Amazing women of all stripes, that sums up the annual BlogHer conference for me. Annually in July or August since 2005, for two to three days, women who write online or who are thinking about starting a blog gather in a major city to learn, share, discuss topics with each other and woo and be wooed by advertisers and sponsors.
I tried to attend the BlogHer in 2006, but my personal life was disintegrating at the time, and I had to make some tough decisions about priorities.
My first time attending the annual conference was in 2007, a couple weeks after my mother’s funeral. The trip to Chicago saved my sanity and gave me a network within which I could exist as a writer. I was closing up my Mom’s house in Indiana that month and the proximity of the conference to the place where I had grown up and where I had taken care of my Mom during the last few months of her life was a godsend.
Since then I have attended when the conference was in San Francisco, then last year in San Diego, and now, this year, in New York. I also attended the first BlogHer Business Entrepreneurs and Technology Conference in Santa Clara in 2011.
I feel like I am a real part of the BlogHer network of women who are creating and developing communication experiences that are changing the world for the better. That is the secret to BlogHer’s success. Women who interact within this network know it is real.
BlogHer is a network of women doing what women have always done even in the days before social media and blogging. Women communicate and organize the now. Yes, it is sort of Zen. Women are the curators of culture. Throughout the last few millennia men have traditionally created and curated the historical world through the lenses of geography and politics/religion. Women are now sharing the organization and curation of their lives and the lives of their families in a way that previously had been accomplished face to face in small family and groups. When these personal processes were documented it was usually done through letters and recipes.
Now we are sharing evolved, contemporary letters and recipes of all sorts through a global community. The women who were smart enough to give a structure to the expansive contemporary community of women are Lisa, Elisa, and Jory, the cofounders of BlogHer. The structure of the BlogHer company expands as a publishing platform, advertising network, and conference series. There are now “TV” and print offerings and ads served beyond a bounded network. But more than anything else BlogHer feels like a network of women. That’s because it is.
Much more to come on different aspects of the network this week as I publish my “report back” from my attendance at the 8th Annual BlogHer Conference. Just a bit of a teaser, but BoomHers abounded, tit for tat info exchange was de rigueur as sponsors know more of what they want and what we can offer, and oh my, we are 8 years older than when this all started. Plus, I am already planning next year’s attendance as BlogHer returns to Chicago in 2013!