"My God," she said, "are you a hoosier?"
I admitted I was.
"I'm a Hoosier, too," she crowed. "Nobody has to be ashamed of being a Hoosier."
"I'm not," I said. "I never knew anybody who was." – Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle
Let's get one thing straight: I am fine with my business relationship vis à vis BlogHer. I mostly like their ads, and I definitely like the traffic I receive as a result of being listed in the Life section of BlogHer's directory. Do I wish I made more money than the truly laughable amount I receive every three-months-ish? Well yes, but maybe you guys can click on that handsome ad over on the right and that way I can share the bounty with you.
But you know, I don't really relish even leaving tiny tooth impressions on the hand that feeds me, even if meagerly. So I won't. I will instead focus on something that could be categorized as BlogHer-related, but is actually people-related: the fact that because people belong to a group in some capabilities, they think they automatically MUST belong to a group in all capabilities.
It's a peeve of mine.
In case you don't keep up with what could be known as the Blogs of Repute around the webosphere, apparently there were –apart from the drunken revelry, hugs and merriment that usually come with the BlogHer conference– several skirmishes and misunderstandings where some people felt skirmished and misunderstood and most of all alone in a cliqueish universe of people.
So pretty much, it seems that versions of what happens every year, happened. Some people love each other and forge great friendships; some people meet and pass each other like ships in the night from there on out; and some people hate it and want to let the world know that they hated it. Meanwhile, the mommyblogosphere feels they have to defend themselves while still asserting that they love everyone and certainly ALL mommies; and the non-mommyblogosphere gets to roll their eyes while still trying to strengthen their own imaginary bonds– some strong and some very, very weak.
In the meantime, bloggers who didn't go to BlogHer are still writing about things other than BlogHer– both relevant and irrelevant to the world and themselves and the advancement of their blogging careers.
I think that there is a labeling problem here.
Some people think that just by virtue of belonging in a large category –say, for instance, women who've acquired or produced offspring– that the other members in that category have a responsibility to like them and to agree with every single thing they say, much in the way that some people are happy to find that they are both from Indiana or that they wear shoe size 8.5 medium (any half-eighties out there? W00t!).
And some people understand that, more than a category, being a part of community is not a passive act where you just qualify by having an arbitrary set of requirements. Being part of a community, especially a community of writers, is an ongoing labor with its ups and downs. being part of a community is not automatic, though it sometimes feels that way.
A true community, like parts of the mommy blogosphere, is a place where people do cooperate with one another and actually know each other and –more importantly and yet most tacitly implied, since it's rude to compare and point– who have similar ethos and goals in mind (i.e. you only like mommies who think just like you). The rest is nothing but a sad, bloated granfalloon, filled with resentful and anonymous individuals who would probably be better off giving up and yielding to Groucho Marx's immortal words:
WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A
In the blogging world, you reap what you sow. This means that if you want to get more readers sometimes you have to do really obnoxious things such as Twittering a million thoughts a day, each more banal than the next in hopes that people will click on one of your million posts so maybe you'll go away. Or it can include emailing or Facebooking people about your posts being up; or commenting often and a lot in the blogs of the Bloggers of Repute; or it can include going to BlogHer and making friends and reading each other's blogs.
Or most infrequently, it can include you writing so brilliantly and so well that you make your readers laugh and weep, and they feel moved enough to pass your link along to friends.
Dear blogosphere: you do reap what you sow. So if you sow discontent, desperation, and middle-school feelings, you will get those back in spades.
Having said that, just because you sow discontent, desperation, and middle-school feelings, it doesn't mean that you have to create a group to voice that hatred.