I just got home from BlogHer ’14 in San Jose, California, which was the 10th anniversary of the BlogHer conference. Ten years – that’s like at least 30 in internet years. Maybe 50. Either way, it makes me an old blogger.
Of those ten conferences, I’ve attended nine. My first BlogHer conference was the second ever. It was also in San Jose in 2006, when I was a new blogger, just becoming comfortable with sharing my thoughts for the general public online, and terrified of putting myself out there in person at the event.
I wasn’t going to attend, but then I won a free ticket to the conference in Erin’s giveaway. So I found the courage and did it, and I met some wonderful women, many of whom I’m still friends with today. And it was at that conference that I knew that I wasn’t giving up blogging any time soon. I’ve been to every BlogHer since then.
It’s fun to look back at how much has changed since then. I started blogging in November 2005, before Twitter or Instagram, and before people started blogs with the intent of making money from them. Cordy was a year old, still two years away from the autism diagnosis, but I felt lost in my role as a mother. I didn’t have a lot of local mom friends, I had trouble finding playgroups that accommodated working moms, and I was depressed. Blogs filled the role of a virtual community for me to learn, share and commiserate. I began by reading several blogs, then slowly adding my thoughts as comments on posts, and then I took the plunge and started my own blog.
And now? I have not one but two kids, I’m way outside of the baby years, and I feel like I’m not doing too bad at this whole mom thing, even with autism added to the mix. Actually, it’s because of my blogging community that I feel more confident in my parenting, and without this community I don’t know how I would have navigated the early years after the autism diagnosis, or even something as mundane as how to handle sibling rivalry.
I’ve been through school for an additional degree since I started blogging, worked as an RN, and now I work for BlogHer. I’ve lost 80 pounds by using my online support network to help me reach my goals. And overall? I’ve never been happier. My life is so much richer for all of the people I’ve been able to connect with over the years because of blogging.
This year at BlogHer we were all encouraged to participate in the #selfiebration, so I took the opportunity to make sure I was in photos with friends, colleagues, and women I admire.
There are so many inspiring experiences I’ve had in the last ten years, many of which I wouldn’t have ever guessed would happen ten years ago. And it all started with this little blog, and with BlogHer. Happy 10th anniversary, BlogHer – I can’t wait to see what’s to come!