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BlogHer Coverage 2: Saturday Early Morning
Monday, 2005 August 1 - 3:17 pm
Saturday morning, I was thankful for Advil, water, and the Eastern time zone. This is about the pre-conference setup and the opening session.

Saturday 7:45 a.m.
There's no registration queue when I arrive for breakfast, but it turns out it's because things aren't quite ready. Meh, that's fine; I could use a few minutes to sit down and have some coffee.

When registration does start, I don't even have to announce who I am; the fabulous Elisa Camahort already knows me. This is the beginning of what would turn out to be a trend on Saturday: I start feeling a lot less obscure and a lot more welcome as the conference goes on. People recognize me, they know my blog, and they tell me they're glad to see me there.

One of our conference goodies is a pretty cool messenger bag. I like it, except that I've already got my man-bag and my laptop bag, so that gives me a lot of baggage. We also get a binder with printed materials; the number one minor complaint of the conference would turn out to be the fact that the binders don't fit in the messenger bags.

Saturday 8:30 a.m.
Things are a little late. There's music playing that's too loud: it's Shania Twain and Sheryl Crow singing various girl-power songs, and for those of us nursing hangovers, it's a little much.

Saturday 8:45 a.m.
It's starting to get rolling. There are a hundred laptops out and people are clicking away; some people must be blogging, but there's a lot of email-checking and instant-messaging going on too. Oh, and it seems like 75% of the people there are Mac users. Interesting.

We get introduced to the organizers (all of whom I met Friday anyway), they talk about the demographics of the crowd (20% men, 50% from out of the area, etc.) and the conference guidelines. People seem to be very enthusiastic; that, for me, already makes this conference unusual. I've never seen this kind of energy at any of the dry technical conferences and conventions I've attended before.

Internet access is sporadic. One access point is periodically in service, but it comes and goes. The others don't seem to be working at all. The number one major complaint of the conference is the fact that the wireless networks can't seem to handle the crush of all the laptops.

Saturday 9:00 a.m.
Debate: Play By Today's Rules, or Change the Game?
The focus of the opening debate is: does it matter that women bloggers don't show up on blog "A-Lists" and Technorati lists?

One view is that it does matter, because it's the way that women's voices will get heard. If this is true, then women need to ask to get linked by popular (male) bloggers, and they need to form networks the way men do (that is to say, to form widespread non-dense networks).

The other view is that it does not matter, because women's blogs are being found anyway (via Google and other means) if they provide a unique resource.

I'm think I agree with the latter view: I think women bloggers do get noticed even without these artificial lists. I personally ignore the "top 100" blogger lists because 95 of the 100 are usually boring. We should remember that blogging is a young phenomenon, and these top-blogger lists are typically made by the boys who got in the game early and felt it was important to be, um, "measured". Hasn't anyone noticed that statistics and rankings are a typically male obsession?

I don't think going around whoring for links is any kind of solution. (Oops, someone doesn't like the word "whoring"... but another woman shouts out that one should be allowed to apply the word to oneself if one wants to. Right on, sister!) If everyone just linked to everyone else, that would just dilute the relevance and value of links, and people would find other ways of finding and evaluating blogs. What we need is a different indicator of blog quality, something that doesn't just depend on raw statistics. No one's quite sure what that is yet, though, but someone will figure it out.

It's an excellent and lively debate. Lots of people have things to say. It's too bad we run out of time, but this makes for a good kickoff to the rest of the day.
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Posted by Ken in: bloggers


Comment #1 from Elisa Camahort (Guest)
2005 Aug 2 - 9:19 pm : #
I'll give you a little inside scoop: when we told Google which bag we wanted from the pictures they sent, the messenger bag looked the same size as the other two, but was sooo much cooler.

When they showed up at my house and I took one out of the box I thought, hmmm, that's a little petite. I then grabbed a binder and laughed my ass off for about 15 minutes after I realized it simply was not going to fit.

I called Lisa and Jory, and we all laughed our collective asses off and hope it was the biggest snafu of the conference (too bad it turns out overloading their WiFi was.)

But they were pretty damn cool. And embroidering rather than ironing on the logos cost them a pretty all hail to Google's cool, petite bag.

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