Josh Lipton told me yesterday, “Bloggers are a strange kind of lesser royalty at Interbike.”
(Interbike, in case you don’t know, is that annual mega-trade show for the cycling industry held in Las Vegas. It’s where I spent the day yesterday. Skip to the bottom to see the bike porn photos I took.)
I kind of see what Josh means. During our first day at this year’s Interbike, I’ve seen a variety of reactions from the exhibitors when I introduce myself representing Commute by Bike. The reactions range from barely-suppressed yawning to low-grade fawning.
It’s as though the exhibitors don’t really know how influential bike bloggers are, and neither do the bike bloggers themselves. The moment happens in an instant when the two meet.
Blogger: Hi! I’m Rickey Williams, from IAmSpecialBecauseIHaveABike.com.
Exhibitor: Oh. Uh. Hi…
(I’ve never heard of this person or his blog. Do I pretend that I have? What if it’s one of those blogs that all the savvy bike industry guys read, and not just some loser who managed to weasel a media pass. Damn it. I really should spend more time reading bike blogs. I’m a fraud. A failure. I can’t let it show.)
Blogger: Nice bikes you have here. I like bikes.
(I don’t think this exhibitor has ever heard of me. Who am I to assume that he has? Nobody reads my blog but my mom! 100,000 page views per month, all from my mom!)
You may have seen my recent post about how much I like bikes… to ride them and stuff.
Exhibitor: Hmmm… That does sound familiar.
(That might have been one of the articles Cyclelicious tweeted. Why can’t I at least skim those? Twitter is killing me.)
And the dance has begun. The exhibitor has to choose to either treat the blogger as someone with a little clout, or like anyone else. The blogger has to decide whether they are entitled to the clout or whether they are a nobody who just bragged about having blog — as though it were of greater consequence than having a pair of clean socks.
One measure of the respect to which we are entitled is the special food that is catered for holders of media passes such as ourselves. They almost made enough Lasagna for us all.
If that doesn’t make you feel special, what would?
Clout is like lasagna; sometimes you expect more than is served. Sometimes you don’t know how much to provide.
I take the humble approach, and demand that exhibitors kneel before me only if they sell bike commuting products. That’s reasonable, isn’t it?
Other lesser royalty we met today are Laura Crawford and Russ Roca, who write The Path Less Pedaled.
Had enough self-referential, self-indulgent name dropping yet? I thought so.
Here are some photos from yesterday: