Saturday, September 11, 2010

Unbridled Narcissism

In the immortal words of James Lileks, writing a blog is "unbridled narcissism."

That's just one of the things that I learned at the Minnesota Blogger Conference today. I learned a lot.

I learned that it's not unusual that I write about myself. Apparently a lot of bloggers do. Really, looking back, I shouldn't be surprised. I read a lot of personal blogs, and I know that others write them. I guess it was just reassuring to see and meet a bunch of other people who basically keep a journal as a blog, like me.

I learned all about Google Analytics. I already have it set up on this blog, but it was really great to learn how to use it better and learn more about the visitors to my site.

I learned about blogging tools, like Posterous, Tumblr, and SquareSpace. I'm contemplating moving my blog to a new place, but I have a lot of research to do on the subject. If I really am serious about this blog thing, though, I really should consider something more serious than Blogspot.

Perhaps most importantly, I learned that I'm shy. Of course, I already knew that I was shy. I've been shy my whole life. But this is the first time in quite a while that I've been thrown into a situation where I don't know anybody. I'm not good at talking to people I don't know. I'm not good at introducing myself. It kind of felt like the first day of school or the first day at a new job. Also, there was no booze. I'm way more outgoing when booze is involved (just asked the folks who shared a table with me at the Bulldog after the conference... it doesn't even take much to get me talking).

Wow, I just realized how sad that sounds. I don't need alcohol to meet people. It just makes things easier for me. I think I was just intimidated by the number of people there - over a hundred bloggers in one room. And a lot of these people were successful, making lives and careers out of their blogs. Mine is just a lark, really, something I do for fun.

Of course, that gets me thinking, too - was this conference even for someone like me? A casual blogger who sporadically posts about her life? I don't know. I enjoyed it, so that has to count for something. I did take something home from it, too (and I'm talking about more than just the notebooks they gave to every attendee). But I doubt I'll ever achieve the kind of success through blogging that many at this conference have gotten.

Well, whether I belong or not, I still believe James Lileks with the whole unbridled narcissism thing. I started keeping this blog because I like talking about myself and the things on my mind. Is that so wrong?

(Side note: the spell check on the Blogger web interface does not think that "bloggers" is a word, nor does it think "Blogspot" is a word. However, "blogger" singular is a word, as is "blogging" and "blogs." I think they might need to expand their dictionary to encompass more words related to their subject matter.)


  1. I know just how you feel. I wondered too if I was really in the right place. There was a part of the day where I was sitting by myself in a crowded room of people and it felt like I was all by myself. Then I saw your tweet and didn't feel so alone anymore. I think it gets better with time maybe?


  2. Nice post, Becky!

    I think if you got something out of it, then the conference was for someone like you. :-)

    It can be intimidating going to these things but most of the people there feel that way, so you're not alone.

  3. Absolutely not wrong to talk about yourself. Why? Because we all have experiences to share, and we can learn from each other. I see it as a way to "pay it forward." :)

  4. I don't think "most" of the people there make careers out of their blogs. Those people are just more noticeable. Most of us are just everyday folks blogging for kicks.

    It was great meeting you and I look forward to reading your blog.

  5. You guys are fantastic. Thanks for the encouraging comments!

  6. Becky,

    Okay, so we didn't formally meet on Saturday - I saw you and even made eye contact a couple of times, but was always running one way or another. I hope I gave you a smile. I'm sorry I didn't stop to introduce myself.

    I liked your post and I wanted to say - as someone who actually set the guiding principles for the conference - it was ABSOLUTELY intended for casual bloggers, new bloggers or even pre-contemplative bloggers - those who haven't started yet! We tried to plan the sessions to appeal to everyone from beginner to expert and everyone in between.

    I'm glad the conference made you think. And I hope you made some new friends, too. LOTS of awesome people there! :)

  7. I was feeling the same way about Sat but I think we were totally meant to be there. To hear those stories and learn new things. It was great. Although I am sad that I didn't meet you there! Next time!

  8. I wish we had met. I am shy as well. I knew one person there, but still felt like people weren't there to meet new people.

    I almost left at one point, but I am glad I stuck it out. The speakers were amazing.

    Isn't it funny? You can write about this and I read it and agree with you completely, but we would never say these things at the conference! "Hi I'm Erika. I am really shy and I know nobody and am really nervous."


    Ahhhh I love blogging!

  9. Hi Becky, Kudos to you for going to the conference, especially if you consider yourself someone who is shy. Every single person there has something valuable to offer, including you. Just sharing your experience and feelings about it here on your blog is meaningful and insightful.

    Writing is a teacher for those of us who choose to pursue it. You are doing all of the right things and have all the tools you need. We have an amazing social media community here in the Twin Cities. I hope to see you at more events. Best!