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Comments

Oh, and since you asked? Next year's sponsor: Jimmy Choo. Free shoes for all.

That's not a lot to ask, right?

Oh Nelle, we missed by a hair last night. As I just commented on your blog, I thank you for un-'ostrichcising' yourself. I appreciate your deep-think on the issue in this post: "The blogher uncivil war". (Thread drift: Great headline.) I like this paragraph in particular:

Once again I resort to mantra saying we are all unique, but it's true. It's also true that we fit into broad categories on a more macro level. So long as mommies and those who see things differently focus their attentions on each other, rather on the overall advancement of women towards our goal of being equal and equally heard, then we spin our wheels. And so long as we spend our time totally in theory and not in application, we fail to work onward towards these goals.

This is also a good opportunity to thank you for deepening the conversation on BlogHer.org in the past year.

Um, Chicago-bound?

Your commitment (with Elisa and Jory) to both put on this shindig and deal with the inevitable post-conference pricklies is amazing. I intend to give you more practical feedback via email, but, for now, I just want to echo what many of the women here have said -- you have created something wonderful. Imperfect? Of course. A subset of the BlogHer "target market" will always be dissatisfied. Bringing 700+ people together will always result in socially awkward moments and the resentment that goes along with them. No venue will ever be ideal for such a diverse audience. Is this conference important, empowering, fun, unique, powerful, legitimizing? Absolutely. Thank you.

Melinda:

Thank you for clarifying that you have posted your opinion, rather than the facts.

There are more facts you either ignored or made gross assumptions about that are relevant here, such as the financial realities of the women who attended, how women might use condoms whether they are married or hetero or not, and the work Elisa Camahort and team did to assign BlogHer scholarships and volunteer positions to women based on financial need. And contrary to your sweeping, categorical statements about many of the women who attended and led discussions, none of the co-founders are personal or professional friends with them.

Bottomline: I find your version of events seriously misrepresentative. I had to work really hard to extract a few nuggets of valuable feedback from this post as a result. They're there, but they're rare.

Jess, thanks for your comment - I really enjoyed meeting you. You took some terrific photos by the way. (Here's the link folks.)

Lady M, I'm complimented that you enjoyed the writing discussion Lynne and I worked on. We barely know each other, but I've been a blog-fan of hers for years and expect to see great social media developments at Fast Company now that she's in the house. I see you know more than a little something about writing headlines: My son, Evel Knievel, Geeky Girls, Time Compression, and a Nuclear Poodle.

Mothergoosemouse, thank YOU for the work you did to introduce yourself and other people pre-BlogHer. Your email list and Mocha Momma's BlogMe initiative were two favorites. I'd love it if you all could work together to think about networking -- on a grand, really diverse scale -- before Chicago.

Mom-101, I was so happy to come across your post. Marginalization hurts and I think we need to confront it, which you did so beautifully in your post. You also are living proof that people in conventional-appearing lives can live with eyes wide open -- and that assuming one can tell what's happening in the mind of a married white mother is a mistake. Thanks for pushing the envelope with your discussion on real differences. More writing please.

Girl con Queso - what a metaphor. NICE. I'm glad this is helpful. I keep trying to wash my mental blackboard clean so that I can show up for every post I see on the topic. You also create an opportunity for me to say this: We need first-time attendees to give us feedback and goals too. I invite you to join in.

Average Jane, that means a lot. Your tone, like Carmen's, is one of my faves. I was really glad to meet you this year since I missed you last. I'm so glad you'll go east next year too.

Izzy, thank you so much for this recap and for your amazingly kind words after the closing keynote. It's particularly wild for me to read what the conference meant to you because I've read you when you're not, um, impressed. So I take the compliment seriously. And I look forward to brainstorming with you on how to make it better too.

Basia, welcome! Thanks for your note - I really am working hard to walk my talk about a grassroots conference, one where we keep trying to blow up hierarchy by giving up control to attendees. So criticism is essential. I hope you do join us - and hope you'll recommend a discussion idea or three. I see you could teach me a fair amount about photography...

JenB - xo

Fizz - I was so happy to find your blog when Elisa first pointed me to it before the conference. You were one of the many new discoveries for me of the conference -- just like Heather B, Lady M, Jess, Crazedparent -- the list goes on. I really appreciated the time you took to post about it.

Liz - !! Have you seen this post about your soul-sister, Pim? Enjoy...

Asha - Thank YOU for noting the realities of the BlogHer amoeba in so many fewer words than I could accomplish. The goal cannot be perfection, we will all go mad. But I am convinced that we do need more diverse topics, attendees, formats and opportunities. And I deeply appreciate those of you who take me, Elisa and Jory seriously when we say that. I look forward to your email!

I am an African-American woman and I attended the Blogher conference. I enjoyed it.

But, I found the conference to be like everything else in life. Race matters! Who is part of your network matters! Who you know matters!

Diversemom, nice to meet you here! I agree - race does matter and personal and professional networks matter too. How would you improve on what you experienced at BlogHer '06 -- what new discussions and networking opps should be part of Chicago? I would love your thoughts.

THANK YOU for such a fabulous conference and such a well-written wrap up.

"Your commitment (with Elisa and Jory) to both put on this shindig and deal with the inevitable post-conference pricklies is amazing. I intend to give you more practical feedback via email, but, for now, I just want to echo what many of the women here have said -- you have created something wonderful. Imperfect? Of course. A subset of the BlogHer "target market" will always be dissatisfied. Bringing 700+ people together will always result in socially awkward moments and the resentment that goes along with them. No venue will ever be ideal for such a diverse audience. Is this conference important, empowering, fun, unique, powerful, legitimizing? Absolutely.

Ashe, what did you feel empowered to do? How are you going to come out of this conference and make a difference for women? Or scratch that, a difference for women webloggers?

What is the purpose of Blogher anymore? To make money for women? I don't see it to increase women's visibility--the keynote speakers were all well known already.

Is it to make things better for the imprisoned women bloggers in Iran? Oh, don't know about them? You mean you have a weblogging conference for women bloggers and you don't talk about such things?

I've read post after post about empowerment. How? I really want to know.

As for what Jory, Elisa, and Lisa have done, yes it is impressive. But I suggest that people remember that they have incorporated Blogher into a for-profit company. I work my buns off on my job, too.

I would have liked to have seen a real debate on all these topics. But the founders won't even post on these issues at Blogher.

Good luck with your future conferences. I can guarantee this will be one less person critical. One less person who ever refers to Blogher, again.

i really hope that i can help in planning, somehow, next year. but i'll be in school up until may, so i'm not sure how that will work.

i used to work for a hotel in their sales dept., so i know a little bit about event planning, and what to negotiate with the hotel. also, check with the hotels you're interested in - some of them have certified event planners. also, check with the chicago chamber and see if they have consultants for you to use as a resource. your catering manager and sales manager can be your best friends at the hotel(s).

may i recommend the hilton towers in chicago? i don't know if it would be affordable enough, but i've been to conferences there and it is a fabulous facility. it's near the park, so there are lots of things to do, too. (especially if we can time it to be near taste of chicago).

anyway, i'm by no means an expert, but if i can help somehow, i would love to be involved. and if school (15 hours of classes plus full time work) keeps me out of it this time, i will plan to help in 2008. because i'm certain there will be a 2008. :)

(Disclosure: I'm Melinda's partner.)

Contrary to your sweeping, categorical statements about many of the women who attended and led discussions, none of the co-founders are personal or professional friends with them

Really? The founders have no personal or professional friendship with, for example, Grace Davis?

It's commendable that the majority of speakers this year were new. But it's simply not credible to suggest that *all* the speakers were strangers to you; given the close-knit nature of the community, it would be remarkable indeed if this were the case.

I must be extremely easy to please, because my only beef with the hotel was that our hairdryer didn't work. When I walked into registration on Friday morning with Rachel from Minti, both of our jaws dropped open at the sight. I had never been to a conference before, and although I had seen the sponsor list on the BlogHer website, I had no idea that they would be handing us a huge totebag full of gifts. Okay, so I don't need a condom, but that doesn't mean I feel hatred towards Elexa for putting one in the bag.

I appreciated having hot coffee I didn't have to make myself, a lunch I could eat without having to feed my children first, and I appreciated the hotel basically turning over their pool area to us. Yes, I was unable to connect to the wireless network for more than a few minutes all weekend, but next year I'll know to bring an ethernet cable.

But most of all, I appreciated the chance to feel, for the first time since I started blogging, like I was doing something worthwhile. I wish I had remembered to thank you, Elisa and Jory personally for the incredible amount of time, energy, commitment and planning that you put into the conference. If there is anything I can do to help you get ready for BlogHer '07, you only need to ask.

This was an excellent recap. YOur addressed the issues of the conference and while acknowledging them refused to take responsibility for things you had no control over. Bravo.

I attended BlogHer. I had a great time. There was unpleasantness...you referred to one hate filled post in particular. I was amazed not only at the post itself, but at some bloggers' reaction. You hit it on the head when you suggested substituting any other minority.

I've ready many BlogHer recaps over the last week many of them take issue with the fact that it was "focused on mommybloggers" As on of those mommybloggers I can tell you that that focus did not feel that great. And I don't know what the issues was.

I completely support the theme of '07 as being one of unification. I love that you put together a conference for Bloggers. I wish we had had more oppurtunities to discuss what it is blogging means to us. some us were able to do this on our own time, but the seed was planted before the conference and that reflection alone did me some good.

Having put together fundraisers and conferences before I know how tricky advertising and sponsorship can be. It sounds like you learned a lot this year. I can certainly appreciate that.

I applaud your efforts, and enthusiasm. And I applaud you Energy. Thanks for putting this conference on.

Great recap, Lisa!

Reality (as I see it) is simple -- you can't possibly please everyone, every time -- you, Elisa and Jory have given birth to an idea and have made every effort to continue your commitment to helping other women bloggers (like me) find their voice.

That's a whole lot of talking to try and keep up with!

As I contributing editor -- who did NOT attend BlogHer I and/or II -- I commend your efforts in keeping an open dialogue (not to mention, writing it ain't easy) and appreciate all of your support, past and present.

Growing pains are tough -- trust me, I've got three girls and a boy who insists on begging me for a brother! -- and I sincerely hope that we can all continue to learn from each other and accept the fact that BlogHer is onto something...mistakes and all...thanks for inviting us along for the ride!

"As I contributing editor..."

Sounds like "I Robot" kinda talk...sorry 'bout the typo...it's early...or late...depending upon your time zone and/or point of view...since, I can't sleep right anymore, anyways.

James: Oh thank you, you are correct. I made a serious typo in that sentence. Here is my correction, which I've also asked Melinda to post on Sour Duck:

And contrary to your sweeping, categorical statements about many of the women who attended and led discussions, none of the co-founders are personal or professional friends with (INSERT) all of (/INSERT) them.

I certainly do know some of the women who spoke, Melinda included. My apologies for the typo everyone.

Hi Becky, thanks for the suggestion of the Hilton Towers - I think one of the benefits of Chicago could be (like BlogHer '05) that a variety of hotel price points are available. Thank you for the offer of help! We'll put you on the list to torment contact

Elizabeth, I am glad the caffeine was good for you too. :) That said, I have a fantasy of a sponsored mug in the totebags next year so that we can go greener, to Britt Bravo's excellent point. I am probably personally responsible for four discarded coffee cups a day. And you're on that list with Becky.

Brit, thank you so much for coming to the conference. I'm glad you feel like I'm hearing what people are saying, good and good criticism alike. You are right: I have stretchmarks on my brain from all the feedback. We can definitely improve next year. Your encouragement helps!

Liz, you are right about the growing pains. They're essential. And I *really* hope that
you can join us in Chicago or New York. Let's discuss?

re: ideas for sponsors and such, I'm going to start working on the folks from Sams Publishing to have a presence, since a) they're in Indianapolis and b) books! on all sorts of topics related to things covered in many sessions!

Actually, a lot of tech publishers are based in Indy...

Very cool idea JM. I think books and book sponsors work with this crowd...

I just wanted to add, the more I think about this thoughtful recap, and the amount of time you women put into the conference (and blogHer as a whole), I am a little peeved at those who would suggest "it's all about the ad dollars."

The way I see it, it's a labor of love for something you believe in. You put your money where your mouth is (so to speak) every day, simply by keeping up with blogs and being part of the community.

Doesn't everyone have a right to pursue her passion--and even better, to make a living doing it? It's what most people only dream about. And you're doing it.

Rah rah rah for you Lisa, and the rest of the BlogHer crew too.

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