This week, BlogHer put out a call for photos, BlogHer Conferences in Pictures: The Early Years, 2005-2009, which prompted me to go looking for photos from the inaugural conference held in San Jose in 2005. As it turned out, I didn't really have any.
Then I went back and looked at my blog posts about the event. There was one brief post about the conference itself, one about touring the Winchester Mystery House the day I arrived, and one about going to the San Jose Flea Market and doing some other sightseeing with Cagey the day we left.
As hard as it is to believe now that I'm preparing for my sixth BlogHer Conference, the first one didn't loom all that large at the time. Here's how it all went down:
I'd been blogging for more than a year when I heard about a women's blogging conference being held in San Jose. I thought it sounded like something I'd enjoy, so I enlisted Cagey as a traveling companion and roommate because who wouldn't want to vacation in California?
When we arrived, we got a rental car and set off to find something to eat. Next on our agenda was a tour of the Winchester mansion, which we both considered a special bonus of the conference's San Jose location.
We were both looking forward to meeting bloggers, but we timed things wrong for dinner, so we didn't end up socializing with anyone the first evening. The important thing to keep in mind is that we didn't know anyone at the conference. That statement blows my mind because I know so many bloggers now, but at the time I hadn't met any non-local bloggers in person.
As I mentioned in my one post about the conference, I did get to meet some bloggers whose blogs I'd been reading regularly, including Yvonne DiVita, Toby Bloomberg, Amy Gahran, Elisa Camahort, Jory DesJardins, Susannah Gardner and Eden Kennedy. It's not like me to be shy when it comes to meeting people, but somehow I failed to introduce myself to Alice Bradley. (I rectified that the following year). I also met Lisa Stone, Liz Rizzo, Ronni Bennett and Tish Grier that first year, among many others, I'm sure.
However, I didn't think to take photos during the conference at all even though I practically filled up my camera while we were sightseeing.
I remember lots of little details: the men's restrooms at the convention center changed into women's restrooms, the opening slideshow, the tables in the atrium where we hung out between sessions. Memories will just have to suffice, though.
To be perfectly honest, I really didn't learn my lesson about the photos until 2007. My photos from 2006 are sparse as well and mostly show big, amorphous groups - except for this good one of Toby Bloomberg, Susan Getgood and Yvonne DiVita:
At the time, I had no idea how important BlogHer and the people I met there would become in my life and career. Now I can't imagine a year going by without my attending a BlogHer Conference.
I'm very much looking forward to this year's conference, especially since I'll be speaking on a panel. As always, the highlight will be tracking down my favorite bloggers and talking to them in person. It's less than a month away. I can hardly wait!