Anyway, if you are a writer, or a blogger, than you needed to be at this event. Seriously, this is the best conference I have ever attended. No shade all the other conferences I have gone to but there is something fantastic about finally getting an opportunity to meet other like-minded people. I mean, seriously, how many writing conventions, especially writing conferences for Black folks, are there really?
Besides all the great information, Blogging While Brown proved to be an excellent opportunity to network, which is saying a lot considering my general disdain for networking. Yeah I know it is important, especially if you are trying to make moves in your respective field. However, I could never truly engage myself in the process of schmoozing and business card exchanging. And I finally figured out why.
You see, there isn’t much value, for me at least, at many of the networking events; I have attended in the past. It might be cool, if you are trying to connect with people in Fortune 500 companies or jockeying for a corporate position but for folks in more creative, less button down professions, such as being a journalist or a blogger – or a journalist/blogger - chances are you end up collecting business cards, which will amount to nothing more than clutter in the bottom of your purse.
I have been at networking events where I have told a person, usually some dude in a striped button-down shirt and bow tie, that I am a writer and the response I get back is something like, “Oh, you’re a writer? Well that’s interesting. I once wrote a poem once in elementary school about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was a good poem and I got an ‘A.’ I thought about writing professionally but there is no money. Anyway, where have I seen your work?” True story. As if he hadn’t seen my writing, it doesn’t exist. But I smile politely through gritted teeth knowing damn well his poor conceived tribute to the I Have A Dream speech he performed in front of the 2nd grade class is nowhere close to the time and effort I have put into my craft. I used to take it personally but I too noticed the same reception from the bow ties when I tell them that my full time gig is in the non-profit field. Then it is, “Oh that’s interesting. I once volunteered in a soup kitchen on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.” And that’s why I stopped going to these events.
Anyway, there is nothing like being surrounded by your own elk. I know I said this already but I just have to say it again. Folks, who are smart, worldly, talkative and have an opinion on just about every topic under the sun. There were relationship bloggers and fashion and beauty bloggers, political bloggers and bloggers like me, who lack a clear niche and whose personal space on the web mimics the chaotic mess that exist in their minds. Being at the conference I feel like that little girl in the film Rabbit Proof Fence, who had been maliciously separated from her family and decided walked through hundreds of miles of harsh Australian back to be reunited with her clan - except I just caught the subway downtown Philadelphia. But I did drive for the evening workshop and man, that traffic was brutal.