BlogHer '10 - the micro Hollywood

{This post is sprinkled with photos of women who are The Real Deal. Just so you know. Links to them are at the end of the post.}

All around the bloggiverse, posts are being written about BlogHer '10. Posts that are filled with excitement and joy and fear and disappointment. Posts that are filled with feelings. loads of feelings. If I'm being honest, I'm hesitant to raise and add my voice to this current choir. Maybe because I'm afraid it won't be heard and I want to believe it matters. Or maybe because I know many of my readers aren't bloggers so blogging about a blogging conference and all of its strange nuances would, for them, be too foreign to understand. I don't know. I guess I'm posting this because what I have to say is universal, and maybe it'll shed some light on what is currently a mostly unknown subculture of good things like community and connection and change and creativity...with a pretty gross underbelly.

I shall now explain.

My post yesterday was about Wednesdays events and I said I'd go on today with Thursday. I will do just that, all the while waxing philosophical on ego. I hope that's okay with you.

As a woman new to recovery from alcoholism, I'm striving to keep my ego in check. It's not that I was a totally self-centered attention-seeking person while drinking, I was actually nearly the opposite. I struggled with insecurity in a way that brought too much navel-gazing, its own particular brand of selfishness. What I'm working on is thinking less of myself not when considering my worth, but less of myself in the sense of thinking more of others. Oh, how I'm learning not everything is about ME. I simply want to do the next right thing with love. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This thinking keeps me more in the moment than anything ever has and it was terribly good to bring it along to New York City and to BlogHer '10--two places of great self-indulgent excess, which brings on the opposite of thinking more of others. (No offense New York City and BlogHer. I still love you. Just speaking the truth here, folks.)

When I sat with Maggie and talked with our literary agent (yes, SURPRISE! Maggie and I will be writing our story/stories together!) and then when I signed on the line and watched Maggie do the same, I was nothing other than peaceful. I wasn't proud. I wasn't scared. I was simply amazed and grateful. The meeting could not have gone better. I'm blown away by what a reputable and conscientious agency we've found ourselves a part of. Right there in self-focused New York, hidden in a tall building, is the LJK Agency...where Meg and Larry treated Maggie and I not like a commodity, but like people they really care about. Their repuation gives them reason to exude some pride, but that wasn't the case. They were authentic and kind and I thank them right here and now for that. It means much.

That same night, I received a BlogLuxe Award. It was handed to me by the absolutely amazing duo of Deb and Cecily. And there I was again. Just there, accepting and feeling humbled and maybe even a little silly. It's not that I think I don't deserve it. I believe in what I'm doing here. I received an award that says "Blog You've Learned The Most From," and I'm absolutely honored that what I've shared here about addiction and motherhood was recognized. It felt good, but not too good, I guess that's what I'm saying.

And even with that underlying peace, I was overwhelmed throughout the night, running from party to party, some private and some not. This conference is nothing short of chaotic, so many people, so little time, so much stretching of yourself in new situations, so much missing of home, so much.

On the one hand, there's the opportunity to stand face-to-face with people who have impacted your life from afar for a long time. It's so good (but only when they receive you kindly, am I right BlogHer friends?). And then there are the surprise gifts waiting in your room and the free food and drinks and some quality sessions to attend, and the keynotes, oh how I love the community keynotes--there's nothing like listening to fellow writers read their words from a stage, powerful and inspiring and funny and heart-wrenching. It's my favorite. So yes, there is a whole lotta good going on. While I walked around with a grin on my face over the good most of the time, I also found the pins, those nasty bubble-bursting pricklers, striking out. I received an email this morning from a lovely blog friend that confirmed I needed to post my thoughts and feelings on the pins.

You see, the blog world, especially when encapsulated in such a way as BlogHer (2,400 women in one place), is what I call "a microcosm of Hollywood." It's a subculture, one riddled with ego and notoriety and over-indulgence. The conference is Hollywood-esque, complete with secret underground private parties for only the VMIP (Very Most Important People). So while these beautiful things were happening for me and around me and in the faces I was so happy to see, there was so much thinking and talking to do about this strange "Internet fame" phenomenon.

(Internet fame is a bit of an oxymoron, no? I mean, walk some "Internet famous" bloggers down the streets of New York and ask 20 people if they know said blogger...yeah, I think you know where I'm going with that.)

So back to the private parties. I was invited to a few and I went to some and not to others, opting to spend quality time with friends who live too far away instead. What I noticed at these parties is that the companies that invite bloggers with large readerships are only inviting them for that reason--their readership or visibility on the internet, if you will. Which makes sense, it's just business. And what does that really mean in the end, you know? They want me there to blog about a product. This is all fine and good, unless you're me, and you find more value in raw and real relationship and you'd rather sit for hours and talk with just a small group of women you've come to know and love through words. If that's the case, you might get excited to be invited and then find yourself standing there being snubbed by The Most Well-Knowns and wishing you were with your friends. I digress.

My point? Within hours of these two good things happening on Thursday (the book and the award), I experienced being completely ignored while talking to directly to women who do the same thing I do, women who I expected to be warm and accepting. Then I watched the same thing happen to blog friends and strangers, when they walked up to a blogger they admire and were then treated as if they were a small child, annoying and loud.

It's sad to me, that I have to come away from something so beautiful, having my energy drained by something so ridiculous. I can't help it...I'm a thinker and I'm trying to figure it out. I wanted to believe that maybe these people were just tired or distracted or insecure or lost, and I'm sure there's some of all of that in there, but that doesn't stop me from wishing it would change. It doesn't prevent me from wanting to stomp my feet and scream out some direction on human decency and common courtesy. I don't care what the excuse, simply smile. If that's all you can do, just smile. Take a cue from someone who is more known, Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman--watch her kindness with strangers in the lobby, out of the comfort zone of her home, giving back. That's what she does, so gracefully, and we see it and appreciate it.

I think I'm the most angry about these arrogant attitudes because they are stealing something precious, this connection and avenue toward creativity and dreams, from gifted rock stars like my friend who emailed me this morning, and my friends who I shared a cab and plane with on the way home. Friends who are hurting and feel like they just jumped in a time machine and landed in a strange New York BlogHer High School, complete with being told to walk away or that they won't receive special gifts because they're not in the "first Tier."

You hurt my friends, I get pissed, you know what I mean?

Yeah, this is when I get angry, and there's nothing I can do about it here but spill out my heart-gut in the hope that bloggers who have fallen into arrogance may read this and remember the much bigger picture. We really are all the same, friends. We are. There are women with little itty bitty tiny readerships with talent buried under the fact that they are not yet known--they are influential and gracious change-agents, that's what they are. There is so much grace and beauty in their lives and they are all filled up with dreams that are just waiting to be uncovered and thrown out to better the world. And you are treating them like less. You treated me like less. This continues to make no sense to me.

In pretty much anything in life, the reality is that people think they have to do a bit of clawing to get to the top. Call me naive, but I don't think that's true. I believe that long-lasting success will only survive in the lives of those who see the bigger picture, the one outside of themselves.

So friends, I appreciate your emails and open and honest conversations about how you were treated and how I was treated. I'm sorry.

What do we do next, you ask? We walk away knowing we will not drink the kool-aid, we'll just keep doing our thing. We will know what we are not and that we will never be there, and we will be grateful for that, for being exactly who we are and for doing exactly what we do. We will keep the bigger picture in mind, holding perspective and each other in our hearts and minds while we blaze a path with creativity and connection. This means we must stick around, we kind-to-others-do-gooders. Rock on, my sweet friends. Don't you dare quit. The loss would be too great. I love you.

(End Fluffy and Cheesy Rant)

There. I got that out. It totally takes away from that whole book and award thing, huh? Sorry to be such a downer while hoping to inspire, but it had to be said. It just did.

{Pictured from top to bottom:
Kim-Prairie Mama . Amanda-HushAmanda . Kristen-Rage Against the Minivan and Christine-welcome to my brain . Ann-Ann's Rants . Maggie-Okay,Fine,Dammit . Corinne-Trains,Tutus, and Tea time and Ellie-One Crafty Mother . Suzi-Pink Vanilla Cupcakes and Molly-The Snyder 5}

93 clicked right here to comment:

Maria Melee said...

I am heartbroken that we didn't get a chance to connect. I wish I could have seen you collect your award! (I didn't manage to RSVP in time for that.)

I think I was in a fluffy cloud of (nausea) the whole weekend because unlike last year I didn't witness any shitty behavior. The tiers are kind of hard for me to understand. I mean, I definitely could see that some groups were doing pretty high profile things (the Today Show, swanky parties) but I also saw groups of women who were clearly close friends, and the groups seemed kind of a mix as far as readership size goes.

(Though honestly I have no idea how to gauge readership size either!)

I have no idea why I'm rambling this much.

Anyway, I'm sorry your experience was not 100% amazing because I feel like you deserve a 100% amazing experience.

Also CONGRATS!! on the agent. You and Maggie inspire me in ways I can't put into words here.

Please know I had a special hug for you.

Heather said...

I think this is brilliant. I read what Molly said yesterday, and now you today...and I am sure that I will never, ever attend....not because I don't think it would be fun and exciting, but because my world--the people I'd be interested in actually having a conversation with--would be better served if I cooked a chicken and you brought the casserole. You know what I mean?

Wendi said...

Very well said.

I'd rather talk to a nice person with 10 readers than an asshole with 100,000.

It was great meeting you, Heather!

Allison Zapata said...

LOVE THIS!! I was a little let down by people I was so excited to meet. They seemed nicer when they lived in my computer :)

Adventures In Babywearing said...

That top photo. Seriously, I want a copy, in a frame, on my sofa table.

I'm serious.

Also, I have thought a lot about this stuff and I wasn't even at blogher this year. I think what happens is, we see who is really behind the curtain. And I have a WHOLE LONG COMMENT I'd love to write about my thoughts about it, but rather I am going to save it for our next in person talk, which I hope is much sooner than later.

Also, snap to it on that photo.


MommyJ said...

Seems like everyone is mentioning how gracious and lovely pioneer woman is. I so want to be invited into her kitchen.

Unrelated to your post... you have great hair. Really. I want my hair to do what your does when I wear mine on the curlier side of things. So very cute.

And now about BlogHer, I've entertained the possibility of going before, but I always feel so hugely intimidated by the sheer size of it all. I think, what I want to do is host a mountain retreat and gather together with some wonderful blogging friends so we can cook good food and stay up all night talking and laughing. Would you like to come?

Sarah said...

So Goose,
You and that heart-gut get us every time. Thank you for your words and your honesty and you. You are so much more than enough that I can't even put it into words. And now after a lasting hug and some words in person, I feel the change that these connections really bring to our lives.

Heather of the EO said...

Maria, Thank you so much. Yes, I saw "bigger" bloggers mixed with "smaller" bloggers, too. Most people are very kind and open, definitely.

Just saying. Thank you again.

And yes, friends. I think meeting for casseroles or smaller events is THE BEST.

I don't mean to say that BlogHer totally sucks...it doesn't. It gives me the opportunity to see much-loved friends, and so I love it for that. Truly.

One Crafty Mother said...

Oh, friend. You speak the truth with grace and honesty. I hope it inspires people who may be licking some wounds to keep swinging because they are worth it. You're worth it. I'm worth it.

I'm finally making peace with all the yuck I witnessed, telling myself that it takes all kinds to make the world go 'round, and that just because they are like that doesn't mean I am like that, or that I want to be like that. I'm actually grateful, now, to have witnessed all the ugly with all the good, because it cemented for me why I'm here.

Your words are beautiful, Heather. Thanks for turning me on to other real women like you.


My Bottle's Up! said...

first of all, you are so beautiful... just truly gorgeous in a multitude of ways. and i always, ALWAYS admire your perspective because it comes from a place of purity.

that being said, i read this, LOVING the pictures... and found myself nodding my head and thinking, "THIS is why i gave my ticket away to someone who had a KICK ASS weekend."

instead, i chose to pop in to NYC on sunday, once "the stuff" was done, and visit with those few who i love and adore.

and i wouldn't change it for anything... except maybe to have spent a bit of time with you.

well said lady.

MollyinMinn said...

I love you dear friend. Thank you for being you. We are all wonderful and flawed and wonderful despite our flaws. Thanks for seeing that. For helping me remember that. Thank you.

Hope to get to see you in person again soon.

This Heavenly Life said...

If I could follow you a hundred more times, I would. This post states all that I worry and wonder about BlogHer. The high-school-ness of it all.

Because I'm JUST now getting past the point where I can no longer worry about what 'those girls' think/thought about me, and I don't want to go back. It's a shame that adults -- mature, reasonable, adults -- couldn't have acted more graciously. And I know you aren't saying the whole conference was fraught with this mess, but to have any of it present? Is too bad.

I like nice people :)

Alecia @ Savings and Stewardship said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who found a bit of air seeping out of her balloon. It was a confusing mixture of emotions and events at BlogHer & I'm walking away a bit too dejected - I'm not sure I could attend again and still remain a whole.

I would have loved to have met you!

Heather of the EO said...

Steph, YES. Behind the curtain exactly. Let me add that more than anything, success lies in a person's heart, who they truly ARE. Being a VIP is nothing without a gracious person existing within it. And more....blah blah blah....

Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry said...

These were my sentiments last year EXACTLY. I was almost embarrassed for those "FAMOUS BLOGGERS."

And even what you wrote about Ree - same feelings.

Which was one of the reasons why I didn't return this year, there was too much ugly.

So, thanks for this awesome and honest post and maybe next year they'll be more love and less ego.

And congrats on the book and the award, sweetie. You are awesome and I adore you.

Cameron said...

Ditto on what Heather said. I'll bring the casserole. :)

Great post! I was a home sales consultant for a company for a while and went to the national convention, and I experienced the same type of thing. There are the "rock stars" who are the top sales leaders, or always have their work in the catalogs, or whatever. And some of them were nice and gracious and some of them were just horrible. One made me cry. CRY! I've never made the connection until just now but that's probably the reason I've never been remotely interested in attending BlogHer.

Congrats on your book and award!! :)

Jill said...

I'll go out on a limb here and say thank you for writing this... for saying what a part of me felt.

This was my first BlogHer... and for weeks and weeks I read endless posts where everyone said, "just relax, step out of your comfort zone and go introduce yourself to anyone and everyone, blah blah blah."

The only problem with that is that sure... people are narcissistic and love to hear that others read them and want to fall all over them ... but many of these "bigger than me named" bloggers already have a core group of friends who they just want to hang out with and aren't looking for more than that.

I stepped entirely out of my comfort zone this weekend and in the end had a great time! Though I will admit that there were a few awkward moments when I talked to some really cool ladies who spent more time looking over my shoulders to see if there's someone else coming into the room. Bygones, right?

Esther Crawford said...

I think you summed it up nicely - BlogHer is a strange beast where you can feel connected & disconnected all at the same time.

I seemed to have gotten really lucky this year because I didn't experience any of the negativity.

It was great to see you, even though I wish we'd been able to talk longer... I think this means we need another Cupcake soon! (Especially since we were missing some lovely Cupcakes this year *sniffle*)

Penny Lane said...

There was no way in Hell I was going to BlogHer. Mostly because I live in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada but also because it seems intimidating and judging by from what I've read here, maybe I didn't miss out on much? Although the chance to connect with those who do not have a holier-than-thou attitude would've been fantastic. I love blogging and wouldn't want it soured by those who have turned it into something more than expression and creativity and sharing.

Christine said...

Damn you, for making me cry!

Mainly because I avoided it. If I so much as smelled even the tiniest whiff of the high-school-esque odor, I turned quickly and ran to the nearest frightened woman in the corner. And oh my head, I met some new life-long friends that way. The heart and soul, they were all in the shadows soaking it up. They are the cream.

IT PISSES ME OFF TO KNOW THAT ANYONE WAS HURT. That simply blows, and is not acceptable to me.

At the same time, this conference is representative of every woman, so I guess we will always have the hurters representing. And we know that they are projecting their own pain and insecurities onto others. But where is the Emily Post Etiquette Guide for when it's appropriate to go ahead and slap someone ... really hard ... right there on that perfectly powdered cheek? No? Never? Suck.

If you ever get too big for your britches, I will never hesitate to slap you. Because that's just the kind of friend I am.

It also makes me really sad to know your heart is aching, because now I cannot justify publishing that really goofy pic of you in the cab, all over the interweb.


Thank you for sharing yourself with me. Heather, you are the cream. Coming from a serious coffee drinker, well, that says more than you can imagine.

Amanda said...

I love the honest assessment of blogher. Honestly, I have never been, and it has always seemed like this is the way it is. (although, I dont know if that stems from my perception of high school and I am just projection, but I digress)

I love that you were able to find REAL connection amidst the eminent social rivalry. That is the connections that will last and fulfill.

Great re-cap! Lets do lunch!

(ha, just had to throw that in there. The irony!)

But no, really, lets have a MN blogging get together. :)


Amanda said...



Tessa said...

I heart this post. I got intimidated even thinking of BlogHer. I am one of those bloggers with a tiny readership and sometimes I get all wrapped up in my unpopularity meaning that I suck at writing, which then gets me devastated because I love writing and words flow out of me. This blog world has messed with my ego, and I write a lot about ego. I feel so very small in the world and in the blog world, I feel tiny, but know what? who cares! well, I do sometimes, but I will keep writing anyway. Thanks for your words.

Twenty Four At Heart said...

It was so nice to meet you. I just got home last night and am thinking long and hard about my experience at BlogHer ... you've just expressed so much of it right here!

Tooje said...

Blogging is a sort of ego-boosting activity anyhow..and if hundreds of people start reading your thoughts, it will indeed end up like high school. :) "People like me...they really like me!" And then of course follows the inevitable, "Well of COURSE they should like me. Duh. I'm cute. Funny. Smart." And thus begins the downward spiral.

Over on the other side of the lockers sits a few like you. Those who continue to keep their nose in the book, gathering friends for intimate talks, finding the importance of high school and its secret hallways. Because there is importance there.

Take the good, leave the bad, and always leave a good impression. :) That's my motto.

Heather of the EO said...

Tooje, my friend. You just spoke my heart MUCH more succinctly than I did. I love it. And you. Thank you.

Kristina P. said...

You know, this is what really bothers me about blogging. I have had so many people come up to me, and tell me they can't believe that I, someone who gets as many comments as I do, would actually visit their small, nothing blog. And it makes me sad.

I love my readers, and I would never want them to meet me and think, "Wow, she sure has a big head."

In fact, last night, as I was reading BlogHer posts, and having a FB conversation with someone who observed bloggers being rude and high and mighty to people, I started to think, "Oh my gosh! Have I unintentionally snubbed someone or made them feel that way?"

I never want to get too big for my readers. Some of my favorite people are the ones who are "just" the small bloggers.

And honestly, while I may be considered a big fish by some, to others, I am no one. There is always someone bigger. Always.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Oh Heather - I'm so sad that we never caught up in NYC. I don't think I even SAW you! And this post validates my lack of effort to meet and mingle with "famous" bloggers (a concept that quite honestly baffles me). I'd like to say that it was a testemant to my strength of character - but it was more related to insecurity and the fact that I've never actually read some of them and wouldn't have recognized them if they bit me on the ass in the time-warp-slow elevators.

I overscheduled myself a bit and really do wish that I had made more of an effort to seek out friends for casual meals. Sadly - I'm not very good with breakfast, so most lunchtimes found me sitting alone caveman-like eating conference food like it was my first meal in days (is it me or was everyone feeling constantly FAMISHED at BlogHer?)

Rambling now - so I'll stop. But as always - I appreciate your honesty and willingness to bring up the hard subjects and fight for the little guy. Wish I was in one of your picture memories, as it was something I had absolutely planned...Next year!

alexis said...

dude. we did not get even one picture together, even though we were sleeping mere inches from one another. what. the. hell. *sad face*

anyway, i totally agree with you. i even decided not to do a full on blogher recap, because i don't care. i vlogged about this very same topic, that "big" bloggers (what a ridiculous concept) shouldn't forget the readers who made them successful in the first place. that didn't happen to me so much because i mostly hung out with people who i knew or had been in touch with before the conference, but i saw it happening to other people and it disgusted me.

thank goodness for grounded and lovely people like you and ellie--you both made my experience truly wonderful, even though we barely saw each other.


Tiaras said...

1st - Many MANY congrats on your award and book deal! Yeah for you!

2nd- I loved meeting you - I just wish I could have chatted with you more!! (dinner sometime??)

3rd - HEAR HEAR!! I felt invisible there (except for a few amazing women who helped me out) - I love what jill had to say - so very true (and sad)

Kellyn said...

This is such a strong and wonderful post. The feelings that you have shared here and so raw and honest. I feel them, and the tears that are flowing because of them are so bright in this.

Seeing my friends hurting, the bloggers that I have met from our local area, hurts me. Seeing Suzi and Molly, two of the SWEETEST most WONDERFUL women I have ever had the chance to meet be turned away from, and "shunned" makes me angry. It makes me not want to attend a blogger conference. It makes the entire "community" as a whole seem wasted to me.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Alita- Da Mainiacs said...

I second what Heather said... but I suck at casseroles, I'll bring a pie.

Congratulations on the award. You deserve it!

I've only been writing and using my creative juices to blog for less than a year. When I read about blogher I realized that A) I didn't have enough $$ to make it to NYC and B) I wasn't sure what I would get out of it if I did.

Judging by a couple posts that are going around from writers that I respect (including you) I'm glad that I didn't go.

A small gathering does sound much better. One where people can share ideas instead of "star" in them.

By the way, when I needed a hand to reach out to, you were there... and it helped push me to grasp on tight to other hands around me in my life. So yes, your blog is a place where I really have learned something. Thanks!

anymommy said...

I knew it paid to be clueless, uninvited and sitting in the hall with a baby and a few wonderful ladies I have loved for years, emailed with, just met, etc. My only regrets are not having time for more hallway chats, WEEKS of hallway chats. And maybe not luring you to my hallway with chocolate or doughnuts or something.

It sucks to get your feelings hurt. I think we've all been there. On the weird, wacky, overwhelming, pressure cooker weekend that is blogHer, I think it works best to just chalk it up to nerves, bad timing, exhaustion and, oh, I don't know, maybe they just got a nasty phone call from their MIL and they have a yeast infection. You know, because that makes me feel better than, "gosh, I don't think she wanted to talk to me." Impossible? Right?

I'm kidding. Well, making light, but not discounting the hurt. And, for the record, if I am not invited to the casserole party, I'm going to feel very snubbed, and hurt and generally unhappy ;-)

Becky said...

Dude. I'm just riding your FAMOUS BLOGGER coat tails. ;-)

Love you and your honesty. Always.

p.s. SO incredibly cool about your book with Maggie. How ridiculously awesome. Can MY book with you be Knock Knock jokes?
Knock Knock?
Who's There?
I got nothing.
I got nothing who?
No, really. I got nothing.

Jennifer-Eighty MPH Mom said...

What an excellent post. I noticed the same things - how very rude some bloggers were. I just don't get it. Most were very nice, but the noses of some were definitely high in the air.

togetherforgood said...

I love your blog so much. I love the grace and dignity and kindness you extend, and I love that you are real here, just a real woman living her life and reaching out to others. It sucks that whenever we women congregate we seem to have drama. It sucks that we who are trying to do the same things can't be kind and generous to others. You stand out because you exude grace and humility. I can't wait to buy your book. I expect an autograph. :)

Heather said...

I loved meeting you and so many other people. Chatting with them and getting to know them. Connecting with people that I never knew before but that will always be in my heart.

I flew solo for most of the conference. And quite honestly most of my time was spent in the Serenity Suite. I loved the intimate atmosphere of it. The tears, the laughter, the love....it was amazing.

I witnessed a couple of 'ugly' incidents that made me wonder why I came but they were brief and surrounded by so much good.

I wish that I would have been able to spend more time with you, but I am glad that I got a chance to see you to give you a couple of hugs and hopefully someday soon we can get together and enjoy a casserole. or you know...cupcakes.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

And that is one of the reasons I have no desire to attend BlogHer, if I'm honest. I don't blog for money, I don't blog to publicize brands, I don't blog to fuel my ego. I blog because I like to write, and I'm amazed by the community. Why would I want to attend a conference where a lot of ugly goes on? It's like attending a high school reunion. I might have friends there, but I'd rather just meet them for coffee and ignore the reunion itself.

Cupcake '10 had WAY more appeal to me than BlogHer.

Mammatalk said...

An award and a book deal? Wow! I am so excited for you.

Not surprised either! :+)

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

You are spot on. Some blog for the 'fame' and free products, ect that go with it, others because the amazing connections they make. What I love about some bigger bloggers is that they have the followers because they write from their heart- for 1 person or 1,000.

tara said...

I, too, am bummed we didn't get to meet! My fault. I was mostly napping in my room.

And congrats on the book. So. Very. Exciting.

This was my first BlogHer and though I couldn't help but feel a little bit on the outside looking in, I mostly had a bunch of interactions with people who were nice and outgoing and often I didn't even realize they were big blog names (that I read and twit-followed, even) until after the fact. (Can I blame pregnancy brain? Or the fact that hearing someone's first name doesn't always give away their blog names or twitter handles?)

I'm bummed to hear people were snubbed. That is never cool.

Holly said...

How refreshing. I feel the same way. Maybe I should just stick to parties at my own house. :-/ ... tweeted your link, hope you don't mind.

Miss Britt said...

And this? Right here? Is why I CRINGED any time someone would call me an "internet rockstar" or other such nonsense. Because it's always the "supposedly famous blogger" who gets thrown out there as being the asshole.

But you know what? I have to say that I was saddened to see how many "not internet famous" bloggers behaved poorly, watching people with a crazed "who are you and what can you do for me" look.

It's not ego that causes this behavior.

It's poor manners.

Carolyn...Online said...

I think you just have to go into blogher hoping to see those few great friends you "know" online. Ignoring the ridiculous behavior being tossed around you. Be ignorant of all the parties you were not invited to. And then, if you're lucky, agree to carry the pizza box for a new friend in a cab.

Also, congratulations on your award AND your book deal!

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

I know that "hoity-toity"-ness is out there, I've seen it at previous events before. I hate that it has to exist at all, how are any of us different? A bigger number makes someone a better person than the next? We're all writers, mothers, wives, spouses, PEOPLE.

Ticks me off that people have to hurt others to make themselves feel more special. Assholes.

This time around, I did my best to avoid "them" and I missed out on that ugliness. I saw a lot of beauty, and less ugly, and for that I was grateful. Maybe because I surrounded myself as much as possible with those I truly wanted to see (or tried to, I can't believe I missed you and that my face isn't up there ans having squeezed the daylights out of your MinnesOHta accented face!!). Maybe it's because I did less than I was supposed to, scaling back instead of over-committing.

All in all, I loved Blogher '10, and really wish people would get over their egos so that everyone else could say the same.

(Also, I second Steph. I big puffy heart that first pic. I neeeeeeeed it)

Heather of the EO said...

Miss Britt, you rockstar...kidding.

Me too. I don't like to be told I'm a big deal because that means people are watching for me to screw it up. And I did. I became overwhelmed and was then mis-read, people thinking I was disinterested.

So I get that. Totally.

What I'm talking about here, in my possibly incorrect opinion, is ego. Because it happened to blatantly and with numerous attempts at trying to talk to some people who honestly did not even answer me while they turned their backs. I don't know how else to explain it...that seems like ego to me, maybe it's grounded in my own skewed perception based in insecurity and I'm wrong...but I just can't figure it out.

blah blah blah.

P.S. You are lovely.

kateypie35 said...

Thank you for putting this so beautifully. I have been in a funk for 2 days trying to craft a post explaining how I feel, and still have not been able to do it!

I did not enjoy my first BlogHer. I felt the same exclusivity - I felt shunned and out of place. It was exhausting. High school all over again? No thanks. I'm almost 40 years old. I am a mom and wife. I have dreams and struggles and experiences and a lovely life and much to share. I should not have to feel "less than" or "third tier" just because I am a new blogger. Really??

It led to something good though. I now realize, I am happy to be a small blog! My handful of kind genuine readers is plenty for me. I don't need to be a part of the "big blogger" internet world. What I need is to be a good mom, a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter. If I concentrate on that, I am a hugely successful woman!

Miss Britt said...

Oh wow. That sounds horrific and CERTAINLY like ego!

You know, I'd kind of wish we'd start calling out people who behaved that way. I was pretty grateful that my friend Faiqa came up to me and said "Britt, that person who was so nice to you? Was a raging bitch to anyone who didn't seem like a big enough deal." *I* want to know that. I want to know that I'm surrounding myself with genuine people, ya know?

Plus then we could stop using the vague and make me twitchy "big name air quotes". Heh.

parentingBYdummies said...

Weird thing Internet celebrity is. I did not go to BlogHer. I wanted to, but I was afraid because of the things you speak of (plus it's super expensive). I want to go next year, but I probably won't because it's super expensive (plus, there will still be the things you speak of to worry about). At least you got to meet some awesome women who are nice. That's the part I missed out on. That and being in NYC at the precise moment as my real life favorite celebrity, Justin Timberlake. Did you see him?

Suzi said...

Loved this as always... :) The conversations with you and Molly were one of the highlights of the entire weekend. Congrats on all the amazing goodness headed your way. :)

Kalisa said...

I only met a couple of really big names and they were all friendly enough.

I went to BlogHer (first-timer here) not with hopes of being in the the A-listers' crowd but simply wanting to hang out with some women I'd been talking to & getting to know online for the last six months. And they totally blew me off. But whatevs. There were plenty of other people to meet and they turned out to be very, very nice. You can't win 'em all.

bdogmama said...

Thank YOU for respecting those of us who couldn't attend, enough to paint an honest and genuine picture of what you experienced at this conference.

For those of us who can only gaze from the outside looking in, some of the recaps have been a wee bit condescending (maybe too strong a word...). Yours is not.

Black Belt Mama said...

I wish I had a chance to meet you at BlogHer. I met some amazing people while there and probably avoided the snubs because I pretty much avoided people for my entire first day there. It's intimidating and scary and for someone who is a social butterfly like I am, it just felt weird at times to feel so out of place and shy when I'm not usually.

I have to add though, that there were two bloggers I admire and got to meet. They are bigger name bloggers and they were gracious and wonderful. They were actually a lot nicer to me (and had heard of me-or at least acted like they had) than some of the other lesser known ones I met during the conference who were a bit more dismissive.

While BlogHer does have that Hollywood-esque microcosm feel, it's also a microcosm of society in general. Some people are just weird; some people are just rude; and some people are just awesome. I am 100% certain that if I had met you, you'd be in the latter group.

Congratulations on an agent and a book deal! That is wonderful, and it gives this blogger hope.

Heather of the EO said...

Agreed. Seriously. Most of the people who are admired, etc were totally nice. TOTALLY. Loved them. Just saying.

And it really is STILL a good experience. The proof is in the pictures.

Crooked Eyebrow said...

Well put, as always.


Ashleigh (Heart and Home) said...

First things first ~ you are more beautiful every day.

Okay, now. I super-uber-duper heart every sentiment here. I've been watching all of it unfold over these years of the expanding blogosphere and didn't attend a conference for the first few years because of it. (Sometimes it's easier to see things from the outside, when fame and product and such aren't being thrown at you, you know?)

Last year, I was certain I was ready to tackle the conference gurus, being fully aware of what it might be. And yet, even though I did have several groups of buddies to hang with, had a plan, had a thick skin in place... still ended up walking around a certain large Southern resort for an hour in a drizzle because I just needed a break.

I've always said BlogHer holds no appeal, and yet, every year, I pout while I sit at home and watch the tweets roll in. But it has nothing to do with fancy VIP parties and ego-stroking moments and the "don't you know who I am?" It has everything to do with knowing people I love (and who actually love me back) are staying up late, talking in their jammies on hotel room beds and missing the sessions and parties just to hang with each other. To me, it's simply about putting a face and a touch and a voice to the words on the screen... which, I suppose, is a reflection on why I engage in this community in the first place.

All that to say, yes, what you said. As always. :)

Bri said...

Congratulations on the book deal...but primarily, my comment is just to let you know how honest and spot on you are. Bravo for writing with empathy. Conventions of this magnitude are always going to be filled with cliques of every kind. Same in the corporate world and in my case, in my industry. Best is to stay true to yourself, go with a friend and with the intention of meeting NEW friends. That's really all we can do. Egos will always exist. I just avoid them. Have a great week! I've bookmarked your site.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

You are a delight as is your honesty. This post made me grateful that I'm too clueless to know if someone is snubbing me. (I knew this quality would come in handy for something.)

Can I be in charge of bringing casseroles to you guys on your book tour? (I put crushed potato chips on top of everything.)

Ann Imig said...

Great post Heather. I am so awed by your beauty of soul, beauty of adorableness, your writing and these fantastic successes.

I can imagine it would be weird to be stuck between two worlds--the newly popular and old guard.

So glad I just focused on finding my peeps and shaking hands and hugging anyone who offered their warmth in my direction.

Love to you.

Anonymous said...

I'm crying (why can't I stop that since I've been home?). Thank you so, so much. You are the real deal. Sweet, amazing you. Really. xo

Motherboard said...

I mentioned to someone in the spring that I was thinking of going to Blogher and she said "It won't do anything for you-- you're a Nobody."

That really stung and I chose to stay home. Maybe in the end, I should be glad I did?!

I wanted to scream in her face: "I am NOT a nobody. I am Somebody. I am a mother. I am a daughter. I am a wife. I am a sister and a friend. I am neighbor. I am a world citizen and I also happen to be a blogger. I am Somebody, and while you may not think I am important or significant--or even matter-- because my readership is small, there are plenty of other people who do think I am important."

It's all just a numbers game and in the final analysis, it really doesn't matter. It's more about the real relationships you make and us small people can make real relationships just as well as those who serve their numbers.

Women. We can be so powerful when we unite together in good, but yet we continually stoop to the lowest common denominator of being nasty. Why?

{PS: Congrats on the award and the book deal! You are one of the most genuine, authentic women I have had the honor of meeting.}

Aunt LoLo said...

Oh, the drama........

Part of me wishes I could have been there. The other part of me is afraid that HAD I gone, neither you, nor Tonggu Momma, would have liked me any more...because I would have stuck to you like GLUE, not having known any other bloggers there. LOL

Which reminds me - my ten year reunion is coming up this year. Do I go, and see all the faces of kids that I was never good friends with, watching them drink and have a good time? Or do I just.....not. Decisions, decisions...

Kimberly said...

Oh lady, the amazingness of you. You make your heart so big and you fit so many people in it.

Meredith @ Now Is Good said...

I love this so much and love how your heart shines through. I wish I had met you this weekend. BlogHer was a very mixed bag for me, and I was lucky enough not to experience any of the hateful things you described. I'm sorry you experienced them. Here's to all the fabulous women who DID make it a great experience.

Marinka said...

Oh. I didn't notice any of that behavior, which makes me sad, because I was totally on the look out for it. As Britt pointed out, it's often not big blogger vs. small blogger, it's someone being an asshole, and isn't it refreshing that the asshole quality can be found in all walks of life? We broke the asshole ceiling!

Congratulations, of course! I'm totally not jealous!

TKW said...

I love the last part of this post, where you acknowledge that there was ego and ugliness there and that there are a lot of women licking their wounds at home right now. And that it's a shame.

It took so much bravery for so many women...to push themselves out of their comfort zone and brave New York city--and some of them were squashed or ignored or left feeling diminished.

I was shocked at the arrogance and smallness of some people, and their complete lack of shame about it. I saw women turn their backs on other women--

You're not alone in your anger and hurt. Expressing it in this space is a gift to those of us who are struggling with the damage. Thank you, Heather.

ps: is this where I don't apologize for turning into a puddle at your feet Friday? xo

InkMom said...


I think there are maybe two kinds of people who attend events like that one (not that I have any authority at all, but here goes):

the people who see themselves as a commodity to be sold to the highest bidder, and BlogHer as a means to a financial end -- a focus on business, networking, marketing end of things


the people who see themselves hardly at all because they're so thrilled to be meeting their soul sisters that the business, networking, marketing stuff isn't even a part of the picture


I'll bring something chocolate.

Sherry said...

Hmmmm, before this year I had no idea a conference for bloggers even existed...sounded weird to me, until I started following a few "big" blogs (yours included) and then I started to understand the whole concept. Anyway, I can totally see how getting that many women (and men? No, otherwise it'd be BlogHerandHim) together could end up with hurt feelings and a few tears, which is too bad, but hopefully more GOOD came out of it than bad. Congrats of the award!

And since I'm such a troll and seem to live under a bridge when it comes to these get-togethers, I'm totally in the dark as to WHO the meanies at these events are. Not that anyone will call them out, but I'm curious to know.

And lastly, I looooove reading Pioneer Woman's blog but I have one little complaint about her...she's added about 5lbs to my body! Two sticks of butter here, a bucket full of sugar there... :) Sure is yummy though.

Keep up the great posts, I enjoy all of them. Especially the ones about your boys.


Heather of the EO said...

Marinka - we broke the asshole ceiling! I love that. Hilarity.

you know, I don't know. I think what happens a whole lot is something like this: so and so will be a big jerkface to me and then you or Miss Britt or the Bloggess or Maggie, etc will walk in and they will fawn all over you...Because your names are known because you're awesome people and funny and good and...you get the idea. The names being known part is what many-a "bigger" blogger focuses on--the assholes focus on it anyway. That's who they care to see and associate with...sometimes it's because they're truly friends and want to catch up, and sometimes it's way grosser than that. At least from my OH SO LOWLY perspective (that was a joke) (am lame)

Thank you for your input, cause I think it's largely true that sometimes it's just basic assholeishness, and sometimes it's ego/bigger blogger shit.

The End.

You are lovely and you make laugh all.the.time. Thank you.

And Sherry, It continues to floor me that people think this is a well-known blog. It's really not. Or maybe it just feels so small because I feel so connected to you all. I really do. I like it that way. And thanks for your kind words. The posts about my boys are my favorite too :)

word verification: trater (ACK!)

Jessica said...

Your sincerity is why I read your blog. Reading your blog is honestly one of the reasons that blogging has felt safer rather than deadly like you've described- I try to avoid people like that and blogs that smell like that. Yours only ever exudes honesty and kindness. Thanks for being a safe place.

The NAB said...


I'm okay now. But Yay! How thrilling for Maggie and you.



Look - I'm not gonna say anything new nor different. If those bloggers were blatent assholes to people, that's really too bad. You can't grow your brand (gah - did I just write that) if you don't treat your audience respectfully. In this fickle day and age, one can *POOF* disappear from "first tier" literally overnight.

This post, though, will help the shy and most sensitive ones feel better. Someone needed to address it. You did it beautifully. ;-)

Oh and I make crappy cassaroles, but I do some amazing shadow puppets! See? I can't even spell casserole right. Dang...

Proud of you!
Lesley @Avalea

The NAB said...

*blatant*.... GAH! Can't spell at all today. My brain's a 1st tiered asshole.

Lesley @Avalea

Corinne said...

I read this earlier, then read a bunch of other posts about blogher, (took a nap...) and knew I needed to come back to you because... well, you're you. And you were able to write this post so well.

There is a lot of ick out there, like we talked about a little bit, but I'm so glad and fortunate to have been able to meet and talk with you in person. And if I have to go to another BlogHer for that reason alone? I might consider it ;) But I'd rather sit on a couch in comfy clothes and eat pizza! Mostly because there are so many misunderstandings, misinterpretations, possible snubs and legitimate snubs, when there are more people around. The chaos that surrounds the conference really threw me. I'm still decompressing.
And this is way to long.
Sorry!! ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog and I so appreciate you. Thank you for your candidness on this subject and so many others.

I know little of blog conferences, and am sad to read of the abject rudeness of so many people towards others. (thank you for clarifying that PW is what she seems to be, I would have lost all hope for the universe if she wasn't).

It's sad, but attention and money only reveal more of a person - the folks who were ugly have always been ugly, only now it's revealed and excused as a side effect of notice. Fame doesn't change people, it makes them more of who they already were.

It's only high-schoolishness to the extent those of us who know better participate. (which is why I secretly wish these folks would be outed - I REALLY don't care to offer them any more page clicks).

Be well!

becca said...

So So So much of what you write I could have said (not written quite so well). I had a wonderful time With My Friends and let some of the shittiness roll of my back. But I saw the arrogance. And the higher-than-thow behavior. It didn't really surprise me... people take any excuse they can to find a reason to feel important but I do have to say, it disappointed me in many instances. And it took away from the pure Joy of this space. Which was sad.

I just wish we could have spent more time together. You were like a magnet. When people are around you, they want to stay near you. I could have sat with you for three days straight!

Congrats again on your award and your book deal. You so deserve both.


Truthful Mommy said...

Congrats on the award and book deal. Not so much on the snubbing:(Boo Hiss on them!Sorry they took a bit away from the experience for you. I was so looking forward to next year, my first BlogHer....now, I am a little afraid of the mean girls. I am so glad that I found you. I love your voice. You speak the truth and I admire that.Happy Mothering!

From Tracie said...

Congratulations on the book....I know that with the two of you authoring it is going to be a great read!

It is sad that there turned out to be high school elements to the BlogHer. I wasn't there, and I'm certainly not a "big blogger" but I know I would have been really sad if I had been snubbed. It sucks that some people aren't in it for the connections.

Melanie J said...

I like you.

Nap Warden said...

Girl, you are in inspiration. I am proud to say I know you, and that I designed your blog:)

I think in a round about way, I said the same thing on my recap post. We have to concentrate on the positive and keep on marching. There are so many amazing women in the blogosphere, and we can't let the negative tear us down.

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

Well, we talked about this so you know my feelings on the matter. You BRAIN TWIN, you. I certainly had those moments of someone looking over my shoulder to see if there was someone more important they could be talking to, or talking to. It bums me out how those small interchanges colored the whole experience for me - and that is something I need to work on in life in general. But I am so grateful for the amazing interchanges I did get (you especially). You are the real deal, girl.

Anonymous said...


Casey Freeland said...

Okay, lady, I wasn't there, so my suggestion is just a scrap, just a tiny piece of flotsam on the blogging river. But, just a little but, I'm going to suggest anyway.

There must be a pretty small handful of those fellow bloggers who you simply had to see, right? Like Ann and Amy and, well you know.

I'm sure most of them, most of those real deals, would love to get together with you and a few others for a more personal get together.

2,400 bloggers?! Really?! That seems a bit much. What about two dozen, all meeting somewhere reasonable and fun or quiet and intimate? Just to be together and share and laugh and inspire.

No corporate influence. No snobs. No high school crap.

Maybe you can do both?

Just a thought.



P.S. - I just read what I wrote and I'm not intimating at all that I would try to go to this thing. I would not at all. I'm talking about for you BlogHER folk. I was just thinking that the more the merrier is rarely ever true.


Rachel said...

The incongruousness of their behavior and desires is odd... we all blog because we love the affirmation, the relationships, and to some small part (or big part, probably, if you're one of them), the notoriety.

But people love, respect, and follow people who treat THEM with respect and appreciation. So if they treat those who admire them like dirt, they won't be admired for much longer.

I went to a session that I was very excited about, and one of the speakers (a big blogger) was snubbish and rude to me right before it started. I ended up getting nothing out of that session, except for a determination that I never wanted to read her blog - if you can't be nice in person, why do I want to read and follow you?

Yet last year, upon meeting Tim Gunn, he was the nicest and most genuine, appreciative, and complimentary celebrity I've ever met. So for the past year, I have only fallen more and more deeply in love with him.

If you want people to love you (which we all do), then love them back. Simple, yet apparently not as widely realized as one would think.

Thanks for sharing, Heather! I wish we could have chatted longer, but I'm really glad I ran into your for a minute, nonetheless!!

Ash said...

Oh happy dance for you and Maggie!! Congratulations on the book deal and the award.

The rest is just, well, not too surprising. PTA, church, bleacher moms, playdates - they all seem to have their ego issues. It took me 38 years, but I've finally figured out that I don't have the time for it.

Good for you for embracing the love. Let the other stuff just roll off. Their loss, sadly.

Kameron said...

I heard about so much of that happening this year. I am such a small fish I don't even read many of the "first tier" bloggers. The few I do read, and met in person, (Scary Mommy & Pioneer Woman) were sweet as pie. I'm glad I focused on meeting the people I felt a connection with and not worrying about the pseudo-famous.

You are so right that the women who are all high and mighty would never be recognized by anyone who wasn't in the "blogging know".

Thank you for being so candid about this topic. I think a lot of women will relate.

Congrats on your award and book!!!

Brittany at Mommy Words said...

Heather congrats on the award and book deal. How abfab for you! I get sad when I am hurt and pissed as all get out when someone hurts my friends so I totally get where you are coming from.

BlogHer was overwhelming and I am still processingthe ups and downs and writing my post. You wrote beautifully about the experience. I loved and hated parts. I saw women crying in corners and even hear someone crying in their room. I have heard some waited until they were home to cry. Besides just being somewhat snubbed - whether purposefully or not - the conference brought a lot of emotions to the surface for a lot of women and was also exhausting - a combination that does not mix well. I hate to see tears and offered hugs and a smile....and to hold baby Violet b/c lots of people said her chubby 6 month old hugs cheered them up!

Chaotic is the perfect word - I don't think I had an actual meal in 4 days it was so crazy!

Hopefully I will meet you next time we are both at a conference. In the meantime I am loving your blog and your perspective and will simply send smiles and cyber hugs if you ever need them!

p.s. I am happy to host a blogger bbq at my place...you just all have to get your tushies to NC!

Issas Crazy World said...

I...hmm, I think it's hard. For all of us. To be us, in this space full of people. I think it can be hard to connect when there are nine zillion distractions. It's like Vegas on crack...okay bad example.

The best times of the weekend for me? Were meals out of the hotel with smaller groups. But? I'm just me. I get to anxious and I avoid parties. I do better in small groups. I'd also been before and knew how to keep things in my comfort zone.

I also (and I was saying this to someone) have a different experience than most. Only because people recognize me from last years keynote. So I've never had anyone snub me. Which um, means nothing really, except I guess people remember what I looked like? Who knows.

That all being said? I wish I'd gotten a chance to talk to you more. And as chaotic as the serenity suite probably was for you and Maggie, I think it was a needed and wonderful thing.

maggie, dammit said...

It feels weird to comment on your posts. I've been thinking a lot about this, honestly. I read them all and I have thoughts but I say them to you on the phone or, like this weekend, said them all to your face and so I sit here thinking it sounds weird and redundant and am I even making sense?

But this one, I felt like I should put my stamp on it. Because yes, I saw it and felt it with my own eyes and heart and it makes me very, very sad. I hope anyone out there reading this who was hurt this weekend knows that I don't think they're making it up. That I don't think it's a matter of positive attitude and misunderstandings. 99% of the conference goers were beautiful human beings doing the best they can. But that one percent...they exist. It's real. This isn't sour grapes. And I'm sorry for those who found themselves in that awful position.

Also, thanks for blowing up my tweet stream. ;)



San Diego Momma said...

I'm glad you put words to this. There were so many wonderful parts of the conference, but that arrogance of which you post? Really hurts my brain. Maybe more my heart. Because community, you know?

Why close the gates?

I don't get it.

H-Mama said...

Okay... so maybe this part is not so much fun. I get it. I really do. Popularity and politics... means nothing in the grand scheme of things. (((hugs)))

Audrey at Barking Mad! said...

Hi sweetie! It's been a long time since I've commented here...probably back when you won that contest of mine over at the asylum - ages ago. I've kinda been going through a recovery of my own and trying to climb out of the pits of Hell. No easy task, but then you know that.

However, I have been reading always, and watching from afar (it's safer in this place I call "afar"...no one can judge me and no one gets too close to my personal space), and I'm so very proud of you and happy FOR you!

The sad part of this is that I can all too well, relate to what you're talking about.

When I announced that Woman's Day magazine was publishing something of mine in-line with a feature they were running on me, (and this was after I decided NOT to say anything about it because I just didn't feel worthy), I was ill-prepared for the backlash that I was hit with. I am already treated like "less than" because I am "more than what is considered ideal" in the modern American woman...and now I was getting slapped with gossipy, snarky, drama from all sides.

This (and my weight) is just one of the many reasons I don't do thinks like BlogHer or other conventions and probably never will...even if I make it through the rest of the casting process for Biggest Loser, I can't see myself trying to fit in with women who have said such petty and bitter things. At the end of the day, I'm much more comfortable sitting back and sharing my joys and sorrows with my loyal few, and live vicariously through you and Maggie and take some inspiration from you both.

All the best Heather...you truly, TRULY deserve it!

ABDPBT said...

First congrats to you and Maggie on your book deal!

Second, I will pay you cash money to name names to me in an email. Just saying. Because I really would LOVE to know who is walking around saying things like "you're not on the first tier." To anyone. That is so unbelievably douchey, and everyone I know who really could be said to be on any kind of "first tier" in life would never talk like that!

a Tonggu Momma said...

First, I just had to laugh at Kristen's comment because people were looking over my shoulder to get to HER. Heh.

Second, I am so proud of you. Not for the award. And not for the book deal. But for your sobriety. And your honesty. And your humility.

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