Ever since I arrived in the blogosphere two years ago, I’ve been hearing, “Where are the women bloggers?” This past weekend we were in Chicago for the third annual BlogHer Conference held at Navy Pier. The event, sponsored by the organization of some 13,000 women, launched in 2005, offering a blogging conference that invited everyone, but limited speakers to women.
The event kicked off with the first General Session: Speed Dating for BlogHers, in which two massive circles of attendees faced each other as pairs to exchange introductions. Five minutes later one circle moved on to repeat their hello to the next BlogHer in the circle across. In the group of about 25 or so that I met. Many were charming new bloggers at their first conference of any kind . . . ever. Most of them had mommy blogs or were political bloggers. Two were conference sponsors.
The conference had sessions that followed six strands of information.
- The Art of Life: Sessions on writing, storytelling, reviews, visual art, foodblogging, crafts, community
- The Business of You: Sessions on branding and self-promotion, speaker training, media training, mentoring, turning a blog into a book, problogging
- Community: Sessions on life stages of communities, raising money for causes, raising consciousness, women across the world, oppressed or silenced communities, inclusion and exclusion
- Identity: Sessions on digital exhibitionists, blogs about body issues (weight loss etc.), intolerance, state of the momosphere
- Politics: Sessions on election 2008, breaking news to Op-Ed, Patriots Act
- Technical: Sessions on design, web standards, technical tools and traffic, workflow tools, taking your blog to the next level, multimedia labs, food photography
Sessions, other than the labs, were panels of 2-6 speakers. The second day started with the Google Breakfast. Unfortunately, the friends who went found that it must have been moved or been cancelled, because no one from Google was around the Grand Ballroom. We never did find out. Then again, I don’t know that anyone asked.
Elizabeth Edwards, blogger wife of the presidential candidate, was interviewed in the final session. She spoke of blogging, the election, and healthcare for women. The focus of BlogHers Act, a special initiative, was announced after. BlogHers Act will support global women’s health for the next year.
Christine Kane played at the first night’s cocktail party. Her set was fabulous, though the audience was not. The second night’s party was held in the children’s museum. Food was plentiful and often complimented.
Still, the best part was the people I got to hang out with.