Wednesday, June 14, 2006

BlogHer @ Bloggercon IV

Dave Winer, the Bloggercon mastermind is trying some different things for Bloggercon IV, including inviting other conference to come be part of the conversation. Ryanne Hodson will be leading a discussion about video blogging and recapping Vloggercon. Chris Pirillo will be leading a discussion about putting users in charge as a preview to Gnomedex, and I will be representin' for BlogHer in a session entitled Building Bridges.

When Dave and I started discussing what a BlogHer preview at Bloggercon should look like we considered more than one option. The idea of actually talking about BlogHer itself...the what, the why, the how it's different, etc. was tossed out, but frankly it felt too much like a commercial. Even more so, it felt like it might turn into an old argument about "where are the women bloggers."

So instead we decided to preview BlogHer by having the kind of session one might easily find on a BlogHer schedule, and here is the session abstract we agreed on:
Building Bridges
Numbers don't lie. Whether talking about Fortune 500 CEO chairs, media commentators or conference speaking rosters, women have been raising a stink for years about lack of representation. People are getting more savvy about *marketing* about diversity...making sure their emails and web sites and brochures feature every woman and minority they've got, but when you click through you're left thinking "is that all there is?" So, there's a dichotomy between the lip-service some men give about their interest in collaborating with women -- and the reality of how many men in power don't give women the platform or the megaphone. No wonder so many women are doing it for themselves -- the question is this: do we stick with popular, powerful his-and-hers conferences, or is there any possibility that we could come together and have a conference for humans? How? When? What would it look and act like? And what would it take?

(That bit about marketing is a new thing I've started paying attention to. I used to simply look at speaking rosters and comment on the male/female ratio. Now, I also look at the marketing pieces for said conferences and note the delta between the male/female ratio in the marketing material vs. the male/female ratio for the actual conference.)

The Bloggercon format is described here. Normally Lisa, Jory and I would tag team on a discussion like this, but Dave requires a single Discussion Leader only. Never fear, Jory and Lisa will be there, as will numerous other BlogHers. Bloggercon was probably the first conference to really emphasize that the audience is as smart as the panel and needs to be involved from word one. That is certainly a practice that BlogHer wholly and enthusiastically embraces.

The challenge, as always, in discussions like this is to keep focused on action and how to move forward, not on dissecting or defending the past. Should be an interesting time with this group of people on hand.

Bloggercon IV
Date: June 23/24
BlogHer Preview Session: Saturday, June 24 at 10:30AM-11:45AM
Location c|net offices: 235 Second Street San Francisco, CA 94105
Full schedule

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