I don't know if you know, but I co-organize an event every year that is technically a blogging meet-up but is really just one giant excuse to clink glasses with internet friends and eat a lot of food. (Of course I'm involved in an event that includes eating a lot of food.)
It's called The Blathering and it's right around the corner. I wanted to write about the event because we just added a slew of fun activities to the agenda and I'm especially excited about the 5K run/walk I'm organizing. Also, the registration deadline is looming and I just really want you (or you or you or you) to snatch up one of the last ten spots. I'm a little afraid this all sounds weird and salesy but I swear I don't make any money if you do sign up*. I just get to meet you, and that's what I'm really excited about. Getting to meet you.
*If you'd like to just give me money, though, let's absolutely talk.
It's a great event if you already know people coming and you're already good friends with those people, this is definitely true and can be intimidating if you don't fall into those two categories. But it's also a great event if you don't know a soul before showing up, I swear. It's worth the leap of blogging faith.
See, it's not just an event to hang out with people you've been close with for years--although it is that and I'm so glad it's that--but it's also an event to meet new, downright awesome people you've never heard of.
For example, I didn't know anything about Erica before last year's Blathering, and now she's one of my favorite people online. She'll hate that I just wrote that, but it's true. I'm so glad she came, I'm so glad I talked to her (albeit too briefly), and then started reading her, and then reached out and begged her to write for Food Lush. She's hilarious, she can make a mean egg dish, and she lives in Austin, so I've gotten to see her since last year's event, even. I think we'll be friends for a while, aside from blogging, unless all these compliments make her swear off speaking to me forever.
But, I just love that this is going to happen for other people too--that you'll show up and end up clicking with someone you've never heard of, and they'll turn out to be an actual no-shit friend afterwards.
Last night, I spent a little time in my e-mail archives and stumbled upon an unrelated email from Janssen. In that email she said:
"I know some people think it's all weird to care about people who you've never met, but what could possibly be weird about expanding the circle of people for whom you can be absolutely thrilled with when something good happens?"
Reading this reminded me of The Blathering and why I love it so much. It's not just a way to take that expanded circle of people for whom you can be absolutely thrilled with when something good happens and have drinks with them in person. Although I am ever grateful that it IS in part this.
It's a chance to add brand new people to that circle you would have never met otherwise, perhaps not even online.
If you're on the fence about registering, I hope you'll come.