I was lucky enough to catch some bloggers on the television last Wednesday (as in 3/8/06). I was home sick with the whooping cough, so I decided to catch the four o'clock news. Lo and behold, there was a story about blogger happy hours. This piqued my interest.
And then, today, DCist mentioned that there would soon be another blogger happy hour on 18th and M. 18th and M! That's my neck of the woods. I quickly decided to show up at this blogger happy hour incognito. I promised myself that I would not mention this blog or anything else relevant about myself. No marketing, no DC-hating, just people-watching. Here's a review of the night:
OK. Blogger happy hour. Problem #1 was the location. Yuca. It's some Cuban place. And it sucks balls. The two most noticeable aspects of Yuca were the lack of draft beers and their playing early-90s rap. It was one of the worst DC-establishments I have ever entered.
Problem #2 was the time. Yuca, as crappy as it is, advertises itself as having the longest happy hour in DC. It lasts from 4-8pm. So, having a blogger happy hour that starts at 7pm...that's just not cost-efficient.
I made the mistake of showing up to this thing at 6:15pm. And why not? The bar is literally steps from where I work. And why not cram as many cheap drinks in as possible before the bloggers descend upon my beautiful Wednesday evening.
Of course I get there and the place is dead. Despite my efforts to not be a lame blogger, I was actually the first blogger there. Sweet. There were literally 7 people in the bar when I arrived. I was the only one who spoke clear English out of all of 'em. Great.
Some young people, who I will assume were bloggers, started trickling in at 6:45. By 7, the scheduled start of this event, there were a good 20 people in the bar. An improvement from my situation 45 minutes earlier, but still not exactly a fun time.
Someone finally approaches me at 7:15. A blogger. He asks if I am here for the blogger summit, and I admit that I knew about it and was there to people watch. He asks me if I have a blog, and I admit I do. "I don't really like to market it," I reply nonchalantly.
"That's just because you've never had time to make business cards," he replies. And then he hands me a tye-dye business card with his URL on the front.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
I'm sorry, but Jesus Christ. Business cards!? I mean, wow. This guy was nice enough, but if you take your blog, which he must have really taken seriously since it had a "dot blogspot" in the URL, and make business cards....I mean, you are beyond repair. No one can help you.
Soon enough I was rescued by a friend and we headed off to the Big Hunt and the Front Page (the latter featuring a singer-guitarist playing Green Day and Oasis covers that sounded worse than "cancer and AIDS combined").
Obviously, Blogger Happy Hour was a disaster. Bad location, bad time, low turnout.
That being said, I really do like the idea of a blogger happy hour. It's a chance for like-minded people to get to know one another. It's also a chance for our readers to get to know us. I hate it when an asshole blogger dismisses their audience by saying "you don't pay any money to read my writing" or "I write for me, not for you." Bullshit. Every hit I get is a miniature ego boost. I'm sure it's the same for the rest of my ilk. I, and I assume we, love, love, LOVE any feedback I/we can get. Even the negative stuff. Blogger happy hours provide an opportunity for me/us, theoretically, to meet my/our audience.
Unfortunately, these happy hours are kind of like universal health care. They sound awesome, and you think it could make everyone a little better off, but, pragmatically, they just don't work. Blogger happy hours attract the douchebags who take their blogs seriously. Their company is intolerable. I'm sorry, but taking your blog all seriously and shit is incredibly stupid. I can't imagine anything more lame. And, business cards. I still can't wrap my skull around that.
The blogger happy hour on NBC4 featured a full bar with all sorts of chit-chat. That looked kind of fun. Maybe tonight was the lame exception. I sure hope so. Hopefully the next one, which I will only be attending if it's really close by, will feature something that's actually newsworthy.
UPDATE: Apparently, "happy hour" is only an expression to these people. Bloggers stayed at Yuca until midnite. Here is the review by the person who threw the thing along with comments: LINK.
But why call it a happy hour if you are going to miss out on the happy hour specials and stay until midnight? Shouldn't it be a "DC Blogger Night on the Town" or something like that?