Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

What color would you say my eyes are?

My driver’s license says “brown,” but it’s a lie. My mother taught me my eyes were “hazel,” but over the years I’ve learned that “hazel” just means “a hard color to describe in one word” and actually carries no consistency across faces. One of my close friends in high school gave up on trying to answer this question and just started calling me “the girl with kaleidescope eyes.” But let’s not cop out here. I’ll give you a hint: my eyes are green and amber with red flecks and brown highlights.

I make an effort to look people in the eye when I talk to them, and I’ve been noticing lately, that I’m not so alone in my kaledescopiness. I’m seeing my own eyes show up on more and more people, and more often than not on creative professionals — those rebellious independent folk who create their own careers and answer first to themselves. So I’m now asserting a theory: green/amber/red/brown kaleidescope eyes are a sign of a creative, ambitious individual who probably has issues with authority.

This theory will likely be proven absurd and fall by the wayside, as my silly theories often die. (For years, I’ve been trying to prove that everybody named Amy is a lesbian and that no one actually lives in Montana.) But, regardless, I am collecting evidence now. If you have some, please send it my way.

Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

I’m squinting as I write this. Behind my head, the muggy sun is setting over Lake Michigan and forcing a glare across my laptop screen. I’ve commandeered a picnic bench about thirty paces away from the GM-sponsored rooftop cocktail party (where there is still an impressive wi-fi signal), and I’m jealously guarding this brief opportunity to be a webby introvert. It has been a long day.

I’ve been trying to log my significant notes over on Twitter as they come up. Here’s the recap:

  • My goals for this conference are different this year. I’m not actively looking for tips or tools, I don’t feel ambitious about networking, and I don’t need work. Instead, I am here to reconnect with the most important themes in my life: feminism, writing, and technology. I am here to be regrounded, reenergized, and refocused. I am here to rediscover meaning and purpose within these themes. I am here to be “one of us.”
  • I am staying with a dear friend from Bard who now lives in Chicago. She has provided me with incredibly generous accommodations, and I am utterly grateful.
  • In the Personal Branding Panel, what I took away was this: Decide what you stand for, be honest, make it specific, stick to it, and describe it in 5 words or less.
  • In the Speaker Training Panel, what I took away was this: Decide if you care more about cash or strategic exposure. Women need to ask for the gigs they want.
  • The Intolerance Panel got me thinking: Do communities always come with exclusivity? What’s the relationship between exclusivity and intolerance?
  • The Blogging Workflow Panel was overwhelmingly useful, and the tool recommendations are compiled here: http://bloggtd.pbwiki.com/ (Seriously, check it out if you want to be more efficient with your web work.)

What do I think of it all? BlogHer is a wonderful event and I am in the right place. And it’s worth noting… for a girl who traveled to Chicago all alone for a conference she didn’t plan ahead for, I sure know a heckuvalot of people here. It’s comforting to see familiar faces — they tell me that this Web Techie Community has some consistency, and that not everything about this industry is fleeting.

Before I rejoin the festivities, I want to talk briefly about the internal structure of this community. Last year, there was a cohesive group of Mommybloggers (women who blog about their parenting experiences) who seemed to dominate the conference. This caused a bit of a rift within the community; some of the non-Mommybloggers, including myself, felt excluded from a lot of the social energy because we didn’t share that intense connection.

I am supportive of the Mommybloggers — I believe they are a piece of an important radical movement that is changing the social landscape, and they struggle against a lot of adversity. They have only found their identity as a community within the last three years, and their intense bonding is important. Their networking was like a big red heat spot in the map of BlogHer06. It was brilliant and it was beautiful. And it left some of the other conference attendees feeling cold.

This year I’m seeing a lot more equality in the community. Other networks like food writers, tech writers, and women of color are showing more cohesive exposure in the panels. The big red Mommyblogger heat spot has either cooled off a bit or been outweighed by the increase in attendance. It feels a lot more comfortable.

I’ve had a few conversations with other non-Mommybloggers about this, and we all agree that we have to watch ourselves. We have a bit of a chip on our shoulder from last year, and we’re trying not to be snarky about it. It’s a new year, it’s a fabulous conference, and we are here to be here right now.

Thank you Lisa, Elisa, and Jory, and everyone who listened, and everyone who made this happen.

Cheers!

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Heads up, this content is 14 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Dear Lazyweb,

I’m looking for an unbiased 3rd-party comparison review of the FastTrack, OmniPlan, and Merlin2.

I know someone has examined them all, figured out what their strengths and weaknesses are, and come to conclusions about their comparative effectiveness for various project management scenarios.

I am just hoping that someone has a voice on the web.

I will give you a cookie if you find the voice for me.

Thanks,
Sarah

p.s. It will be a tasty cookie.