Funny how life works. You spend 45 years without setting foot in Utah, and then you're there twice within six months. The latter trip was for my first evo conference, at the Grand Summit Hotel in Park City. And the thing about Park City is that most of it is up, until you reach the very, very top, and then it tends to slope away rather sharply. Since so much of it is so far up, like some 8,200 feet up, we uninitiated Sea Levelers tend to lurch about and wheeze like we just swam ten miles.
Evo is a fun, exuberant weekend. And despite its emphasis on concrete takeaways to help improve your social media life, they let me blather on with Helen Jane and Asha, two of the most wonderfully sane bloggerati you'll ever meet, about blogging, relationships, privacy, children, and the complex relationship therewith. And then the whole resort lost power, and we all had to put away our phones and talk to each other. And then the power came on, and we returned to staring at the glowy rectangles. And then we hit the zipline.
Another salient event of evo was my chance to meet Dan Pearce. He drove up from his home south of SLC, and overall, it was pretty chill. Just two Single Dads hanging out, one Laughing, the other Breathing Laboriously. Dan's been on a lot of people's minds lately, after his press release and subsequent posts on Babble. (If you need any backstory, you should read these two posts, by Andy Hinds and Catherine Connors, which are the de facto bookends of the debate. I also hope you'll read the comments, which represent all the nuance, healthy debate, and mutual respect that blogging can still conjure when it wants to.)
I didn't want to say anything about Dan until I'd met him. And after doing so, I can say without fear of contradiction that he is a person. A person who's made a few questionable choices in his narratives, and his decision to market himself aggressively, and set off a degree of hand-wringing that some have written is tantamount to a dad blog war.
Which is fine. (Although: Can we puh-leeze stop calling anything that is not a war a "war"? I've always thought doing so devalues those who've been in a real war, as opposed to us effete blogjerks who fling tomato sauce at each other.)
I went on DadLabs last week, which was co-hosted by Kelli Kelley, founder of HandtoHold.org (in place of Clay Nichols, who was too busy feeding his children to sharks off of Cape Cod). And I thought what I said there came out OK, so I'm quasi-transcripting it here.
I'm not alarmed about dad blog drama (a/k/a the father fracas, or bro-haha). Not in the least, because similar stuff started among the mom bloggers 4-5 years ago, and is ultimately richer for it. Dad blogging is growing, too, beyond anyone's perceived sphere of influence, and it's stirring passions about How To Do It Right. Passions are colliding, much as the pressure of moving tectonic plates forces upsurges of magma. It's red-hot and spectacular, but when it ultimately cools, we're going to have a bigger land mass.
As we expand we need to accept that, as much as we might like to think otherwise, there is no Council of Elders that oversees the rules and best practices of blogging. There is only us, the collective, who decide whom to read and whom to ignore. Communities form, and communities breed transparency. So that despite all our attempts at branding and marketing and whatever else, the best content always wins.
There's also room for everyone, more than enough for people to recognize that nothing one person does has the power to reflect on everyone else.
So rejoice, dad bloggers. The fur may be flying, but the mountain is rising. And soon we'll all be up there, laughing and breathing laboriously.