This is the Third in a Series of Topical Summaries about BlogHer 12 in New York
Blogging about blogging may be a bit less of the navel gazer recursive exercise than it would at first glance seem to be. The publication industry is changing, and that change is strikingly apparent when I look back over how sponsor presentation has changed at BlogHer since my first acquaintance with it in in 2007 in Chicago. There are several elements of sponsor awareness I would like to touch upon here and none of these elements are static or one directional. Huh?
The New Publication Schema
I don’t mean to go all brainy, wordy on you here, but this is important if you want to be aware of the BlogHer environment as an example of the new publishing environment (notice I did not say “new media” — jargon quickly ages and loses meaning) and new content production and payment models. The elements I am talking about are not really elements or things as much as they are processes. And processes are slippery little beggars.
Publishing is not dead. Don’t believe it. Publishing is undergoing a metamorphosis from slow moving, but voracious caterpillar to a flight capable butterfly that flits from bloom to bloom. This publishing butterfly will reproduce itself; but needed, useful, and useless mutations will all, I suspect, appear in the very next generation.
When I first attended BlogHer in Chicago in 2007 the sponsor area was small and looked like it might have grown out of a very savvy Community College writing conference. That is not a bad thing. Please notice I did not say evolved from a PTA bake sale. The sponsor area this year seemed to have slid into a pair of Christian Louboutin pumps, and come of age overnight — per the Manhattan I saw it sipping at one of the “parties,” while pimping her new status as one of the darlings of the New Girl Network as evidenced by the number of industry scouts in the crowds at talks/sessions. (New Girl as opposed to the old boy network, get it? Duh of course you do. All of us in the know about tech, advertising, and blogging get IT.)
Next year’s event will be absolutely amazing at Chicago’s McCormick whatever-it-is-called-now. This almost makes me teary-eyed. For real. I feel like my little sister is all grown up and painting the town techno pink – with sleeves!
Oh keeriiist, I love hyperbole!
What Sponsors Have Realized
Sponsors have realized that women read blogs and that blogs are the new magazines. There are different types of sponsors, though. Magazine publishers have realized that bloggers united have more power over them than the traditional labor unions of the past because access to publishing platforms does not require writers and content creators to include them in the loop.
What Sponsors/Companies Have Not Realized
(not so much the PR firms they have hired)
- there are several types and levels of bloggers
- a stated policy of “we do not pay bloggers” shows that cretins run many big firms and still live in the patriarchal 20th Century
- bloggers do not write product reviews for spare change
- if the FTC treats us like publishers and/or journalists then the big boys are missing out if they don’t tap us while they can still afford us
- going around is often easier than going through
- women rule social media
- women may be bloggers without being Mommy Bloggers
- women may be bloggers and be a Mom too
- advertising, consulting, and affiliate statuses and other partnerships are the flip side of “paying bloggers”
- advertising entities may become clients of bloggers and not the other way around
Why every single one of these sponsors and/or their PR companies isn’t running as fast as their chubby little corporate legs will carry them to snatch up me and my expertise is beyond me.
What Bloggers Have Realized
Bloggers are starting to take themselves seriously. But they are still learning how to do that.
- bloggers have a commodity to sell and control many of the distribution channels for that commodity
- they don’t know how to define, sell, or trade commodities
- they have to determine what they are worth
- they are worth more than a free tube of mascara
- sex is a biological necessity and that information management is actually the world’s oldest profession
- they can speak directly to potential advertisers
What This Means
Content creators, platforms, and advertisers/sponsors are likely to emerge as the new stable triad of publishing. Print publishers and magazines need not be in the loop at all if writers want to produce the contemporary equivalent of books, or magazine articles. Know how is gaining on money in the publishing home stretch.
Next year in Chicago, BlogHer won’t be the Consumer Electronics Show, it will however give a preview as to what the next CES may be.