BlogHer's Best-Kept Secret
Tucked away in a corner of the BlogHer website is a special page. It’s an exciting page that changes every day. It’s a social page where BlogHer pros, casual BlogHer members, and first-time members all make appearances. When I wake up in the morning, I can never be sure quite what I’m going to find on that page, except I know I’ll find something that will make me laugh and something that will leave me pondering, and I know it’ll be fun.
I’m talking about the Chatter page.
I’m certainly not a Chatter old-timer, but I’ve been hanging around there long enough to recognize and appreciate its value. When I started my blog and first began exploring BlogHer a little over a year ago, I felt very small and a little lost on this big site. I didn’t know how I could participate, and I didn’t feel that I had very much to offer. I found out that I couldn’t submit my blog because I couldn’t include advertising on it, and I thought there was nothing more I could do. (I was wildly wrong on that point. There's so much more I can do.) I commented on others’ posts, but I wanted to make more of a connection with other BlogHer members.
That’s when I discovered Chatter for the first time, and I saw that even beyond posts, there were others on the site who would open themselves up to connecting, interacting, and making friends. I wasn’t able to fully settle in right from my first Chatter post — life just doesn’t work like that. I had to get to know the people there, had to find a way to fit myself into the rhythm of the Chatter world. It didn’t take long at all.
When the project that my blog supports took a steep nosedive last winter, I dropped off BlogHer for a while. I spent months working to salvage my project, and when I was ready, I made a return to BlogHer. I went straight back to Chatter, and this time I’ve dug in even more deeply with the intent to stay. With the encouragement of my Chatter tribemates, I’ve even started posting articles to the site.
If you think you might want to check out Chatter, let me describe what you can find there.
When posting to Chatter, there’s a 140-character limit, like Twitter. You can leave links, but you should check to make sure your link doesn’t get cut off. When replying to a Chatter comment, you can go much longer than 140 characters — a very helpful setup for those of us in Chatter who like to, well, chatter.
As with any other social forum, you can use Chatter in the way that suits you best. Some people stop by simply to leave a link to their most recent blog post. Some people leave a daily comment, something thoughtful or inspirational. Every day, several new people discovering BlogHer for the first time drop into Chatter and say hello.
Then there are the regulars. They’re the real reason that I love Chatter.
The regulars make Chatter worth following. I often hear tales about the puppy. I was there when a humorous husband hijacked an account and trolled Chatter. I hear about what people are struggling with, and sometimes I share my struggles as well. On any given day, I usually know how many cups of coffee certain people have had. I hear about new furniture arriving, fake husbands and cats, and the progress of remodeling projects.
And somehow, inevitably, the discussion always returns to food. Why is that? I suspect it’s the same phenomenon that causes people at a house party to gravitate toward the kitchen.
BlogHer’s best-kept secret isn’t the Chatter page itself. It’s that there’s a Chatter tribe, a family of BlogHer members who share their lives. If you just glance at Chatter once, twice, three times, you might not be able to see it and understand how it works. But if you linger, if you’re willing to sit and listen for a bit longer, you’ll discover a lot of warmth there. Like I did.
Thank you, Chatter tribe, for always making me feel so at home on BlogHer.