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If Billy Joel had been at BloggerCon

November 13th, 2004 · 3 Comments

I had an epiphany on my journey to Palo Alto last weekend. I confess I was a bit anxious about how I should lead the blogging conference’s session on emotional life. During my travel time I wanted to brainstorm and pin down the questions I would use to start the conversation.

Thursday night, before I left, I called Lisa Williams to make sure that we would see each other at the conference. We started talking about my session. She said that blogs are one of the only places where people are allowed to be human.

Friday morning I took a limo from the ferry terminal to the airport. It was quiet in the car. The radio played as the driver headed towards SeaTac. I looked out at the trees by the side of the road. I thought about Lisa’s words. I thought about the trees. How the maples in their yellow dresses stood out against the pines. Yet each tree was unique. Some had leaves that were tinged with red or orange while others were solid gold.

I started to think how wonderful it is that we live in a world where not even two trees are identical. Certainly no two people are identical either. Blogging allows people to be human. It is a medium where we can express our individuality. We can be yellow trees. Or vermilion maples. We can be whatever we are.

Then I heard the tune on the radio. Billy Joel was singing “Just the Way You Are.

I don’t want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard
I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are.


What will it take ’till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you.

I said I love you, and that’s forever
And this I promise from the heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are.

Then with the trees speeding past us in blurs of green and gold, the truth of the song hit me. Blogging is about loving each other “Just the way you are”. Perhaps love is too strong a word for the connections we are creating on-line. But I believe that through blogging we are believing in each other. We are trusting each other. And we can encourage each other in our individuality. Be who you are. I’ll still love you.

On my drive from the San Jose airport to my host’s home, I had half a mind to try to find Billy Joel’s album. I tried to think of music stores I knew along the route. Exhaustion and fear of RIAA retaliation quenched that thought.

But if Billy Joel had been at BloggerCon, I would have asked him if he would sing Just the Way You Are as the theme song for my session. Of course, perhaps Billy Joel himself doesn’t own the rights to it.

I tried to fit in this little epiphany as my session was ending but when the applause started, I stopped my story. However I hope that everyone who came was encouraged to be themselves as they blog. I hope that the emotional life session started sparks and reminded everyone of the freedom we have to be welcomed and accepted “just the way you are”.

Tags: bloggercon

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Daisy // Nov 13, 2004 at 1:08 pm

    Wish I could have been there. I just read your post on the BloggerCon blog too–can’t wait to read more. Semester is nearing its end and I am treating myself to another trip to Boston for the Votes, Bits & Bytes conference at Berkman. I can’t wait! Hope to see Lisa and Jim, et al while there. Keep in touch!

  • 2 Brian Carnell // Nov 14, 2004 at 7:06 am

    You don’t have to own the “rights” to a song in order to perform it live.

  • 3 michael. // Nov 15, 2004 at 12:22 am

    blogging = billy joel + “Just the way you are.”
    Click the close button.
    Clear history.
    bang head against wall until ears bleed and short term memory is erased.
    that’s enough of that.

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