Blogging While Brown 2009 Rocked!
If this weekend was a dessert, it’d be a Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake with pecans & caramel drizzled all over it. It was just THAT much awesome. Like seriously. I’ve been walking around just bursting out into a jig at random intervals. Talmbout *walk walk JIG JIG JIG walk walk scoot JIG walk*.
Sat down and take a journey with me as I recap my weekend that rocked. I even got pics for y’all so it’s like a Pop Up book. I’m even breaking my usual code and putting up actual pictures of myself and not my avatar. This is Part I, recapping the Blogging While Brown Conference. Part II will come tomorrow, recapping the Red Pump Project Meetup I threw afterwards.
So Friday was the beginning of the Blogging While Brown Conference. It happened to be one block from where I work too so it was MAD convenient. I registered and got my name tag and nifty Blogging While Brown Messenger bag. Since reception didn’t start till 7pm, I had time to kill so I went back to my office and chilled.
Around 6:45, I headed back to the University Center, and walking in, I could already tell who was sitting there by her awesome curly hair: Patrice of AFROBELLA! I walked up and she gave me the most welcoming hug! Her hair was soo luxurious. I oohed and aahed in my head. While we were chilling, in walked in April Davis of AroundHarlem. Another blogger I was glad to meet! Then, in walked my newest Blog Bestie, Senam of TweetMeBlack. We did the “It’s you” squeal because we had been exchanging foolish tweets all week. I already knew the conference was going to be dope!
Reception started and I was at a table with Afrobella, AroundHarlem, Cheryl of Jack & Jill Politics (GREAT mind!). Angel Laws of ConcreteLoop showed up too. Her site is one of the biggest Black entertainment blogs online. I was like “WHOA!” I wanted to do like in “Coming to America” with the accent “IT IS YOU!” but I behaved my life. Great conversation with these beautiful people with beautiful minds ensued for the next three hours. There was a spades tournament too but we sat it out because we know how serious spades can be. I didn’t feel like flipping tables that day.
Funniest moment of the night was when there was a raffle for an iPhone 3GS. The winner (at first) was Cheryl Contee of Jack & Jill Politics. But since she was a speaker at the conference, she was disqualified. The new winner was Adria Richards, self-proclaimed gadget geek (and one of my favorite people to meet at BWB). When she heard her name called, she got up while holding her chair and did a 360 degree twirl in celebration. iDied laughing, along with everyone else. Too funny!!!
By the time we all decided to leave the reception, it was about 10:30 pm. A lot of the conference folks went to M Lounge to cap off the night. I was too tired from (a) being up since 7am and (2) rocking 4 inch heels for 14 hours, so I bid all adieu for the night.
I got to the conference around 10am and realized that I had no reception on my BlackBerry and I didn’t have my laptop with me. *WALL SLIDE* What am I gon’ do with my lifespace? Surely not pay 100% attention to one task. iCan’t. I dipped out to call Moms to drop my laptop off for me because I just couldn’t function. I was cut off from ALL technology. *wall slides again* just thinking about it. Thankfully, she agreed but I had to wait a couple of hours.
Cheryl’s panel on how Jack & Jill Politics became what it was turned out to be mad interesting (btw, that blog is in the Library of Congress. Also, Cheryl was one of 15 bloggers from around the world that were invited to come to the G20 Summit in London this year. My mouth was agape when I found out. FOR THE WIN, indeed!)
There was another panel and then we broke for lunch. This is when we took our group photo. At this point, I had my laptop so all was well with the world again. The Earth’s axis was back at the right angle. We had lunch on the patio of the Conference Center and it was perfect temperature in the shade. Chicago was acting right weather-wise and I was pleased. I lunched with Patrice and Angel then walked around to meet and greet other bloggers, including Deborah Small of “Breaking Chains”. We had lunch and prayed that we wouldn’t get the itis.
Next panel was by Hajj Flemings, the Brand King and I live-tweeted it. Every other line he said was quotable. I wish his stream of consciousness could tweet. He even brought the term “Grustle” into my life. Everyone should have a grind (job) and a hustle (side passion) = Grustle. I wholeheartedly concur. His panel was so good that it kept folks’ itis at bay, which is no small accomplishment.
Then came the most compelling moment of the conference. It was a panel called “What’s next for traditional media?” and it was moderated by Monroe Anderson, with Eric Easter of EbonyJET on it. While the panel was going on, Cheryl got up and did a poll of the room, asking “How many people here read EbonyJet or the website regularly?” I think MAYBE one hand went up. The room was on *crickets* mode. Every one looked around and saw the response and rapidly turned to their laptops to tweet it. IT. WAS. AWESOME.
So I tweeted: “BWBConference registration: $175, CTA bus fare: $2.25. Atmosphere in room after @Ch3ryl’s question: PRICELESS!!!”
LOL it really was. That room’s air got thicker than the morning breath of a halitosis sufferer. She then proceeded to tell him that EbonyJET neglects their websites and blog with no updates and expect people to read. Mr. Easter didn’t give a sufficient answer though and even if he had, I didn’t hear much of what he said. I was too busy saying “OH SNAP! TREATED!” in my head.
After that panel was the last one of the day, about Bloggerpreneurs. Angel from ConcreteLoop and Fredric Mitchell were up. We were 45 minutes behind schedule and at this point, it was almost 5pm. I had to get dressed for the Red Pump Project Meetup so I could only stay for the first 20 or so minutes of the panel.
When Angel introduced herself, she said she started ConcreteLoop with $5 and now makes $250,000 a year from it. I almost fell out my chair. $250K? I wanted to go re-assess MY life when I heard that. Jeebs hold me in my chair before I do a *chair slide* unto the floor. I make lint! LOL Oh and did I mention that Angel is also 24? Same age as me. F my whole life. When I grow up, I wanna be just like her. Wait, I am (supposedly) grown. Is it too late for me? *wall slide with wailing*. LOL No but really. She inspired the hell outta me. She’s doing some BIG things over at ConcreteLoop.
I have to say that I LOVED the Blogging While Brown Conference. It was so refreshing being around people who were doing similar things as me and who looked like me. Plus, for once, I didn’t have to spend most conversations explaining Twitter and other tools to people. We ALL got it. The people were all so positive too.
Best thing about the conference though, was putting a face to all those words I’ve been reading for years. Meeting some of my favorite bloggers in person was the best part about it all. And to find out that they are just as awesome in person (if not more) was dope! The Blogging While Brown Conference is one of the ones I will be making an annual trip (by God’s grace). See y’all in 2010. We’re voting now on what city it should be in. My vote is DC.
*I know I missed a lot of bloggers I met in this post. Do a Twitter search of the hashtag #bwb and you will see all the live-tweets and you’ll know who was there.