BlogHer 07 Day 1
Heads up, this content is 16 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: (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.



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3 Responses to “BlogHer 07 Day 1”

  1. jenks Says:

    damn! you just made me want to go to burningman! first moment i’ve felt that in years.

    it sounds great, and i’d love to get to pick your brain about it after you get back.

  2. Erica Says:

    I haven’t been sure how to describe the atmosphere and the mommyblogger thing. I think you crystallized it pretty well.

    Good to see you again!

    P.S. I’m still not an engineer. I mean, I am, but not that kind.

  3. shuna fish lydon Says:

    I felt the same way about last year and this. thank you for your succinct eloquence. Everyone has asked me who showed the largest presence this year and I was glad not to be able to peg it. It meant that there were a lot of good eggs from various chickens and I liked being one among them.

    Glad to have re-met you in a different way.