Over 120 Indiana bloggers gathered yesterday and today in Indianapolis, sharing ideas, support and enthusiasm for social media. Since this site is a blog (a website with regularly updated text in reverse chronological order), I’m at the conference!
There are about 40 women here, as far as I can estimate (conference organizers, please chime with an actual number!) which is more than I expected. The women (like all the bloggers) here range from “thinking about starting a blog” to “blogging is my highest priority.” Six of 24 workshops were led by women – pretty much proportional with women’s attendance at the conference. Three of 12 panel speakers were women – also 1/4. Maybe Indiana bloggers are good at math…?
The conference was organized by two men (Noah Coffey and Shawn Plew), though women were involved in supporting and sponsoring as well (far less visibly). Having a woman front and center in leadership might increase women’s attendance in the future. So would thanking the women (like the wives of Shawn and Noah) who worked so hard on the conference.
These simple things would have helped me feel more comfortable, as a woman and especially as a feminist blogger. There was a session last night for general networking, but having a time for women bloggers to get to know each other would be a great addition to the next conference.
I was glad that one of the workshop leaders and panel speakers, Bil Browning, is the publisher of the Bilerico Project, the second-largest LGBTQ blog in the world. His participation was not only in the context of being a gay man, but specifically focused on this site. This was unapologetic, as it should be.
I found it ironic that the last session I went to (Blogging Basics Open Discussion) gave corporate advice about taking up lines of a Google search about their company, pushing out hits of personal blogs by customers. It shouldn’t be a surprise – the promised democratization of the web is still trumped by money (wow, just like the democratization of anything else!).
Filed under: conferences on August 17th, 2008 by Anna Lisa