When meeting new people at Blogher, every introduction inevitably starts with the "what's your blog?" question. For the first time in the past seven years, I don't have an easy answer. The answer, for years, has been rote -- I'm dollarshort.org, but I blog at something called Mena's Corner. But that hasn't been true for a while. Then I blogged privately at Vox -- an answer that didn't really excite those who wanted to check my posts out. As I awkwardly explained this answer to one woman, I jokingly said "I need to come up with a better answer for tomorrow."
So if the answer is "dollarshort.org," here's a view into the old Mena and five fun five facts about the new Mena.
I still speak at conferences now and then.
I'll be speaking tomorrow at Blogher about taking back "naked blogging." It's all about pulling back from the blogging spotlight and retreating for various reasons. The past week has caused me to do a lot of thinking about my choice to stop blogging publicly (I've blogged consistently and privately on Vox for the past couple years). For example, not making this list of the "50 Most Influential 'Female' Bloggers (don't know what the awkward quotes around female are all about) gave me a chance to reflect on my role in the blogging world. On one hand I questioned if making myself so forgettable was a good thing. On the other hand, I didn't the same pangs of jilt (I like that phrase), I would have felt if this list had been posted a couple years ago. This makes me feel I made the right decision to pull away. That said, I still want to participate and build back my blog. And I still want to be out there and speak. So I'm taking more speaking engagements lately, including The Start Conference in August.
I've been blogging at another blog -- Nested -- off and on since I was pregnant.
This has been a quite a fun project of mine because I started completely anonymously. I wanted to see the blogging experience from the point of view of someone starting completely fresh and didn't want to rely on any of my connections in the blogging world to build traffic. I'd love to get back to the two to three posts daily schedule, but am still struggling to find the time to do this and take care of my daughter, Penelope. Which brings me to the next fact.
I'm a stay-at-home mom now.
When you are a co-founder of a company and your spouse (and co-founder) still puts in crazy start-up hours, it's impossible to ever really be removed from the day-to-day. I'm part-time now which means I come in once a week (with Penelope in tow) and work from home on a individual project basis. I actually have been putting in almost full-time hours designing a project launching soon and have had a chance to blissfully do some pure design work. I'm a stay-at-home mom that just happens to work-at-home too.
Having a child has changed me (in a good way).
I had no idea I was going to be the parent I am right now. Many of the neuroses I carried with me my entire life seemingly vanished overnight. This isn't too say I'm still neurotic, I'm just less neurotic. I like to think of it this way -- I'm like the patient in the mental ward (figuratively) who has gone from self-soothing through rocking to just looking like there's a good song playing somewhere.
Being a mom has forced me to become less self-centered and more aware of the small thing/big thing differences in life. Yes, I still have dreams that I'm being picked on by my seventh-grade classmates but when I wake up I'm able to laugh it off a bit better. Being at Blogher has made me more aware of this change. For example, in 2005, when I attended the first Blogher someone had written a post about how (and I paraphrase) "Mena Trott had the chance to talk to all these fabulous and interesting women at Blogher and instead chose to sit by herself and bury herself in her computer." The person didn't take in account that I'm actually quite shy when it comes to introducing myself. I almost never approach anyone because I'm intimidated, but once we're in a conversation I'll become quite extroverted. Since Penelope has been born, a lot of this fear has disappeared, though I still find it difficult at times to go up to a person and say hello.
I'm so so proud of Six Apart and everyone at the company.
Once again Blogher has been a massive reminder of why we do what we do. I have met women at this conference who have used our products since inception and they're incredibly complimentary and effusive. I've been wanting to say this for a long time: Yes, we seriously messed up when we changed our licensing FOUR years ago. The industry was a bit different then and for a company that (at the time) had only about 500k in funding, we wanted to be sustainable. We may have been stupid with our decisions and execution, but we were always ethical. And, we paid the price by losing a number of our best customers. But to this day, we're a company of bloggers for bloggers who really want to do the best for this industry. Hating Six Apart is so 2004.
I'm even more proud of our customers and all bloggers (whether they use our products or not)
Back to Blogher. When I'm talking to these women, I'm amazed how far we all have come. When I go to my dentist or see a relative, I don't have to explain that my job has something to do with "online journals that are often written daily and in reverse chronological order." If someone has internet access, they read a blog (even if they don't know it). It has been a revolution and any tool that can make a person feel less isolated and connected to a greater group is remarkable. I've talked to bloggers who have been saved emotionally (and physically) because of blogging. And that's a really awesome thing.