Thank you, all of you who endured took the time and effort to complete the BlogHer Conference '05 Decompression Survey. Here is a brief synopsis of what you said -- and we listened, as you'll see in our first BlogHer email news bulletin coming this week.
What did we learn? You want another conference, we learned from sifting these responses. You want a two-day conference. You want the very best people to speak and you really, really want these speakers to be women. You want the conference to be near you. And you have incredible, supportive things to say about each other and the experience of coming together.
On a personal note, I need to add that I was unprepared for one facet of your feedback. I've been administering and reporting on women's opinion surveys for many years and know for a fact that women don't feel a need to pull their punches in this format. So don't ask women for their opinions if you don't want a frank answer! But when I opened these responses, the survey feedback felt like a huge group hug. Yes, you administered a few sharp raps to our knuckles, and we deserve them (longer sessions, more time to socialize and no more Shania Twain videos, damn it!). But most of your suggestions were qualitative, specific, strategic, and amounted to an incredible outpouring of enthusiasm and support. I provide some samples below.
To wit: 76 percent of the people who responded to this survey volunteered to help out with BlogHer '06. Now for that, I know, Elisa, Jory and I will happily burn the midnight oil. Again, thank you.
I've selected and summarized these questions in the following order if you click through to the extended post. Here goes:
The Americas. UK. Spain. France. China. India. That's a starter list of the countries represented in BlogHer's Global Chat, run and donated by Laura Scott and her business partner Katherine Lawrence. In a moving post about her marathon day, Laura wrote:
"The chatroom was an unqualified success, despite the last-minute challenges (which I'll write about later). I don't have any official numbers, but the room was busy the entire time. Late morning and early afternoon seemed to be the peak times, with some 30-40 people in the room chatting all at once. You almost had to speed-read just to keep up. I was also pleased to see some eminentbloggers check in and stay a while. With the sensational live bloggers like Socal Mom, Spanglemonkey and Mary Beth (whose shoe blogging was a hoot) giving us near-real-time reports from the scene, we truly felt connected; the Santa Clara meet-up became a global event. With little gestation time (and a whole lot of effort), BlogHer was born with a loud cry heard worldwide." (Read the whole thing here, as well as Laura's belief that the next BlogHer Conference must go well beyond chat.)
Here's a taster of some of the chat dialogue, from Transcript #4 of six total (which I copied from the text file into Word for easy reading):
bucky4eyes says to(2005-7-30 14:25:24):howdy!
Rachel says to(2005-7-30 14:25:40):I tend to use flame as a negative, but there's not a single word for a positive statment - I'd use something like constructive criticism
larkspur says to(2005-7-30 14:25:49):You can have a huge argument without flaming.
Karen says to(2005-7-30 14:25:54):That to me is flaming. Saying personal negative things.
norbizness says to(2005-7-30 14:26:0):
Rachel: Or, at least, "willingness to dialogue"
Shelley says to(2005-7-30 14:26:3):The dictionary refers to flame as an intense or negative emotion
redsaid says to(2005-7-30 14:26:28):Yeah, when people start making personal attacks outside of the original content of the argument.
larkspur says to(2005-7-30 14:26:33):I think the online meaning of "flame" has refined it somewhat.
larkspur says to(2005-7-30 14:27:3):To mean almost exclusively an unfair or purposefully hurtful attack....
You'll find all the transcripts here. And, while all these thank yous seem inadequate to the contribution, we want to offer a huge, heartfelt thank you to Laura and Katherine for offering this megaphone to women and men who weren't able to be in the room with everyone else. I think Laura's recommendations for fixing that next time are on the right track...