BlogHer: Day 2

I’m glad I blogged my bullet point thoughts from yesterday. What always happens at events like this is that I say I’m going to mull something over and come back to it, and then I don’t. So at least there’s something. My biggest takeaways are from talking with folks, anyway.

I feel smart.

I started out with the Taking Your Blog to the Next Level lab. That was frustrating. They wisely divided people up by platform (Movable Type, WordPress, Blogger). People didn’t self-select in terms of beginner/intermediate/advanced, though. I wouldn’t consider myself advanced by any means, but I was trying to explain to a woman how put a border around her images with CSS, and she didn’t even get the basics of what markup tags are, and how HTML and CSS even work. Anyway.

Had lunch with Laina Dawes and Waves Mowatt-Kane from AOL, who’s a program manager for the AOL Developer Network (so most of what she does is way over my head). But we did have a great discussion about how people in different parts of the world use technology and how not just the use of technology, but the whole attitude towards communication and socialization is different between generations.

Just had this thought: Will my website evolve differently if I stop thinking of it as a blog? The response twitter from Gwen Bell is “yes. what about seeing it as an extension of yourself, like an arm? or a letter you write and send out…?” I think I like that idea. Definitely a (I hate to use this word, but…) paradigm shift.

The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion in Online Communities

  • Comment: Niche blogging and inclusion are at odds with each other.
  • Kelly says she a “practice black person” for people who have race questions they’re afraid to ask. Is it a good idea to take offline (safe) conversations to the larger (less safe) audience?
  • If you’re, say, a mommyblogger and most of them are white heterosexual women, how do you discuss that and have the conversation go beyond white heterosexual women? You cultivated/attracted that audience, so you should work to change that. But if people don’t signify… ???
  • Gena Haskett purposely did not self-identify online, eventually realized that whatever you read is going to have her filter on it anyway and people will infer from that. But she had to become comfortable with her self-identity first.
  • Valencia Roner is fantastic at crystallizing the discussion points. (And she went to Michigan! w00t!)
  • To have a healthy community, you have to protect your visitors. People shouldn’t have to “armor up” to read the comments.
  • “How do people see blogrolling as an extension of their own blog?” People still have blogrolls?
  • Malaysian expat noted that all her Malaysian readers stopped reading when she moved to the U.S., finding her unqualified to speak on Malaysian issues. Stumped the audience and panel.
  • What kind of responsibility do we have to build diversity into our online communities? The blogroll can be a tool. Making a personally risky post can do it. Purposely reach out to your community (more specifically, the lurkers) and invite them to share.
  • Liveblog

Did you read where Elizabeth Edwards told Ann Coulter to shut the fuck up (in so many words)? I heard that they asked Hillary Clinton to come and she declined. I think I’m enjoying Elizabeth Edwards more than I would have enjoyed Hillary. Why can’t she be running for president?

And I’m skipping the closing cocktail party at the Chicago Children’s Museum. Meh.

Haven’t taken a lot of photos. Whatever I would have photographed wouldn’t really enhance my recounting of this experience for you. Or help me remember it better. Plus it always takes me forever to get around to uploading photos.

Overall, a very different experience from last year. Not better or worse. Just different.

That’s all I got.

BlogHer: Day 1 (cont’d)

Privacy, Exposure, Risk: Can you maintain safer spaces online?

  • Susie Bright: “Being out there and open is the best protection you have because people will defend you if they know who you are.”
  • Susie Bright: If you’re getting threats based on something you say, then you said something important and influential. Congratulations!
  • Liveblog

Does the Blogosphere Need an Intolerance Intervention?

  • Laina started to introduce herself, and Liz had to cut her off because she was stealing all of her topic thunder.
  • If you’re going to delete/close/”actively manage” comments, it might be a good idea to state your policy or note where you’ve jumped in. Sadly, there are a lot of examples of people displaying despicable behavior online.
  • When people are talking smack about you should you fight back? Or keep your mouth shut? Both ways can work. If the comments about you are not on your blog, you should probably let it go.
  • You can’t control what people will do or say, but you can control how you respond.
  • Related to previous panel, if you have a good community of commenters, they’ll stick up for you in your comments.
  • Kathryn Thompson: If you’re not intolerant, you’re not authentic. We’re all intolerant about something. We call people out on them when our intolerances don’t match up with theirs.
  • Liveblog

Blogging Workflow Tools and Tricks

  • Gina Trapani: The technical act of blogging is not nearly as simple as people make it out to be. Especially if you’re a high volume poster.
  • All the good shit is in Firefox.
  • The Wiki
  • Be ruthless. Prune your feeds. Or at least mark all as read. Easy to say, hard to do. I always feel like I’m going to miss something. But I feel worse when I end up having to skip a bunch of stuff. Ignorance is bliss.
  • Barb Dybwad: “don’t get bogged down with a feeling of obligation to consume or look at everything. try to cultivate an attitude of opporunity rather than obligation.” Amen!

And now, cocktails. Actually, find Missy first. Then cocktails.

Tag: BlogHer07

BlogHer: Day 1

The grand ballroom at Navy Pier is a looooong walk from the entrance. I think I walked farther inside Navy Pier than I did getting to it in the first place. Initial impression: Navy Pier as a conference location is awesome. And the internet access is marvelous.

I hate icebreakers. We did that speed-dating icebreaker thing. Good idea, went on too long. Hard for introverts like me. On the plus side, I said the same thing over and over again.

Met Stephanie Roberts when she randomly sat down at my table this morning. We bonded over being INTJs after being stressed by the icebreaker. Super cool.

Met Nataly Hogan during the icebreaker. I saw Work It, Mom! on her name tag and “Oh my god, you know KathyHowe!” came tumbling out of my mouth. Nice lady.

Self-branding and Self-promotion

  • This panel was packed. Folks sitting on the floor up front and standing in the back. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to attend, because I’m not looking to market myself as a professional writer. But I do want to manage what shows up when you Google my name. And I really just wanted to see Penelope Trunk.
  • PT asserted that you’re more likely to be harrassed at work than online. Thinking… she might be right.
  • She pointed out that we compartmentalize our lives and where we talk about what anyway, so we should recognize that even as you filter, you’re still being yourself.
  • Focus, focus, focus. Basic marketing principle.
  • If you’re blogging on a topic that’s related to your day job and you want to leverage that, test it on your friends first. If you really want to use it for career advancement, you have to put it out there, or don’t bother.
  • If you can’t find a niche, you need to have a huge personality (e.g., Anil Dash, Jason Kottke).
  • If you’re blogging, you’re asking people to connect with you. So you should be happy to get all that email.
  • Liveblog

Met Nina Smith at lunch. That is a really cool lady. Had an interesting conversation with her about the time and effort she puts into managing Queercents and about wrangling a volunteer corps of authors. I already loved me some Queercents. Now I love it some more.

So far, so good.

Tag: BlogHer07