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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Thanks for visiting. I am no longer updating Notes to Self. I hope you'll join me on my current website,

Sunset over Blogher

I have spent most of the last two days debriefing from Blogher '07: checking out newly bookmarked sites, reading and responding to all the emails, commenting on flickr photos, having fun with sk-rt, putting my two cents in at various blogher forums. It is becoming increasingly clear to me that I can either a) participate with joyful abandon in blogging culture, or b) actually have a blog.

If the kids were not in the picture, I could probably manage both. But the thrill of having the press preview dvd of next season's new PBS Kids program is rapidly wearing off, and I have no more novel swag with which to distract them, damn my small suitcase to hell.

I have several meaty posts in the works. Please bear with me. This is the last blogher post from me, I promise.

I just need to share, as others have, that any lingering ambivalence I had about the legitimacy of this medium has been well and truly excised. I cannot tell you how proud I was to participate in this event, and count myself among this astonishing legion of women who make up this, well, industry. The whole conference was permeated with a sense of "having arrived". The highly professional and sometimes swank venues helped raise the credibility. As did the numerous editors and agents, corporate suitors and sponsors, and high profile keynoters, all on the prowl for our attention. But mostly, it emanated from within. There was a level of maturity and collective self-confidence that I had heard was missing from earlier conferences.

There were bloggers with book deals and product lines. There were bloggers who earn their living from advertising on their sites and those who wouldn't dream of taking a dime. There were bloggers with daily readers in the thousands, and those who write for their Mom. I am in awe of the conference organizers for even attempting to address the needs and concerns of such an increasingly diverse group. That they managed to cover as much ground as they did is nothing short of astonishing.

One high point (of many) for me was Leah's craft panel. I went to this because nothing else on the schedule especially spoke to me, and I was tired of doing the sessions I thought I "should" do. It was phenomenal. I don't craft, but I felt like I had found my people. Perhaps I am a trans-"genre"-d blogger.

Another was Jen and Rochelle's Small is Beautiful panel. The energy of both these rooms was incredibly positive, respectful, and mutually supportive.

I wish there had been more of that in the State of the Momosphere session, which along with The Branding of You, was somewhat disappointing to me. In the latter case, I was clearly in the wrong room. For bloggers with a commercial, traffic-driven focus, I have no doubt it was a valuable session. It was the wrong place to be if you are a process-oriented person like me.

Similarily with the Momosphere session, I think I may have not read the session description closely enough. To me, it came across as an altar call for blog advertising, and I was amazed at how contentious and divisive an issue this is among that subset of bloggers. As Jenn Satterfield wrote, "Have ads. Don't have ads. It's your choice." I couldn't believe the amount of time spent talking about it and the amount of defensiveness it triggered.

I wonder if it was too ambitious to try to address "Moms" as a homogenous group, and in one session. I mean, isn't a huge number of women engaged in childrearing at some point? How is it possible to speak of motherhood as being marginal? What could be more mainstream? Maybe future conferences could ditch the "mommyblogger" title along with the "high school" metaphor. Have one panel for women who blog about family life. Another to discuss the ethics of monetization across the board.

The perception by some that the domestic-blog culture can be clique-ish was addressed very well by one of the panelists, who pointed out that people of every age and stage form and re-form social alliances. I had hoped that was the last time we would hear the words "high school", but alas.

The only thing I would add to the panelist's observation is that I identify with other bloggers with children just as I tend to associate with other women with children in my life offline. I still have single and childless friends, but honestly, those friendships take more work. My friends who are also mothers understand how to carry on conversation through numerous interruptions, are more forgiving of tardiness and last-minute cancellations, don't go into a coma when I bring up my child's latest developmental milestone. Even a casual reader of this site will quickly glean that my passions extend well past my children, but there is no question that mothering is a big part of my identity.

I did wonder a little if perhaps the fervor with which some people seemed to need to defend domestic-blogging wasn't due to having only found their voice through that particular doorway. As if they weren't quite sure they would have the creative license without it. I was a writer before I started blogging, and if I quit blogging tomorrow, I would still be one, but maybe it is different for some. Maybe it is harder for some to separate their voice from the platform and the subject matter.

I don't know. But I hope I will be back next year to listen and learn more.

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Blogger Girl con Queso said...

I love this look into your ideas about the conference. I so get what you're saying in all accounts. And the dinner on Saturday night w/ you and Gabby and Laurie was the highlight of my weekend. Great stories and laughter. Awesome.

4:38 PM  
Blogger k said...

Thanks for the feedback. :) And if "trans-"genre"-d blogger" isn't the best thing I've ever heard, I don't know what is.

4:52 PM  
Blogger admin said...

all of it. yes. so many thoughtful points in here. loving your writing, too -- very on point and expressive. yes, you would still be a writer if you stopped blogging, but i for one hope you don't.

8:52 PM  
Blogger laurie said...

wait. what? admin? that was me. laurie. from sk*rt.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Dorkmitten said...

Sweet, here you are. Now I can peep you regularly. I am so glad I got to talk to you for that little bit. I got a crush on you in about five minutes, in a harmless crazy writer way.

9:45 PM  
Blogger jen lemen said...

kyran, i loved being with you so much. i hope we can reconvene in a writers setting next time without all the buzz and hype of a conference. that environment reveals only one side of a person i think (the adrenaline over-dosed, compulsive talking side) and i'd love to be with you in the context of quiet conversation.

SO glad you came to blogher. it's a lovely way to meet in person for the first time.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Juliet said...

Why is it when you are caught up in the whirlwind that is mommie-hood do others who aren't in it, treat it like less than the all encompassing storm that it is? Children move, motivate and inspire us. We shouldn't have to apologize for that. If society paid more attention to children, maybe they wouldn't have all the issues they have. Keep writing about what you love. It makes us all smile, and remember when our kids were younger, and maybe even takes us back to our childhood.

8:25 AM  

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