BlogHer 13 Buddy System: tell me what you think of this idea!
Hi, my name is Linda. I have many fine qualities. I'm a good wife and mother, I'm good at my job, I sometimes write some pretty hilarious stuff, and I am a fabulous online networker. But put me, face-to-face, in a room of people I don't know, and I'm riddled with social anxiety. This is what happened to me when I previously attended a BlogHer conference.
The night of the pre-conference parties, I summoned my courage and walked into the hotel alone and then I just couldn't do it. I couldn't do it. I bought ice cream, went to my hotel room, and blogged my shame.
In the end, the conference was awesome because a few kind and wonderful BlogHer people whom I knew from online interactions took me under their wings and quelled my anxiety. And it felt wonderful to be a part of the bigger BlogHer community and I had a fabulous time at the conference.
And yet, when it was time to do it again, that little voice... that insidious little voice... it stopped me. Damn her!
So, BlogHer12 just ended and I watched, again, from the sidelines wanting to kick that little voice because WHY DO I LET HER HOLD ME BACK?
One thing I know when I am dealing with my personal struggles - any personal struggles - is this: If I struggle with something, there is a damn good chance that many others struggle likewise. It is, therefore, my hypothesis that there are lots of people like me who want to be part of the BlogHer conferences, the physical connection of the online community, but cannot seem to make the leap.
My first question to you all then is this: Am I right? Are there others like me out there?
Let's assume we validate that there are. Now what?
This leads to my idea. We need a BlogHer version of Craig's List Personals:
Wanted: Partner for BlogHer13. Preferrably an irreverent humor blogger who doesn't mind a roommate who may or may not snore. Should be someone who will go into pre-conference parties by my side and stay there until I've had a minimum of two drinks. Prefer someone who will sit with me in at least some of the sessions and laugh raucously when I whisper in your ear. Require someone to meet up with me for lunch so I don't feel like a loser. Must be open to being a go-to person for when my social anxiety runs high - may be required to scratch me behind the ear until I relax so much my leg starts twitching. Must be willing to let me blog the conference antics, including the crazy-hair photo of you right after you wake up before having coffee.
Serious inquiries only. Wait... let me rephrase that last bit.
So that's the idea at a high level - a way of matching single-conference-attendees up in a buddy system of some sort.
I figure the sooner the better - registration opens for BlogHer 13 in less than a month! There may be people out there who will register to attend if they have this BlogHer Conference Security Blanket. Plus, I figure these pairings will benefit from having more time to get to know each other.
And it doesn't just have to be the singles. It can be a Big Sister / Little Sister thing. Let's say someone like, oh, I don't know, Jenny Lawson, for example, wanted to connect with me, I'd be OK with that too, I guess. Of course, it would probably take me a year just to figure out what sort of creepy taxidermied animal I should bring for a gift, but it would be worth it, I bet.
When I start thinking of the logistics of this, I can see multiple ways to go about it. Could be a simple approach whereby BlogHer sets forth a group/forum for people to go find their own matches, maybe promotes it and encourages people to connect there to find a conference buddy. Or even somethign more sophisticated - a web-form questionaire that takes in key information and then, using some sort of eHarmony kind of matching algorithm, finds suitable connections.
I would be willing to take a role in helping make it happen if this is perceived by others as a valuable and feasible idea. I'd be doing it for the people, because I'm such a giving and generous person. I'd be doing it purely from the goodness of my heart.
It would have nothing at all to do with my own social anxiety. Uh-uh. Not a thing.