Kim at BlogHer '09 Cocktail Hour
Today’s post is from our LA comrade, Kim. To read the back story on how she came to be involved with HAMO (yes, we made her drink the Kool Aid), check out her previous post here. Kim recently attended the BlogHer ’09 conference, where we were lucky enough to have her spread the word about our cause. Thank you, Kim, for helping these mamas out!
In recent weeks it has occurred to me that if I were a superhero, my power would be Working the Room. I’m great at parties, gatherings, dinners, conferences, meetings – anywhere there’s a gathering of people and small talk is the barrier to real connection, I shine. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s my natural curiosity about people or my fascination that as many people as I already know, there’s always someone new with her own story or his own unique quality that I haven’t encountered before that draw me. I feel like the narrator in that Peter Gabriel song “I Have the Touch:”
Any social occasion, it’s hello, how do you do
All those introductions, I never miss my cue
So before a question, so before a doubt
My hand moves out and … I have the touch
I’m not saying everyone I meet likes me. I would guess the percentage is over 60, but I won’t flatter myself. I’m not saying, either, that I’m addicted to collecting new friends. Indeed, after three days straight of meeting new people at BlogHer ’09, I reached New Friend Critical Mass and hid in the bedroom at party, something I never thought I’d do. But I do love to meet new people and make connections. I love chatting my way past the small talk, eschewing “So, what do you do?” for questions like “What brought you here?” and “Holy crap, this salsa is spicy, can you hand me that bottle of water?!” I like to break the ice early on, get to the good stuff.
Using social media those contacts come at lightning speed. Reach the right people who spread the word about you and the online friends flow into your in-box like a torrent, impossible to keep up with, overwhelming and delightful. I’ve gotten used to the growing network that spreads before me, offering itself like a glittering web of possibility of friends, business opportunities, travel destinations, information, mouthpieces, etc. I overwhelm myself with keeping up the connections. I have wondered why I do it.
My entree into the social media game was my blogging. I have a personal blog (House of Prince) and I write professionally and contribute to several other sites. It takes up a lot of my time for little pay but a lot of personal satisfaction. People asked me what my goal is. Am I going to write a book? How will I capitalize on my network?
A few months ago, Help a Mother Out came to my attention. Not very many people knew about them, so I started tweeting about them and blogging about them and spreading the word and actually hooking up with services in Los Angeles. The more I read about what Help a Mother Out is doing and who they are serving, the more I realize one very important thing:
It’s not about me.
I know, it’s hard to believe. I’m so sparkling and fascinating, how could it NOT be? But seriously, the confluence of events has shown me that this is what I must do. I must use my power for good, and this is the way I can do it now. Little by little, bit by bit, one baby’s butt at a time.
As one of the few un-sponsored bloggers who attended BlogHer ’09 last weekend, I watched with great curiosity as the sponsored attendees passed out their product and talked up the companies they represented. In contrast, I was there to represent myself only, and given that freedom I talked a lot about Help a Mother Out. In one on-camera interview, I spoke about how directionless and “for me” my blogging had become, with no real goal in mind, until Help a Mother Out emerged from the Twitter murk to grab my attention and shake me out of complacency, out of sinking into my desk chair and wondering if anybody every really reads this shit. Who cares, really? Now that I have a real cause to talk about, I want people to read my work so that eventually, they might feel so moved and click on over to the wish lists and donate some diapers. (Okay, I still love it when you simply read my stuff, I’ll be honest.)
Help a Mother Out will be doing a special drive for diapers, socks, and underwear for needy children coming up this fall. Please watch for it. If you see me at an event or you decide to follow me on Twitter, reach out and touch me, and help me Help a Mother Out. Use YOUR power for good, too.