Treasuring The Handwritten Card
BlogHer 11 was my very first BlogHer conference. I loved so many aspects of attending, but one stands out in my mind, 6 months later, as having made a lasting impact.
Hallmark was one of the sponsors at BlogHer11, and they hosted a Recharge Suite where they provided a relaxing, beautifully lit, comfortable space to not only juice up your electronics, but chill out and center yourself. To take a moment for you amidst the sessions, events, and unrelenting socialization.
The wonderful women at Hallmark encouraged conference-goers to sit and chat, to partake of the gourmet chocolate chip cookies and other refreshments in the suite. We were invited to make use of the private skype stations they had set up to make calls to friends and family back home, and to investigate and try out the new recordable storybooks in their line of products.
My favorite aspect of the Hallmark Suite at Blogher was the unique and generous way that greeting cards were invited to be shared. Hallmark provided free greeting cards, with no limit on amount, for conference attendees to write in, address, and send to loved ones outside the conference, free of charge.
We were also encouraged to send cards to other conference attendees. Just by writing the twitter username of the person we wished to gift with a card, Hallmark would @ them and announce that they had mail waiting in the Hallmark suite. In another generous move, if an attendee didn't get to the suite, or didn't receive the alert until after the conference, Hallmark contacted the recipient for postal information and sent the card to them at home.
I'm a words person. I love to encourage others. I was over-the-moon excited that I could take a few minutes and hand-write a Hallmark card to some of my favorite blogging friends, and give them a small gift from me to take home from BlogHer. One of the cards I sent was to my friend Eileen.
I had hoped that my words would mean something to her. I treasure her friendship, made totally over twitter, and BlogHer 11 was our first chance to meet in person. We were both so happy that our friendship transitioned easily into real life, and found that we were both as authentic as we had seemed to each other online.
I asked Eileen about receiving the card,and she had this to say: "I get messages and emails and tweets all day long, but this card was different. This card was a symbol that my virtual world and my real world had crossed paths. Your card means so much to me. It showed me that we connected here in the real world and that our connection was more than something online. The card meant we were real-world friends."
BlogHer's 2011 conference and the Hallmark Suite contributed to creating a lot of special communication, deep bonds of friendship, and important memories. The encouragement from the staff planning the suite at BlogHer to gift others with handwitten cards in the age of tweets, texts, e-cards, and blog comments shows a true committment to real communication. I'm so grateful to have had an opportunity to give my words to my friends in such a memorable and significant way.
If you've attended a conference where Hallmark has offered a card-sending suite, did you participate? If you attended a conference where one was offered, would sending or receiving cards be a fulfilling experience for you?