Blogher Year 2
Blogher gathering. I have been letting the experience seep in, plus I've been hanging out with family and mostly offline. (Shocking!)
I am not a large group kinda gal. So gathering with 700+ others is pushing me a bit out of my comfort zone. I tend to withdraw to the safety of the "knowns." Plus I was tired, so my filter is a bit sideways. Nonetheless, I want to capture a few thoughts before the rush of work carries them away. Later I'll post some of the notes I took. Oh, and I felt so dumb when I could not recognize faces and remember names. This kills me and I need to work on that part of my brain. It is down right embarassing and I feel that I diminish others when I get it wrong. And I get it wrong more than I get it right. Sigh.
As always, the highlight is getting to meet people F2F that I've met online and seeing old friends again. Lots of hugs, laughter and catching up. I got to meet some folks I've known for a long time online and that was really terrific. (Denise, yes, that includes YOU! But I still won't marry you!!)
First, my observation of year two is that in year 1 Blogher let her voice ring out for the first time and the world listened. Year two it was clear that Blogher had legitimacy as demonstrated by size (sold out at 700+) and the amount of sponsorship the blog mammas (Jory, Elisa and Lisa) were able to secure. It was more than the bloghers that were listening.
There were more men and I did not see them hanging out by themselves in the way I noticed last year. Good thing. It may have been me, but I also sensed far less us/them with the women/ment this year.
The group was, I think, slightly less global and I blame myself for not being activist and working to secure funding specifically to bring in woman from outside the US and more young women from the Bay Area. We had four delightful young adults from SmashCast, but with the amount we have to learn from these young people, more would have been a plus. But it takes time and money to recruit and sponsor folks. And none of us did that. So that is on my list for "I could have done better." That said, it was delightful to see Nicole from Germany, Jess from England, Dina from India and the energetic Rachel from Minti (hattip DrumsandWhistles for remembering!) from Australia. You rock to come all this way to share in Blogher! (Note to self to add links when I get a chance.)
That roar also meant that we saw us grow into a group with subgroups. The loudest roar was, from where I sat, the mommybloggers who clearly have claimed their legitimacy as a group and have shown their economic clout with paid bloggers, ad networks and a lot of attention. The fact that there was childcare at the event is a testement to this power. You rock, mommies. (And I can't help but wait to see what happens as their kids grow older. What will their voices be when their kids are teens and young adults?)
I loved that the Edubloggers had a presence, and was sad I had to miss their session as it was concurrent with mine. As always, there was a energizing group of women of color (The Digital Ethnorati break out session was one of my favs and I wanted to get to known each of those women better) and I wish there were more because I always feel these women are my teachers in some way that I don't really understand. There were women who raised issues of sexual preference, gender identity, body image and workplace issues and I felt the need to shine spotlights more on these subgroups. Maybe something for the agenda next year.
I was a bit squeamish about all the commercial stuff - segments at the top of major sections by sponsors that didn't always go over too well, lots of tchotkes in the bag that I had to recycle or find someone to give them too. But that's partly me. I have this purist utopian and often unrealistic view of the world. I had to get comfortable with a number of worlds sitting up tight and cosy with each other. The pokey succulents and the rounded ones can look nice together. I could get the giggle of calling the drinks Saturday night Yahootinis. But personally, that stuff is not value add for me. And I understand how it is an economic model to keep costs down. It is all a balance.
The energy and power of a group of women bloggers is both exhilarating and a bit exhausting. The 1800+ flickr pictures and hundreds of blog posts to follow will be fodder for review and reflection for weeks.
So now that we have reveled in our legitimacy, what is next? On Friday night, we had a table of women that were mostly 40+ and we talked about how the US culture has become a culture of fear and how we might be a catalyst to return it to the culture of love. We talked about the insidious DOPA act that passed the house and we were amazed it was not mentioned from the podium at any session we knew of. What if we mobilized against it? What is the reach of our power to make our communities, countries and the world a better place?
On Sunday morning, swimming in the pool (after again yet another amazing accidental conversation with another Blogher swimming about her work in women's health, raw foods and why the internet connectivity was problemmatic - it was NOT bandwidth but a system problem) I asked myself what my Blogher agenda might be for next year.
Here are the things I'd like us to consider working on.
Grace Davis suggested a Blogher Relief network to respond to disasters. The Get Deeply Geeky session suggested a network to share ideas about women leadership in the tech community. The Smashcast kids reminded me we have to learn from the generations coming up. The silence on the DOPA act suggests we have political clout if we want to take it up.
And finally, we have the power to move our world to the culture of love. Just imagine what that might mean. Can you see Blogher '07 with the banner, "We Blog for the Culture of Love?"
Last but not least, thanks Elisa, Lisa and Jory. I hope you got some rest yesterday!
Tags: Blogher, cultureoflove