground.

Anonymous said...


Great to meet you face-to-face.

Anonymous said...

Nice write up Mack, I wish I could have made it, i'll keep an eye out for BS09 :-)

Terry Starbucker said...

Spot on Mack, just absolutely spot on! A great summary of a great event. Hope to be able to chat with you more next time around.

All the best!

Gavin Heaton said...

Thanks for the hug, Mack - I mean that in a very manly way ;)

Moda di Magno said...

Oh Mack! I have been struggling to try to capture every ounce of magic, joy, sharing, ideas, passion and yes, love at Blogger Social. I may just paste your report into my blog!

Hugs and hugs and hugs to you. I am even more fortunate for meeting you.


Mack Collier said...

@Karl we needed you there for Marketing 2.0 A-Team!

@gavin I was giving Cece Lee's husband a hug by the end of the night, so old friends like us can be secure in our manly hugs. Although I admit it's a bit more fun to hug @shouty ;)

@lori you did a LOT of the heavy lifting to get Blogger Social off the ground and flying into the clouds. We all owe you much love!

Drew McLellan said...


It was a magical weekend thanks to the remarkable people who made the effort to be there.

They didn't come to learn anything or sell anything. They came because they wanted to connect in a very personal way.

And boy did we!

It was so perfect because our agendas were all the same. As Toby said...heart and hugs.

It's a weekend I will never forget. I'm glad it was the same for you!


Geoff_Livingston said...

It was awesome, Mack. I really think that was the best inside echo chamber event I've been to. I had more fun there than I have in half a year, and it's because everyone came looking to meet others.

Really enjoyed our chats, see you at SxDS.

Anonymous said...

When I arrived at The Perfect Pint on Friday night, it was walking into a reunion with all the familiar faces. Mostly of people I'd never. If that's not "magical", I don't know what is.

Great meeting you, Mack.

Anonymous said...

To borrow a phrase.. Blogger Social was the ultimate "Preunion"!!

I can't believe it was the first time that us old friends MET.

Here's to '09!

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about all of you all weekend, and I wish I could have been there. I look forward to making it to next year's Social and meeting so many of you, who I have talked with by phone and via blogs,etc, in person - and giving each of you a hug!

Mack Collier said...

@drew it was great because so many of us had traded emails and tweets and phone calls for the last year or 2, so it instantly felt like being home with friends!

@geoff Hell yeah can't wait for SxDS, we'll have to see if we can get a few of the Blogger Socialites to come down South. Jaffe can stay up north ;)

@mark great meeting you too my man! Can we wait till 09 to do this again?!?

@sis I had to add a new pic at the end ;) See you again soon, I promise!

@becky Several of you West Coasters were missed, but Super Mario was there to represent yall and did a fine job!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely LOVE that photo. I am so glad you added it.... you look so... so... awesome. Whoever captured that moment: Thank you.

Scott Monty said...

Mack, what a great post! You really managed to capture the essence of what the weekend was all about. Personally, I'm sorry that I missed the Friday and early Saturday stuff, as it sounds like there were so many connections made then. I won't make that mistake next time!

It was good to see you again, even if it was only very briefly. Looking forward to our next encounter.