I attended this great conference last week, and since it is such a nice Sunday out there, I think it can be summed up pretty simply:
I saw both points of view at the conference. I met quite a few women that came to the conference to decide if they should start blogging. I also met quite a few women that are making a professional career off of their blogs / sites and driving public debate.
From the NYTimes piece:
Blogging has come a long way from its modest beginnings. These days, there is money to be made, fame to be earned and influence to be gained. And though women and men are creating blogs in roughly equal numbers, many women at the conference were becoming very Katie Couric about their belief that they are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts at, say, Daily Kos, a political blog site.
I don’t get the logic of this one, Daily Kos has been built up over the last 5 years with some massive community support, almost always including ‘front page posters’ from both sexes.
From Erin’s great piece:
But you surely don’t see stories about men bloggers in the Sports section
ummm…, you do, but not very often. The HoopsHype story was later covered more heavily when the acquisition happened.
Women are outnumbering men on the web.
Women control .83cents of every household dollar spent. That means from buying a lawnmower to buying laundry detergent, women hold the purse strings.
Women have been turning off DayTime television and canceling their subscriptions to ‘female’ based magazines in favor of going online.
No doubt on this at all. Attending as an ‘outsider’ I did my best to just listen and see the opinions from a different angle. I was told to ‘fuck off’ once in person, and something similar once online, but 99% of the time, it was amazing conversation. My friend Micah went, and concluded, it wasn’t the conference, it was the people. Spot on.
The biggest surprise to me at BlogHer was a ‘Birds of a Feather’ session (a smaller room) about ‘twentysomthing bloggers’ where the main topics were a) should I put my real name on my blog? b) do you let your work know you blog? c) can you make money off of this (only two people in the room made enough to pay rent every month) and d) an ‘us vs. them’ talk about male bloggers (which I heard a lot, but wasn’t a huge deal after you realized this was an arena to vent of sorts). There were quite a few ‘blogging 101’ sessions as well (and were very well done).
On the more monetary side, I also saw a room of 200 in a ‘blog to book’ session all raise their hands when asked if they were looking for a book deal (picture on the right).
There were an amazing amount of viewpoints at the conference. Did the NYTimes reporter take an angle? Sure. I wouldn’t complain if I was mentioned in one of the most read sections of a massive paper. Would it have fit better in the Business or Politics section? Perhaps, a different angle and it could work, there was sure the people there to support it. Did the general response of ‘us vs. them’ really make the most successful argument? I don’t know.
If content is king in this world of blogging, then we should focus on celebrating and promoting quality content, whereever that comes from, and make sure that there is enough support and guidence to anyone stepping up to the plate. I have met some abosoutally amazing people over the last two weeks (BlogHer, OSCON, and TechStars), ‘all showing up to the party.’ And that is the key, showing up to the party.