Yesterday there was one female speaker. Today there were several. Anil Dash got stuck in Toronto and had to cancel. At the very fun (and delicious, I might add) barbecue hosted by a local blogger at his very cool house, replacements were found for him who happened to be women.
I believe that BlogHer's presence at this event was a good thing. Elisa did a great job this morning going in-depth into "how blogs change the world," with a focus on the "transformational quality of personal blogging." Here are some notes:
Blogs are changing...How we age. How we survive. The way we make a living. The way we participate.
How we age...Elisa mentioned Millie Garfield and Ronni Bennett as examples of how older adults are getting online in larger numbers, and how writing about one's aging process is definitely approaching it in a different way than ever before. Here's a link to a shot of Ronni and Millie together, taken by Millie's son, Steve.
"This will be what the Ken Burns of the future uses", she said, indicating that blogs are recording our personal histories and will remain as a record of so many lives.
How we age...People go through events, acute and chronic, online. Katherine Stone blogged through post-partum depression, a personal act that turned into activism. Laurie blogs her experience with cancer. Not Just About Cancer. Diabetes Mine. Amanda blogged losing her husband to cancer at a young age.
Changing the way we make a living...Bloggers have business cards. They represent themselves as business people. Chloe Spencer and Elise Bauer have been financially successful with their blog efforts.
How we participate...Politicians realize that they ignore people in the blogosphere at their peril. Even nonpolitical blolggers are participating...Talking to millions of people, especially women, who can swing an election.
Blogs and Hurricane Katrina...Grace Davis and the team of Cooper Munro and Emily McKhann started blogs to collect resources to send to people who lost so much on the Gulf Coast. Blogs got stuff to people before the Red Cross and FEMA did.
Chez Pim's A Menu for Hope has food bloggers gathering to raise money for UNICEF. Last year they raised $17,000.
Elisa was on a panel about social networking immediately following the keynote with Soni Pitts and Ruby Sinreich.
What is social networking? How has it changed
Ruby says grassroots organizing has happened since there have been humans.
Internet allows us to do a lot of the same things.
Bloggers spread news and media are forced to address the issue.
No organization orchestrating it, not even individual leaders.
Five aspects : strong social ties/trust. People in the network like each other, trust each other…
Dense communication grid.
Meta – sense of purpose. Are they aware this network exists?
(I must have missed the other two aspects...hmmm)
Soni Pitts – social networking in a business sense.
Social networking has enhanced her social life and networking opportunities because she works from home.
You have a group of friends that is real whether they’re in front of you or are pixels on a screen.
Elisa – doesn’t get a lot of the social networking she sees. It's better to be selective/having it mean something vs. collecting as many people as you can. I find it a little overwhelming.
I understand meeting people online and then personally - I've done it plenty of times. Why do people I don't know follow me on Twitter?
Audience–I follow people I don’t know on Twitter to learn more about them in the industry.
Soni - celebrity syndrome…we think we know them but they don’t know us.
Audience: Social networking is about "amplifying serendipity" He got involved in podcasting, met all these people, planned conference. Allowed me to do some really great things. I'm not a person who’s good at shaking hands – having the internet has helped me do that.
The next panel was on journalism schools and how they're changing to help students work in the new media environment. North Carolina A & T will have the second acccredited j-program in North Carolina. Panelists were
Joe Killian from the Greensboro News & Record, Dr. Andy Bechtel from UNC-Chapel Hill and Dr. Teresa Styles from A&T's program were the panelists. Some more discussion here on "are bloggers journalists?" Dr. Styles says no. I disagreed. Another person in the audience said that blogs are free-for-alls. No one will ever sue you for what you write on your blog. Again, I disagreed. How do we know? "Show me one person who's lost their house because of something they wrote on their blog?" he said. I can't. But what I do know is that this is publishing, and especially if you're affiliated with a newspaper's website, I can't imagine there isn't any trouble involved with shooting your mouth off - especially if what you say is untrue...I don't see carte blanche to libel being okay for the web any more than it is for print.
The gist here seemed to be that there aren't any clear answers. The bottom line is that good content is still the key - solid writing, a sense of one's intent. But it sure does help these days to know how to work a video camera.