Monday, July 31, 2006

Blogher Year 2

succulent garden6.JPG
Originally uploaded by pipiwildhead.
A couple of days have nearly passed since the close of the second 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: ,


Anonymous DrumsNWhistles said...

Love your takeaways...I hadn't gotten to them yet on my own.

Honestly the commercialism didn't bother me because without it lots of people would've been really stretched for money. I was amazed at how low they were able to keep the cost and it was because of the sponsors. If I have to listen to a 10-minute pitch in every session next year in order for the message of the session to be heard, it's okay with me. We were fed and allowed to get pleasantly drunk if we wanted and most importantly given the opportunity to listen to our fellow BlogHers in a fairly comfortable environment for a really decent price...not so bad.

The Minti gal's name is Rachel. :) I'm terrible with names but I love that name and I think Minti is a really nice community, so I was glad she came.

If you find a secret to remembering names please post it on your blog. Bigdog says the key is repeating the name during the conversation...but it doesn't work for me because it's out of my head in 30 seconds when I start listening to what's being said.

Get some rest,


7:30 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Hi Nancy,
It was great to read your thoughts about BlogHer and especially your ideas for the next reincarnation of Blogher. I personally didn't find a problem with the commercialism, in fact I didn't see it that way at all. I saw it as people (in companies) who were able to help some bloghers attend and who were able to add to our delight with the tasty yahootinis etc. Just as at blogher we were saying we (as in women) need to collaborate with men and see them as our allies, I think companies can be allies too. I found the mommy bloggers a huge presence illustated too by the bib in our swag bags. The childcare was an amazing idea and is testament to the amount of work mothers do. I wondered why fathers weren't babysitting and heard a few mum's laugh at the thought of daddy having the baby all for thought? Are there daddy bloggers? I also felt the size was overwhelming and am worried that has something to do with the way women (in general!!) are socially conditioned...a panel on that next year seeing as blogging is for the world to see, not just a close knit group of known friends. I'm still digesting the information overflow but think it was a great experience and really amazing to meet, f2f, all those wonderful women using technology. Way to go bloghers!

10:39 AM  
Blogger Sneadwoman said...

Nancy -- Aagain, it was wonderful to meet you finally after reading your site for so long.

Many, many things are changing in the sphere and its a much different place than it was a year ago. BlogHer06 reflected that totally. But you know? Growing pains and labor pains are good pain -- they bring new life!

And I am totally ready to be a part of the Culture of Love, baby!


11:25 AM  
Anonymous Denise said...

You should reconsider. Really. Lube, I have lube. And I hang on your every word. And, I can put two Dallas Bloghers together at the drop of a hat and make everyone laugh. We'd be perfect together. Even if you are a celebrity. heh

3:49 PM  
Blogger Debra said...

I love your take on the weekend. My personal wish for next year is that maybe we try to see what each "group" of bloggers can learn from the other groups.

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...


Thanks for your reflections! It was great to hang out with you. Maybe more chocolate will help with the memory problem?

Anyway, onward culture of love ....

6:10 PM  
Anonymous Clay Cook said...

Thanks for the kind words about Minti and also Rachel (my wife) :)
-- Clay Cook

8:21 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

This is an excellent assessment! And a bit selfishly, I'm truly pleased to hear a positive summary of the mamablogger presence there from a non-mamablogger. And I agree that the schwag bags could have been a bit more universal. I'm sure that was a function of the blogHer women reaching out to the parenting ad network sponsors first--low-hanging fruit in the giveaway department, so to speak. Next year, Chanel!

7:54 AM  
Blogger Nancy White said...

DnW, thanks for the short term memory boost. And Rachel's husband, Clay, it is really cool that you comment out of love for your wife!

Jess, I hope to post today or tomorrow on new models of working with advertisers at conferences out of some ideas of my friend Annette Kramer. Stay tuned!

Snead, keep writing from the heart and the brain!

Denise - you continue to crack me up.

Beth - yes more chocolate!

Debra and Mom101 - yes, I have been thinking about how we make the power of subgroups powerful, rather than cliqueish. If I can find a second, I want to blog on that too. Even have a draft started, but who knows when I'll get it up.

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments!

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz here from I Speak of Dreams. I saw you at least 3 times during the day, and never introduced myself...sorry, I wish I had.

About DOPA's invisibility at BlogHer06: My sense is that if you don't read the edubloggers or the library bloggers, this issue was totally off your radar. There had been little MSM reportage on it in May (when it was introduced in Congress). I had a Google Alert for both DOPA and Deleting Online Predators Act -- didn't ding until 2 days after passage. I found out about the vote from Dave Farber's Interesting People email list.

Subject change:

I have a danged hard time connecting people with names and names with people. I always have.

Subject change:
BlogHer is the only online-community conference I've ever been to--but not the first conference per se.

It occurs to me that F2F conferences for internet folk need to attend to the hyperlink. That is, to put in place physical ways for people to link up. There were Birds of a Feather meetups -- but no labelling or linking of each of the groups. There were no ad-hoc meetup sites (as in, "I blog about XYZ, and I want to meet other bloggers who attend to XYZ in their blogs. Leave messages/meetup instructions here").

I should send on my ideas to our three goddesses de BlogHer and I will.

Because I wasn't sure if I would be able to attend until the week of, I didn't do as much as I wanted to get [persons of color] [edubloggers of all stripes] [military bloggers] [bloggers about learning differences] [bloggers whose motivation is religion in all its stripes] [eclectic bloggers like me] to attend.

As far as the commercialism -- well, jeez, mol $100/day is pretty danged cheap. If it took underwriting to do so, close your eyes and ears to what you don't want to think about/buy.

At any rate, I am sorry I haven't taken the time in the last year to de-lurk on your site or on the mailing list. I am also sorry I didn't say at least "HI!" in the flesh.

But there are only so many minutes, and so many attentional units (AUs). That we didn't exchanges AUs in the flesh does not mean that I have no regard for you, or vice versa.

This is a different world, blending the online with the in=the=flesh -- the rules of politeness, protocol, haven't really been reformatted.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Nancy White said...

Liz, you are cracking me up. Your subject change feels like my brain. Are we sisters separated at birth?

AU? You gotta blog about that.

I have this huge need for open space just to connect, remix and reconnect. What if we had a whole day in Open Space before or after the formal conference? Lordy, I would be in 7th heaven.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Rachel Cook said...

hey, thanks so much, I loved blogher what a blast, come one over to Minti we've just enabled bloggers to claim your blog and we are getting more traffic these days...I realized more moms n dads need to read more blogs out there..

Rach, Minti Co-founder

5:06 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Full Circle Associates
4616 25th Avenue NE, PMB #126 - Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 517-4754 -