In a profusion of handshaking, hugs and exasperated gritted teethed comments about how there could possibly be no wifi at a bloggers conference, I saw my Idon'tknowwhats this weekend at TBEX. My peeps? My tribe? My friends? My coworkers? Yes on many counts.
TBEX is the Travel Bloggers Exchange, and it was a two day set of panels of VITBs (very important travel bloggers) talking about what they think, what they know, and answering (and occasionally not answering) questions from the audience. This year's was TBEX '10, following a tiny but well-attended TBEX '09 that followed last year's Blogher in Chicago.. There was a palpable nervousness in the crowd, as if there was a limited amount of real estate, and people weren't sure if they'd brought enough fencing to stake their claim. Or if they'd get the spot with the well. One of the speakers, a prime example of a VITB, actually one probably in the running for MITB) made reference to there being enough internet for all of us. I think he's right. I also think you should just do what you like, and what you're good at, and figure the rest out later. But then, I always was a bit of a Pollyana (insert HTML code for laughter here).
What I was left with after the conference was that I felt that there was a lack of clarity. Blogging was painted with the same brush as writing for the web, ethics and the law were treated as one in the same (gah! nerd alert, I graduated from law school, it was deadly, and wow are ethics and law ever not the same). I'm also painfully careful with my words, and I was frustrated by people's inability or unwillingness to tease out the difference between ads and affinity arrangements, group and personal blogs, etc. I would also like to have seen breakout groups to get some decisions made, and for people to join forces with their like-minded souls.
But it was great to rub shoulders with some true friends, people I've known online and in person for years, some of whom I'd be hard-pressed to run into anywhere but TBEX. I also met some new keepers and if they like me, too, maybe they're reading here too and nodding. An abridged version of a piece of mine was read as part of the community keynote hosted by Pam Mandel and Mike Barish and it's the first time I've ever heard my voice coming out of someone else's mouth (in this case Pam Mandel's, and her ilk was definitely already mentioned in the paragraph above). I was thinking I'd like to do that again. It also made me want to do voice posts, something I've played around with before but never really figured out. Oh, blogspot, how you mock me. Tune in for OMG, I'm trying to move to Wordpress and I am freaking the everlovingsosueme out.
Coworkers were in abundance, people from Matador, people from NileGuide, people from Bootsnall. Some I joked and laughed with, some were more waves from across the room. Apologies for that if it irked you.
And I hate to say it, but one of the best things that happened to me all weekend was that I came back to my mother's house and for the first time in eons, I was privy to a secret twinkling roving lightshow put on my fireflies. And I've had them on the brain since I wrote a story for Bootsnall about them (and other living things that bioluminesce). And on the one hand, I was so delighted to see them that I dropped my stuff in the middle of the lawn to cup my hands around them and watch them glow. And on the other hand, I was secretly thankful that I hadn't written an article about something nasty, like a centipede invasion.
Because that would have been even worse than two days without Wifi.
Thank you to all, and to all a good night.