I attended the Blogher conference this year on behalf of my company. We were looking to understand how the whole Mom blogging community could work with our own social media plans. What I found was a well attended gal pal party that seemed to be hosted by 3 magnanimous hostesses (the founders) and a raft of consumer goods companies. I was prepared for the Mom-focused brands to be there with their swag bags and showing the touchy feely side of their companies. (P&G, Walmart, Tropicana, and GM to name a few). What took me by surprise was the sheer number of talented writers and the authentic desire to share the “craft” with others. I would sit down at a table or in a workshop session and meet the most astounding people – Liz Dolan – one of the Satellite Sisters (from the syndicated radio show), Kelly Olexa and Jessica Underhill (on-line fitness gurus), www.fitchickinthecity.com, David Leite (Chef and publisher) www.leitesculinaria.com , and more up and comers. But that wasn’t even the best part!
On Friday evening the Blogher “Voices of the the Year” Session was an unexpected treat. The selected bloggers with the best posts in various categories were invited to read their work aloud to the ballroom filled with 2.5 thousand eager listeners. I laughed at “Divorce is so Gay” , and “What Do You Mean We Can’t Say Vagina?”. I applauded for the Geek posts, and I cried with all of the other sniffing listeners as women talked about immigration, cancer, and their families. I just don’t get the chance to openly appreciate great writing, and I was thankful to have the writers read it in person. See the posts at this link: http://www.blogher.com/official-blogher-10-liveblog-community-keynote-blogher-voices-year
The next day there was a session with 4 women activists who use blogging as a way to change the world. Literally. They really change the world. They ranged from the brash young Arab woman who launched the middle east youth blog to “Piss off as many people as possible” to a quiet journalist from Sri Lanka who just wanted to make sure people who lost limbs from land mines could get access to prosthesis at the foot factory. They risk their personal well being to change the status quo with the power of the pen.
I learned quite a bit at Blogher. And I took my sweet time thinking about it all week. In the meantime all those speedy bloggers wrote some great reviews about the event. I especially liked this one. http://blog.blogworldexpo.com/2010/08/09/blogworld-v-blogher-the-differences-are-apparant/
I’m signing up for blogher 2011 in San Diego! And I’ll continue to learn from these inspiring writers in the 350 odd days until that time!