A report from BlogHer08

BlogHer panelA thousand women in one place. Even some men. It was loud. It was friendly. It was intense. It was fun.

I can only talk about the panels and events I attended, but I hit all I could. I caught the last few minutes of a panel about content syndication. Photo of panel is Anne-Marie Nichols, Gwen Bell, and Esther Brady.

Writing Workshop

I attended Amy Gahran’s writing workshop. She’s full of creative ideas and interesting ways to make her point. Amy got my writing mojo going. She tossed out a few tools for writers that I think may be really interesting.

  • Wordtracker, for finding the right words to use in headlines and story titles to make sure you get found by search engines.
  • co.mments.com, for tracking comments you leave all around the blogosphere. I’m giving it a try, meaning I signed up but haven’t actually bookmarked a comment yet.
  • Lijit, for searching and tracking all the things you post in blogs, on social network sites, bookmarking sites, video sites and making it searching in a widgit on your blog. I’ve added a Lijit Wijit to the sidebar and will try it out for a while to see what I think of it.

Friday evening keynote

The Faces of BlogHerThe Friday keynote was a brilliant concept. Outstanding blog posts in several categories were read aloud by the writers. From belly laughs to tears: the posts were about everything and anything. Mainly they were well-written, heartfelt, and powerful. None of the women (and one man) who read their posts write for blogs that I regularly read, which made the process shine for me. I was dazzled by the quality of the writing from every single blogger. It was inspiring and impressive. Congratulations to all those who read a post. Photo is Eden Kennedy, who helped select the winning posts, and Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer co-founder. See Eden’s list of all the keynote posts.

There was a party at a bar called Ruby Skye in the evening. It was sponsored by TNT and some cast members from Saving Grace and The Closer were there. No Holly Hunter that I could see. Shucks. I couldn’t take much of the party—too noisy for me—but I think it was, like, totally hip and happenin’. Yeah.

Saturday morning keynote

Lisa Stone with Redbook editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison, Essence Communications Director of Digital Development, Lesley Pinckney and Bravo TV’s Senior VP of New Media and Digital, Lisa Hsia. The discussion was about converging media.

They all spoke about how interactive relationships with their readers and viewers has exploded and changed how they do business. They said you have to be free with content; the best solutions are open.

Building Traffic to Your Blog

Building CommunityElise Bauer at Simply Recipes gave this talk in a very crowded room. She asked, “Do you really want traffic?” If your goal for your blog doesn’t need high traffic, don’t worry about getting traffic.

Think about Content, Community and Technology. In terms of content, she said you have to focus on either being useful, timely, or entertaining. If you take photos, get a DSLR camera with a 50mm lens, and either Photoshop or Lightroom. In terms of building community, the advice was to be generous about linking out and to leave thoughtful comments on sites that share your focus. In other words, participate in your community.

In the technology recommendations, she said to be sure the site was easy to load, easy to find, and easy for PC and Mac. She said to study stats sites, syndicate, and optimize for search engines.


Me Ra Koh lead this session. She talked about ten essentials. 1) To choose between black and white: define the emotion. (Kubota sells good actions for Photoshop, one called Black and White snap.) 2) Fill the frame with the story. Use the principle of thirds. 3) Less is more. 4) Use a low f-stop to get a blurry background. Buy a camera that goes down to an f-stop of at least 2.8. 5) How low can you go in your ISO? Find out the best ISO for your camera to get best color saturation. For my Sony, it’s 100. 6) AI servo. An autofocus that locks on motion coming toward you or moving away from you. Find the way to do this in your manual. 7) Get an external flash. Then you can bounce the light off the ceiling or point it to where the wall and the ceiling meet or turn it to flash behind you. Buy a lightsphere from Gary Fong for point and shoot cameras. 8  Shutter speed can be slowed down to remove a background from a photo. 9) Three things in post process: add contrast, decide about black and white, use vignettes. 10) work on learning one thing at a time.

Boomers and Beyond

I moderated this very enthusiastic group. Lots of interesting viewpoints on being a boomer or beyond. Here’s a list of URLs collected from the women attending. I misspelled a couple so badly I can’t find them, so if you were there and don’t see your blog, please add it.

Photos from the event at Flickr/veesees.

25 thoughts on “A report from BlogHer08”

  1. Thanks for this post on Blogher. I’m curious, is anyone discussing the money side of blogging, i.e. what the financial story is with blog tools and networks vying for our blog’s real estate and our joining their network?

    Blogs, like our kids, need to be protected as they grow. P.U.B. [Publishers Union of Bloggers] has pending inquires to Widget Providers concerning how they generate their income and what percentage of this income goes to the Blog Publisher making the critical decision to allow a Widget on their site for their readers. In addition we are requesting transparency on the critical issue of how the private statistic from Publishers Blogs are being used, hopefully with the Publisher’s permission!

    P.U.B. expects to heard back from Lijit on these financial and private statistics issues from P.U.B’s inquiry we sent to Lijit in mid April 2008. When we do we will let great Blog Publishers like you know their deal.

    Will publish these results to keep the community of Blog Publishers informed on this critical component of Widgets on our Blogs.

    If you hear anything along these lines, would love to know,

    Barney Moran
    Founder, P.U.B.
    Facilitator, Daddy Boot Camp, Boulder, CO

  2. Was the conference in San Francisco? I live in the Seattle area. I’m looking for a blog conference to attend near here. Do you know of one?

    I attended the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Friday. I had done an e-mail interview prior to the conference with thriller writer and Gayle Lynds. The interview appeared on my blog the Boomer Consumer, which appears on The Seattle Post-Intelligencer Web site. It was fun to meet Lynds and hear her keynote speech.

    I’ll be writing about a couple of authors I met and Web sites I learned about on my PI blog and my other blog, The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide at http://boomersurvive-thriveguide.typepad.com.


    P.S It’s really fun to network, isn’t it.

  3. Virginia, thanks for giving Lijit a try on your blog. It was a pleasure meeting you on Sunday and if you (or your readers) have any feedback on our search tool, please send it my way. I’m tara [at] lijit [dot] com.

  4. Virgina, it was delightful to meet you at BlogHer08. Thanks for tips during the unconference.

    This is a very useful summary you have written here. I have passed the URL on to several people. I also appreciate the click through to Amy Gahran’s slides for her talk and other links you have provided here.


  5. Rhea, boomer blogs, mid-life blogs, they are all exploding and many people are looking to BlogHer to lead the way. You will find others who share you interest if you watch blogher.com.

  6. Regarding “Ligit”, I read their terms before signing up for this interesting, but concerning concept. As a photographer, I am sensitive to anyone claiming unrestricted, irrevocable, rights to reproduce (my images). One of their terms:

    “2.1 Your Content. By posting any Content on the Services, you hereby grant to us an unrestricted, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, perform, display, create derivative works of, and distribute such Content in any and all media (now known or later developed) throughout the world. No compensation will be paid with respect to the Content that you submit, upload, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services. You should only upload Content to the Services that you are comfortable sharing with others under the terms and conditions set forth herein. ”

    In other words, Legit can use my images as stock, making money on them, and therefore making my ability to sell “exclusive use” impossible. I see many benefits to allowing this, but am not ready to open this scarey, perpetual can of worms.
    Another service taking “ownership rights” of photographs and images is Evite. Don’t post images if you don’t want to give up ability to sell as stock or know where the image is used. Please realize these images don’t have to have your name attached either or link back to you in any way.


  7. Janet, You know, in reading the TOS from lijit more carefully, it does sound like they are claiming the right to do pretty much what they want with your content. I’m going to have to give that a second look and really figure out what they are talking about when they say “content.”

  8. @janet and @vdebolt

    I dont think that is the intent of our terms of service. It would be interesting to understand how you think they should read. Since we dont “own” any of the content (similarly to Google, who doesnt own any of the content, but does index the data and provide it in search results).

    We should definitely take a second look at that wording.

    Again, what do you think it should read?

  9. Micah, This is the part that confuses me:
    “By posting any Content on the Services, you hereby grant to us an unrestricted, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, perform, display, create derivative works of, and distribute such Content in any and all media (now known or later developed) throughout the world. No compensation will be paid with respect to the Content that you submit, upload, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.”

    It sounds like signing up to use your search wijit gives you the right to do whatever you want with everything we list to be searched. I know there’s a paragraph about copyright at the beginning, but this paragraph seems to negate it.

    If that’s not the case, it would be very nice to have something clearer in the TOS.

  10. Micah, to add a bit more to my last comment: there is a comment about lijit making money from my content. I don’t mind the google ads and such on the search results page. You are performing a service by searching all my content and aggregating the results, so the ads seem ok to me. It’s the part about the content belonging to you to do with as you wish.

  11. Micah, and VDEBOLT,
    The terms, “to use, copy, perform, display, create derivative works of, and distribute such Content in any and all media (now known or later developed) throughout the world” ARE in essence ownership and could be dropped completely (if ownership isn’t the intent). Legit might soften it’s stance by including in legalese, in essence “Our sole intention in distributing information is to link back to it’s on-line source. We claim no ownership of content. For reproduction terms, contact the creator directly for terms. Legit can not be held responsible for misuse of images under contract.” Obviously I’m no lawyer, but hopefully you get the gist. I appreciate your being open to conversation about this topic.

  12. I’m a boomer and quite beyond, and would be honored to be added to your list. I met you at BlogHer, and wasn’t it absolutely a RIOT OF FUN? I can’t wait ’till next year!

  13. Thanks so much for noting all the women in the boomers and beyond birds of a feather session. Really wanted a list of everything and so glad to have it. Nice recap of the event you attended also. I never get to all the sessions that I want to.

  14. In part because of the discussion here and because we takes feedback from the Publisher community seriously, we are currently in the midst of a review of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

    It is our intent to deliver the best possible service to the Publisher community as well as the people that read and search on those sites. It is not our intent to take ownership in any works created by an author. Lijit does require certain legal rights in order to display links to those content items and provide our service to both Publishers and Readers.

    If you look at Google’s ToS you will see:

    You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

    I assume we will end up with something rather close to that.

  15. Micah,
    I’m curious if the intention of Ligit is to “display” work, why include “modify” or “distribute”?
    Your interest in coming up with a satisfactory solution feels sincere. Thank you for taking the time.

  16. virginia,

    as before, your writing impresses in the way you bring together so many strands. almost felt i was there–including the too-tired-for-that note.

    thinking much lately about the need for new consideration of three stages of aging–early, middle, and late. while i get the need for “boomer and senior” tag, think it’s too broad for the reality of many lives–women and men.

    thanks once more for your thoughtfulness in responding. will be returning here to read more, think about BlogHer event in D.C. in october.

    yours, naomi (about to be 75)

  17. @janet

    Those are good points that we will take into account when we review our ToS. The truth is that we only provide search results, and the langauge used above is Google’s not ours. I imagine ours will end up being something close to Google’s since we are doing something similar.

  18. I’m only just beginning to get into the Google ads scene. It is very time consuming, but really worth…I believe. Thanks a million for the tips in Photography. I have a Sony as well, will see how low my ISO will take me.

    Dannys last blog post.. Cosmetic Contacts

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