Category: BlogHer

Aug 29 2010

What Does Being an Aural Learner Mean?

My learning style according to the University of PhoenixA few weeks ago at BlogHer, the University of Phoenix was offering a learning assessment you could take to find out what your learning style was to win an iPad (which I did win – holy cow – but more on that in a future entry, there’s a funny story to share). As you can see from my results here, I tested nearly completely as aural, with a big chunk of logical, some solitary, and a teeny weeny bit of visual. I was told that was pretty much dead opposite of the rest of BlogHer attendees, which I found pretty fascinating. I knew my learning style was considered more masculine than feminine, but I would have said it was because I was visual/spatial (or what I thought of as left brain vs right). Mind you, spatial isn’t on this learning style chart, could mean the same thing as visual, and maybe one doesn’t exclude the other (anyone know?), but I barely registered as a visual learner.

I have always been very musically oriented, from starting to play the piano when I was 4, to learning a bunch of other musical instruments just because (not saying I was good at them, but they were fun to play with), to singing in any chorus, choir or musical that would have me. And of course, if you know me, you know my love for Broadway. A good song, or even just an amazing voice will easily bring me to tears, but I never really thought about whether or not that meant anything.

I was staying with my parents while I was in NYC at the conference, and when I told my mom (who’s a lifelong academic/educator, now a college professor and school superintendent) what the test said, her response was simply “of course!” Oh. Revelation to me, known fact to her.

Some people have eidetic (photographic) memories, where they can take a quick look at something and recall every single element of it. I can do something similar where my brain takes single snapshots of certain moments and can recall details of those snapshots, no matter how old they are. My memories are full of mental pictures. If I’m remembering notes on a page, I have to remember where those notes are on the page before I can remember the content of the notes. I’m also terrible at foreign languages, and thought all of this made me a visual learner.

Now with the learning assessment results in mind, I realize that my “visual snapshot ability” (it’s in quotes because I don’t think it’s considered any kind of “real” ability) doesn’t even come close to what I do with audio. People with eidetic memories can remember every single detail of something they’ve seen for a brief moment, which I can only do on occasion, and I can’t make it happen, as much as I’ve tried to “train” it. It just happens, sometimes due to an emotional event associated with the moment, and sometimes for no good reason at all.

However, I can recall audio I’ve heard for a brief moment down to the most minute detail, sometimes with visuals, sometimes without. I know the proper pitch, the vocal tone, I can identify single notes in chords in my head, I often remember the lyrics, and although I may not be able to accurately recreate the audio due to my inability to play the piano or sing even half as well as I used to (I mentioned all of this briefly in the 25 things you don’t know about me post/meme/thingy), I know the tune inside and out. It used to drive my piano teachers crazy (they call it “playing by ear”), if they made the mistake of playing a song for me before I learned it by reading the music, I would never look at the music again and play from audio memory. I’ve always thought that was due to a lot of training (both vocal and instrumental), and music theory classes, but I now think it’s more than that. In hindsight, the learning assessment results make perfect sense. Why else would I still be able to recall every single helper verb I had to memorize in 6th grade to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (“be being as is have has could, do does did, may might must….” and so on). My teacher said we would never forget, and she was right.

I also learned years ago that I cannot do much of anything without sound in the background. It doesn’t really matter what the sound is, just something my mind can grab on to so the rest of me can concentrate on something else. When I was younger, this was a pretty big problem due to the common belief that you must have silence to be able to study. Once I got older and figured it out, concentrating became much easier. I blamed that on my general tendency towards hyperactivity (or ADHD, or whatever you want to call it). I’ve never been good at sitting still, and have never grown out of the “ooh, shiny!” distractibility.

The same goes with me in the office and at home. If I’m at home, the TV is on, no matter what I’m doing. CNN is on right now, has been for hours, but it’s just background noise. I do know part of my head IS listening, though, for example, I just heard the words “Clay Shirky” and looked up. And now (it’s probably hours later, I’ve been doing other things while writing/editing this entry) I just recognized a voice, looked up, and it’s Marc Saltzman, who used to work with us at Pseudo years ago, wow, hey Marc! How on earth is possible that he looks younger now? I sure don’t. But he’s on CNN! See, random bits and pieces catch my attention. But is my attention being swiped by the TV ADHD, or my ability to learn almost subconsciously through audio?

At work, if I’m trying to concentrate, my headphones are on. I’m not really paying attention, but just like CNN right now, I will be affected by what I’m listening to. I tell you, there’s nothing like fighting tears while writing a spec (I swear, I’m not crying over specs, even if Jira does love to suggest that I tag all my specs “pain”). And nothing on earth will keep me from falling asleep more than a sound I can just barely hear, no matter what it is, my mind will not stop trying to interpret it into something I can recognize, put to a pattern, and end.

Everyone gets a song or a jingle stuck in their head every once in a while. I’m the same, except in my situation, I cannot get the tune out of my head until I completely memorize it. I will hear commercials as I’m wandering around the house (I fast-forward through them when I’m actively watching TV) and end up memorizing them, or even worse, memorizing bits and pieces. It doesn’t matter what the song or jingle is, anything musical has to have an ending, otherwise it gets stuck on a loop in my head.

That is also why I tend to listen to full musicals or albums that run together (like Queensryche’s Mindcrime) while I’m working (and monotonous TV when I’m reading or writing or something), I don’t notice the switch from one song to another as much, and am able to easily stop in the middle, since it can then continue through to the end in my head.

If I don’t know the ending of a song or jingle, or if it ends on a discordant note or in the middle of a beat or something (like nails on a friggin chalkboard to me!), I’ll end up mixing it in my head with a song I do know that hits the same note or a complimentary one in the same key.

Fortunately, I tend to forget the mix once I learn the song, since I do come up with some really weird ones, I don’t know how my head pulls the songs together. I’ve wondered before if really good DJ’s train that ability to select songs that match, and that’s how they mix music so well (I don’t do it intentionally, and have never tried), but that’s another blabber for another time. I do get well done mash-ups (ones that match more than just a beat) stuck in my head pretty easily, and tend to avoid them as a result.

As a silly example, last September when I was on vacation to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, we kept hearing “See You Again” by Miley Cyrus everywhere. It has a funky chorus with off beat lyrics, and got hopelessly stuck in my head. I bought the song as soon as possible (I think I got it from iTunes while I was still at the Vegas airport), put it on repeat many times over a few days, worked out the piece of the song I was having trouble memorizing, even looked up the lyrics I couldn’t clearly understand, and was done with it. I can still run though the whole thing in my head, it’s actually a cute, catchy song, but the point is…I don’t have to.

For the most part, I discover interesting music this way. The annoying piece is when I get bits and pieces of TV jingles stuck in my head, or songs I really don’t like – the solution is still the same as with the Miley Cyrus song. I’m also often amused when I discover what song goes with what tv commercial, there’s rarely any relation between the lyrics of the song and what the commercial is pitching.

Strangely enough, this all started out as an entry about my trip to South Africa, but it’s safe to say that this is already far too long of a single blog entry from a girl who’s already been told her entries get too long. Oops.

Until an actual “all about my trip to Cape Town” entry (of which there will be many), I leave you with this…gorgeous, isn’t it?

Table Mountain

Disclosure: I wrote most of this entry on an iPad I won from the University of Phoenix at BlogHer because I took the learning assessment described in this entry. I think I’d be writing this entry anyway, because the findings were really interesting to me, but maybe it wouldn’t be quite so rambly if I hadn’t had the iPad on some very, very long plane trips. You decide if that is a good or bad thing. I’m too jet-lagged to care. There ya go, FTC – full blogger disclosure.

Aug 07 2010

Who Will You Be Online When You Die? BlogHer Day Two

I’m in the Geek Lab this afternoon, in a session on “Taking an inventory of your digital life” by Rosemary Jean-Louis and Kristen Kuhns. Sort of similar to my own panel yesterday, but different – more about understanding the impact one thing can have on your digital presence.

They make a very good point, that you’re not going to end up in the history books unless you’re Steve Jobs or something. You are making your own history with your online presence across social networks, blogs, email – it’s not JUST your blog. You’re leaving footprints everywhere you are online.

In fact, it’s entirely possible the worst stuff about you online is not on your blog. For example, that damn Quake box picture that I will never live down is on, not here.

A recommended list of places to check to determine your “digital inventory”:

  • Ping sites
  • Location sharing sites
  • Your websites
  • Websites that have quoted you
  • Websites/blogs you have commented on
  • Websites you’ve joined

They recommend using Google Alerts for your own name to catch new mentions of your name. I do this, but it’s become pretty funny for me, since there is a reporter with my name. Every time she writes a new article (which is a couple of times a week), I get alerts. But hey, at least I’m up to date on the news in Boston?

Interesting point about how your digital presence is more than just the now, but about your legacy. I admit, I pretty much never think about that, and it’s a fantastic point. Your children, your great-grandchildren will read about you online someday. Imagine if you could read your grandmother’s blog? How cool would that be.

And some recommendations on how to leave a digital legacy to be proud of:

  • Centralize your identity – consider using Open ID or Facebook Connect (or other) to be the same you everywhere.
  • Be familiar with privacy settings on sites you belong to and their policies on what happens when you die.
  • Consider adding your username and password info to your will so your family has access to your blogs, email, social media sites.
  • Consider an online vault site, or digital will (Entrustet is one company – never even knew this existed).

Ok, I admit, I NEVER EVER think about that. I’ve dealt with it from a work perspective, mostly back when I was with the LiveJournal Abuse Team, but it is worth thinking about. If I die, do I want this blog to stay here, with the last entry as whatever it was?

Facebook apparently allows family members to access a deceased user’s profile, but Twitter has no such policy. Most companies don’t, apparently.

Hotmail allows a family to order a CD copy of their loved one’s emails. Now that’s creepy to me. I really don’t want anyone getting my email history after I’m dead, I wonder if I can opt out?

Online retailers are in a whole other category for digital legacies. What happens if orders keep coming in and you’re dead? How does anyone contact customers, etc.

It’s also important to remember that technology changes. This is the first generation who will be online from birth ’till death – I’ve definitely seen that with my niece, where my brother bought the domain name for her website before she was born (even before he’d tell ME what her name was!). You’ll note- now that Alice is two, that website isn’t being updated anymore. Pics are private on Flickr. But what if Flickr goes away? Caption your pictures, make sure you know who’s in them, because you won’t know forever. That’s a great point for someone to make to me, the lazy girl who just uploaded pictures to Flickr that I took over New Year’s in Ireland! I’m terrible about archiving and recording things for posterity.

Check out Rosemary’s site at The Geek Treatment or @thesexygeek, and Kristen at Story of My Life.

Fabulous session, ladies, very very glad I attended.

Aug 06 2010

NSFW and TMI? BlogHer – Day One

I think it’s interesting how every year BlogHer seems to have a theme running through the sessions. Last year it was really focused on how to blog, or become a better, bigger blogger. This year it seems to be more about what, or how to share, and how to spur community around whatever you’re sharing. And that was certainly the topic of the panel I was on – “Authenticity or TMI: When does blogging the personal hurt your brand?”

As everyone knows, this is my personal blog. I talk about all sorts of stuff here, but it’s not about work, as in, it’s not about my job at Yola. To read about that, go check out the Yola blog which has lots of people blogging about all things Yola.

This is my personal space. I talk about tech stuff, baking, science fiction, my cats, annoying experiences, whatever is on my mind at the moment. But I also heavily self-censor. There are topics I will never, ever discuss here, or at least, not until I’ve made a conscious decision to change my online image.

Those of you who’ve known me since the Pseudo days know that there was a time where I didn’t see any limits to what was “right” to do online. I also believe that the Internet was a very different place then. My mother wasn’t going to accidentally come across an episode of Lilith & Eve and be freaked out because I fake-punched Aurora in the face (and what an awesome fight that was!!). These days there would be no keeping that from my mom, my employer and everyone.

My choice is simply not to put it online. Other women on the panel with me have other approaches to this, and I can’t say one is right or wrong over another. It’s a very personal decision, and one that someone should very consciously make. So here’s my advice, and a summary of what I said on the panel:

Don’t leave it to chance. Sit down and decide where your line will be drawn. What is the right content for what network – they’re not all the same. After that, go clean up anything that doesn’t fit between the lines. Decide what you want the top search result to be for you in Google. If it’s not the top result already, do some SEO and make it so.

Whether or not you want to be, you are a brand online. And just as Coke or Pepsi fastidiously monitors their brand online, so you should yours as well.

Aug 06 2010

It’s BlogHer Time of Year Again

..and this year it’s in New York City, which is about as cool as things can get, since I’m from here.

I’m waiting for the first session to begin right now, so while I’m waiting, here are some random tips on BlogHer and NYC:

– If anyone asks you for money, to buy crap, or whatever on the street, glare at them with narrowed eyes and snark “Do I look like a fucking tourist.” Guaranteed to work.

– Don’t get overwhelmed with all the sessions. You can’t attend them all, and that’s OK!

– Be friendly. People are more than open to talk (I do get the irony that I’m sitting staring at my computer telling other people to be friendly. But I will be friendly later, I swear), and are here to meet people like you! I finally did talk to the woman sitting next to me, awesome blog I need to read: One Woman’s Eye.

– It’s hot. Very hot out. And chilly inside. Wear as little as possible while still being decent.

Woops, this will be shorter than intended, session starting now. More later!

Jul 29 2009

Sponsors, Scholarships and Schwag at BlogHer – Oh My!

There were a large number of sponsors at BlogHer, all giving out a large number of products to people. There were also individual bloggers who were sponsored by various companies to go to BlogHer and pass out schwag on their behalf. It all felt a bit like a movie poking fun at product placements. The Green Session sponsored by Clorox? Lunch sponsored by Ragu?

I think the problems people had with sponsor related things at the conference can be broken into three groups. The conference sponsors themselves, the sponsored bloggers attending the conference, and the amount of schwag received at the conference.

1. The Schwag

People complaining about there being *too much schwag* simply haven’t attended enough conferences to see that this is what happens.

I remember needing an extra suitcase each year to bring home all the stuff I got at E3, and loving it. Don’t want it? Don’t take it or give it back. People do have the ability to say no, don’t they?

There was a schwag recycle area, and when I showed up with my stuff, there was someone standing right there who took almost everything I was giving back off of my hands. She also gave me a cute little travel candle that I rather like.

I would also be a total hypocrite if I complained about the makeup/fashion sponsors, because, well, I love what I got. I adore Lush, the new lip balm thingy is pretty neat, Mary Kay has great lipstick, and let’s face it, Ann Taylor has now given all of us the most stylist USB drive we will ever see. We ARE women, and it makes sense to me that there would be brands targeting women here.

2. The Sponsors

All conferences need sponsors to survive.

Let’s face it, sponsors are absolutely necessary. Maybe the conference needs very clear tracks to it, like others tend to do. The mommy blogging track sponsored by Wal-Mart. The Geek track sponsored by someone else (there weren’t very many geek sponsors). And an independent track nobody sponsors so there is no feeling of favoritism.

3. The Sponsored Bloggers

Biases and priorities need to be made clear.

A number of bloggers at the conference were sponsored, given scholarships, or paid (I’ve heard all three terms used to describe the same thing) to go to the conference on behalf of some brand. While there, they would then promote the brand or hand out product wherever they were, be that on a panel or at a party.

It is a given that the name of the company you work for belongs on your conference badge if you are there for the company. It should be no different with sponsors – if you’ve been sent there by random brand name, your badge should say “Sponsored by Random Brand.” That makes it very blatant, and may even prevent some people from accepting these sponsorships in the future.

Thank you to the sponsors.

Without the sponsors, the conference fees could easily have been in the thousands, as most conferences are. Many women would not have been able to go, and, well, I’m not going to need to buy laundry detergent for a while (and as a girl who doesn’t have a job, I appreciate that).

BlogHer is a conference that is growing in size and maturity, and as it grows, it will need to follow more of the standards that other conferences do. But please – sponsors – hear the message of “thank you” louder than any other. We appreciate all that you’ve done, and look forward to seeing you again next year.

Jul 27 2009

#BlogHer09 Wrapup – On Experts, or Lack Thereof

I’m on the plane now headed back to San Francisco, after a fun few days in Chicago for BlogHer. I have mixed feelings about the conference, which I will get into, but I do want to make sure I say this up front:

I had a wonderful time, met some amazing people, am glad that I went, and have already bought my ticket for BlogHer ’10 in NYC next year.

We only criticize that which we love, right?

So, onto the critiquing. I think this is going to end up split into a couple of posts, since as usual, I got rambly.

Where were the actual experts?

BlogHer had lots of panels run by various women, but very few actual “experts” to speak of. Seeing people who’ve been blogging or twittering for a year being elevated as ‘expert women in technology’ really gets to me. It’s just like being able to drive a car and claiming you are an expert working in the automotive industry.

The real expert, respected female bloggers weren’t at the conference. Where was Kathy Sierra – who knows better than anyone what can happen when you become too exposed as a blogger. Where was Sarah Lacy, who’s published one (second one is on the way, I think) book on the industry, and is now a regular blogger at TechCrunch. Gina Tripani from Lifehacker. Kara Swisher from All Things D. Megan McCarthy, Molly Wood, Natalie DelConte.  They don’t blog about Pampers, but they are very widely read female bloggers. What about Veronica Belmont, Amber Mac, you could call them video bloggers.

It does a lot of harm to hold people up as experts when they’re not, or at least, not without very explicitly narrowing down the field they are experts in. “This person is an expert at talking to 50k people on twitter about random stuff,” is very different than “this person is a technology expert.”

And it is, unfortunately, a gender thing. Men would never put up with it. If some article came out in the New York Times calling a guy who wrote a couple of blog entries over the last year a technology expert, Michael Arrington and others would have their hides. Men, understandably, don’t consider someone an expert until they’ve proven themselves. Women, for some reason, are a bit more loose with that, and will sometimes consider a woman an expert because the woman themselves said that they were.

When we allow the media to elevate women with no practical industry experience as technology experts we leave the impression that there aren’t any better experts out there. And THAT is terrible.

If there are going to be expert panels, they should be run by actual experts. Not someone who has 10,000 followers, and therefore thinks they know all about Twitter. Want to do an expert panel on Twitter? Get someone from Twitter on the panel. Panel on WordPress? Get someone from Automattic. Most of the panels at BlogHer would never fly at any other kind of conference. Harsh to say but, well, assuming the panels even got started because of the sponsorships (which I’ll cover in another entry), the panelists would have been laughed off the stage.

What are these non-experts teaching people anyway?

Teaching someone how to download Tweetie is helpful, but only touches the surface of what a lesson on Twitter should be.

A session on privacy and identity that tells people to use the privacy features on Facebook to protect themselves is misleading and dangerous.

This is what happens when people are running sessions on technology they don’t fully understand themselves, and why you really do need “real” experts to do the teaching.

Thank god for the geek lab!

The vast majority of sessions I went to were what were called “Geek Lab” sessions, held in one side of one little conference room. I learned PHP, Apache, htaccess, and CSS. Of course, I didn’t have time to learn much…while other sessions were 1-2 hrs and held in a large room, ours were 1/2 hr each and competing for attention with another session on the other side of the room.

It very much left the impression that these “women in technology” didn’t actually care about the technology part, and that’s a horrible thing.

Please guys, don’t see this as typical.

My biggest fear is that men will look at BlogHer, and assume that all women online want to write about hand cream, be paid to go to conferences, pitch air freshener, and couldn’t care less about the technology running the tools they’re using. It’s NOT TRUE.

BlogHer has to change to be a bit more accurate. Merge with Mom 2.0 or something (which really is a conference for ALL mommy bloggers) – or make a concerted effort to be what they claim to be…an open conference for all women bloggers. Merge with She’s Geeky or work with the Webgrrls to give the tech bloggers some sort of presence there.

They also need to pay more attention to their “expert panels,” and who’s on them. Expertise aside, a panelist who was sponsored by some company to go to BlogHer is obviously going to promote that company. If that’s not disclosed (as it so often isn’t), the credibility of the panel is shot.

It’s all fixable.

And that’s the good thing. These are all things that can be changed. None of the current content needs to be excluded, it just needs to be promoted more realistically for what it is. “Learn about Twitter from someone who has tons of followers,” instead of “Meet a Twitter expert.” Get someone from Twitter to do the actual Twitter expert panel. Learn about privacy from Parry Aftab instead of someone who thinks Facebook’s privacy controls are the end all and be all of content management.

BlogHer just needs to use the same quality control for their panels that other conferences use and ensure that their panelists have the credentials, experience, and knowledge necessary for whatever their panel topic is.

As I said above, I will totally be at BlogHer next year. And I would love to do whatever I can to get the right people into the right panels, to get more actual technology content into the technology conference, and make this next BlogHer a bit more inclusive for ALL female bloggers.

Jul 25 2009

It’s All Communication, People! #blogher09

During the closing keynote, a conversation started about how people could be “addicted” to twitter. My first thought was, if your friends think you’re addicted, you need new friends.

But in all seriousness, to me, Twitter, email, Facebook & IM are much more useful communication tools than the phone. It is pretty expected that people will be available by phone at all times. I don’t see a difference – especially when you consider that my phone doesn’t always work (thanks to AT&T). I can almost always check my email or Twitter.

I do not understand – AT ALL – people saying “I’m not going to check my email for a week.” I don’t get how that is any different than someone saying “I’m not going to answer my phone for a week,” which you know nobody ever will do. It’s simply a different form of communication.

It is an accepted fact that people are using email less because they’re moving to Facebook or IM. I would bet that people are using their phone less as well – I know in my case, if the phone rings, something is wrong. Isn’t saying “I’m going to avoid email” just shutting yourself out from the rest of the world?

It is not uncommon for me to have a conversation that starts on IM or Twitter, continues on SMS, moves to Facebook, then ends up in person. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one either. I have some friends I talk to on Twitter (privately), some on Facebook, some on MySpace, some on email. Nobody calls me, which is fine with me, all of my “real-life” friends have picked whichever format they’re most comfortable with and talk to me there.

Whatever method we use for communication, it’s clear that there are positives and negatives. I just wish that people would look at them for what they are….email is a phone call in text form, IM is a twitter sent to your screen….don’t shut it out because of what it is.

It’s the message, not the medium!

Jul 25 2009

On to #BlogHer Day 2 – Girls Code Too!

I’ve been too busy today to write anything so far, which I think is a very good thing!

I spent this morning, and early afternoon, in GeekLab sessions, learning all about the inner workings of WordPress. I think I may actually have learned enough that I know now why you get that 404 page if you try to leave a comment, although I’m not about to fix it on the fly, I need to dig in, learn a bit more php first, and so on. But this has been a lot of fun, in the past two days I’ve gone to sessions on PHP, Apache Server, htaccess, and CSS. SO helpful.

I was also interviewed today for a segment on PBS’ Frontline about “Digital Life.” Pathetically, I have had a number of dating experiences that have unintentionally popped up due to meeting people online. I’ve dated people I’ve met through ICQ, Friendster, and IRC, and really, not all of the experiences were terrrible (although, as I pointed out to them, I’m still single, so what’s that tell you?). The producer was laughing, but hopefully that’s a good thing. The documentary will air on PBS sometime in January 2010, but bits and pieces will be online in a few weeks – I will post a link here as soon as it’s out.

Tonight there are parties and more parties, I’m sure I’ll end up at a few. Last night I ‘took it easy’ (relatively speaking), and only went to the official cocktail party here, and the Blogalicious party over at Lush in Macy’s. It was very cool to meet the LawMom ladies, though, and totally worth the cab ride over. Plus…Lush? Say that and you’ll get me anywhere.

All in all, this is just an awesome experience, and I’m so glad I came.

Jul 24 2009

Last bit of #BlogHer09 Day 1 – Community Keynote

This session, the final of the day, is the “Community Keynote,” where BlogHer community members read some exceptional blog entries. I love this session!! I was part of it last year, reading an entry about Twitter, but dear god, some of the other entries people read were amazing. Way out of my league, they were incredible. I went from laughing to crying within the hour, and still read a lot of the blogs I discovered through there.

So! These are some of the highlights from today, although I do recommend checking out the link at the bottom and reading them all. Amazing blog entries, every one.

  • Melissa Davis was the first to leave the audience in tears. Very touching story about her Uncle getting in an accident at 24, developing paranoid schitzophrenia, and becoming homeless. Amazing, because she focuses on her uncle – the man – and what his personality was like, what he enjoyed doing. Not on the fact that he was mentally ill and homeless. *and I’m already in tears*
  • Karen Walrond had a blog entry about Obama, written back in January. Great quote “it’s not always easy living in a country where you look different.” Sad to hear the passive aggressive racism she’s seen. As recently as December “well, you’re not REALLY black, are you?” Unbelievable.
  • JD from “I do things so you don’t have to.” She told a story about what she did when she was 10 yrs old, fell off a picnic table, exaggerated how bad it was, and ended up spending a night in the hospital. It sounds simple here, but believe me, the actual blog entry was very funny – faking the concussion was fun, staying in the hospital was not!
  • One of the few BlogHim’s at the conference, Mike Adamick! He blogs in a bunch of places, including the SF Chronicle. Main takeaway? Cell phones are “People Avoidance Machines.” I He’s spent entire parties “on the cell phone….easier than hiding in the toilet.” I LOVE IT.
  • Now another BlogHim – Black Hockey Genius – makes an appearance. He wrote this post as a letter to his daughter on her birthday. It is a very sweet post I’m sure any parent can relate to (hell, I’m not a parent and _I_ relate). He’s making everyone cry.
  • Danielle Henderson from Knotty Yarn, Subject line of entry “There is something stuck in my vagina.” Very, very funny, something that I think most women can relate to, but I don’t recommend any men read, so, link to her blog, not this specific entry. Hysterical. Women who want to read the exact entry, check it out here.
  • Tanis Miller from Attack of the Redneck Mommy (@redneckmommy) talking about raising a disabled child. Very touching – “why can’t people see past the wheelchair or the way he turns his head to the side so he can see, and look at the person he actually is.” She brings home the point that people who insult disabled adults or children are insulting HER children, they’re insulting relatives they may have, that someone you love could end up the punchline to a joke if people don’t stop. (and yes, tears again…)
  • Grace Davis had me digging out the tissues with her entry about surviving child abuse. The best quote, I can’t even read it without tearing up – “Forgive yourself, you’re the one who deserves it.” There are a few quotes that can bring me to tears, I guess that’s a new one to add to the list.
  • Ok, this is too perfect for me. An ode to diet coke by Wendie Aarons. I may have found someone who’s actually more addicted to diet coke than I am! I can’t do the blog entry justice at all by describing it here, she’s hysterical. And bless her for going off on WTF is diet coke doing putting vitamins in there??? Love it.

This was, and always will be, my favorite session of the conference, and I HIGHLY recommend any women (or men) considering attending BlogHer next year (in NYC!!) make sure to attend this session.

A full list of the blog entries featured at the community keynote are over on the BlogHer site.

Jul 24 2009

More #BlogHer09 – On feminism

…well, that’s not what it’s actually CALLED, but that’s what it’s about.

Interesting comment about people dismissing BlogHer as a conference because they think we only talk about makeup and shoes. Zappos, Lush, and MaryKay may all be here, but I’m learning CSS and PHP. I’m here for techy stuff, the makeup’s just an added benefit. And hey, if Adobe or someone had wanted to show up, I’d love that free copy of Photoshop. But, alas, they’re not here. I did get an interesting laundry strip thingy from Tide, though. Hah.

People also completely forget that not everyone here is a mommy blogger with 4 yr old kids (it seems like they’re targeting the toddler group). Strawberry Shortcake stuff is cute, but utterly useless to me. I’ll give a buncha this stuff to my niece, but she’s too young for most of it. This conference isn’t called BlogMOM. There IS a blogging mommy conference, and believe me, I’m not going to it. Maybe we do need a geeky girl conference? I loved She’s Geeky, what if that was blown out into a multi-day sponsored thing? Hmm. I see potential.

The whole “dismissing this solely because makeup sponsors are here” reminds me a lot of a Quake tournament I ran a while back (with Vangie). Winners, or finalists, in typical tourneys at the time would get mice, speakers, etc. In our case, we flew all the finalists to NYC, took them to Elizabeth Arden for makeovers, and Killcreek & John Romero took them out to lunch. The finalists were finalists because they kicked more ass in quake than anyone else (just like the other tourneys), but we most certainly catered to their tastes. Just like they’re doing here, I will actually use this shwag (well, some of it), instead of giving it all away like I do for most conferences. I don’t see anything wrong with that, and I don’t think it reflects on the conference CONTENT in any way.

Anyway! The purpose of this session was to discuss Sarah Palin’s effect on feminism, or lack thereof. A lot of interesting conversations, and very different views on the topic. One interesting point (made by one of the speakers, I can’t remember who) was that the mere fact that Palin thought she COULD run for Mayor, Governor, then VP, shows she’s a feminist.

I’m not so sure. I think we’d need to know more about how she got started in all of this – I’ve read too much that says she was only chosen as a VP candidate because she was a beauty queen to believe that 100%. But it is an interesting thought.

Personally, I have issues with the tag “feminist.” It contains a lot of negative connotations to some people that I really don’t like. Sarah Palin never identified as a feminist until recently, for exactly that reason – conservatives aren’t about to embrace a feminist. Why is it so negative to say that I’m a strong woman, I believe I can do anything a man can do (assuming I’m physically capable, there are physical differences between men and women), and don’t anyone dare dismiss what I say solely because I’m a woman. I think it’s possible that a ‘few bad seeds’ have spoiled the bunch for us, and it’s something we need to change.

Ok, enough ramblies for now, off to find wireless so I can publish this thing!

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