I’m not a blogger. Or so I tell people. I’m a fiction writer who writes on her blog. Still, last Monday I decided – at the last possible minute – to attend my first-ever blogging conference: PressPublish, hosted by WordPress.com. I love learning things, and besides, one of the conference speakers (ML Philpott of I Miss You When I Blink) offered me her guest pass. After stalking her for months through blogs and secret Facebook groups, how could I pass up the chance to meet her in person?
Because part of my Grownup Job (™) is running conferences and I know conferences, I knew I needed some kind of card to hand around. And because it was last minute, I spent my lunch hour Monday designing a card with an online template and browbeating the supplier to get them to me by Friday so I’d have them for the conference on Saturday. And because it was my first-ever conference, I optimistically ordered a hundred (100!) cards.
You have to understand: I’m a social person. I like networking. I like schmoozing. I’m good at elevator speeches. I like talking to new people, and even more, I like listening to them. So I had this vision: I’d swoop in there, conference swag notebook in one hand and bag of cute little cards in the other. I’d chat people up, charm them, and win new friends and followers for my own blog and for yeah write via my adorable cards. I was certain I’d run out because all of my conversations would go something like this:
Me: What brings you here?
My New Friend: I’m on the board of the largest and oldest writers’ group in Oregon. You?
Me: I manage a weekly writing challenge for the best site on the ‘net for writers who blog and bloggers who write. Here’s my card! Come check us out! Spread the word!
MNF: Wow! That’s amazing! What a fantastic little card! I will tell all our writers! You will immediately be flooded with new devotees! Please, give me more cards so I can hand them around to everyone I know!
And then I’d move on to My Next New Friend.
Only that’s not how it worked. I did give her my card, but instead of immediately moving on to MNNF, I spent a lovely half-hour with her. I promised to check out the writers’ group and she promised to check out yeah write. I was having so much fun I forgot to look around for MNNF.
It turns out that most bloggers are confirmed introverts. Instead of the sort of speed-dating experience I expected, I found myself having quiet, interesting conversations with a few individuals. At the Friday evening reception I found myself standing with author and PressPublish speaker Jerry Mahoney comparing marriage stories and photos of our kids. In the lunch line one man explained how he uses his blog to keep track of a beekeeping project. Over by the registration table I ran into a woman I’d seen all over Twitter and we talked about how much fun technical writing can be and her new book. She’s local, so hopefully we’ll keep in touch.
All in all, I think I only handed out six cards, but that’s okay. It was about the quality of the conversations, not the quantity. Next time, though, I’ll flood the place with my cards, assuming I have any left. They’re so dang cute they are going in everybody’s holiday card next year. Just sayin’.