First, let me say, I know I’m going to miss people. If I leave you out of my round-up, leave a comment and tell me where your blog is. I was pretty excited, overwhelmed, relieved, and excited, so I know I didn’t meet everyone that came or get every blog url locked into my brain.
I’d been yapping about the OneVoice blogger meet-up for well over a month, I think. OneVoice is an Edelman client and I was brought onto the team to help with some blog stuff. Blog stuff included two blogger meet-ups. The first in Tel Aviv and the second in New York. I wasn’t able to attend the Tel Aviv meet-up, which was a shame because the room was full of my favorite bloggers in Israel.
I was able to attend the New York blogger meet-up and can I just say the word that ruled the night was SERENDIPITY!
How did it come together? Another client scheduled a training that I lead on Tuesday the 25th. “Hey OneVoice,” I said, “can we try and do something while I’m in New York?”
OneVoice said back to me, “You know what? Daniel (the founder of the movement) and Craig Newmark will both be in town that week, why not organize another meet-up?”
I said, “Sounds awesome!” and started sending out save the dates. Along the way, we found out that Arianna Huffington, a OneVoice supporter would also be in town. “Hey Arianna, would you say something at the meet-up? Craig’s gonna talk too.” And Arianna said, “Yes, of course!”
Wow! Craig Newmark, Arianna Huffington and Daniel Lubetzky all in New York on the same night. As I started inviting people, I found out that Florida based Nadia from Arabisto would ALSO BE IN TOWN! Woo hoo! Sharoz and Harris from Think Tank 3 agreed to let us use their great space for the event and even got Duvel beer to sponsor with five cases of beer.
I sent out invitations, OneVoice account teams worked their networks, OneVoice volunteers and staff sent out invites. We worked the blogosphere, Facebook, email, twitter… anything and everything. But then, a hitch in the plan. Who else was serendipity bringing to New York on the same day? The president of Iran and the protests that accompany him. We worried, but we did not reschedule.
The night of I was shocked when people showed up early. EARLY! Wow, this is New York, I thought people would focus on being fashionable late. Apparently buzz was strong and people wanted a front row seat for an event without much seating. Soon some familiar faces showed up. My good friend Esther K and Will Levin who draws Shabot 6000 (an early J-blogosphere crush of mine, I behaved) came early, shortly followed by Daniel from Orthodox Anarchist and Aryeh Goldsmith (who builds Jewish website after Jewish website.)
A little bit later Nadia from Arabisto and her husband arrived. It was her birthday and she chose to join us as part of her celebration. (Want people to recognize you? Wear the same outfit you are wearing in your Facebook profile pic, like I did.) We also welcomed Etty from NuYorker (a jewish blog in Spanish) and Adam from NuYorker and Heeb arrived.
I know that Liz and Wendy from Huffington Post were there, but we were never able to talk. There was also a lovely gentleman who drove over from New Jersey to take video and his name escapes me without the sign-in sheet in front of me. From New Jersey, people, he came all the way to the city for the event. I know he interviewed everyone there, so I’m excited to read/watch his review.
Serendipity on our side, award-winning war photographer from Vanity Fair, Mr. Teun Voeten joined us from a recent trip to Gaza. He was exactly how I imagine a war photographer to be: gruff, yet polite, quiet and wearing a khaki vest with lots of pockets. Who else… Omar Faruk joined us (with two blogging friends) and Miriam with her Middle East Youth Hat on.
Who else was there? Send me your links, your photos, your names (if nothing else) because I know that I’ve missed people. How was it? It was one of the best events I’ve ever organized, if I do say so myself. I forced nametags onto people and I think it helped. Duvel provided the 8.25% beer and I think that helped too. The space was intimate and interesting. People walking by wanted to be inside with us. I’ve never experienced that type of gawking in Chicago, New Yorkers don’t want to be left out of the cool thing and we were the cool thing that night.
People mingled, Craig, Arianna and Daniel spoke with conviction, people mingled some more. I got to meet a lot of people I’ve only met online. New connections were made. And then I went home exhausted. And by home, I guess I mean to the hotel. Did we turn everyone that came into a OneVoice supporter? Maybe not, but we got people talking about possibility for a night and that was worth it.
UPDATE: Duh! Michele Madansky joined us and she has promised to set me up with Jewish men in Chicago. (Who said that work can’t pay off in the romance department?) Samir from the Faith House Manhattan also hung out with us at Think Tank 3.
UPDATE 2: Thanks to Daniel’s blog, Facebook and plain ol’ email, I heard from a few more bloggers and saw the sign in list. Boy! Did I miss some people. Gary Sharma sent me a note and friended me on Facebook. Thanks! Richard Reiss from Artist As Citizen and Michelle Haimoff wrote to point me towards Michell’s post on The Panelist.
Keep ’em coming and we’ll keep looking.