Useful links for the New Year

  • Innovative Minds Don’t Think Alike, a NY Times article, talks about why even the most expert of people need to bring in fresh perpective from outside their “box” when innovative thinking is needed. Very interesting ideas on how the brain works. I posted a few thoughts of my own about this at BlogHer.
  • Adding Avatars and Gravatars to Your WordPress Blog gives you step by step instructions from Lorelle.
  • Time Magazine says these are the best 50 websites made in 2007. What do you think?
  • Indexed asks a pertinent question about the way culture intersects with education in “Cause, effect, or both?”

Mainstream Media Ignores BlogHer Conference

I was in Chicago last weekend for a BlogHer conference. In attendance were over 800 women (and men) bloggers. Many more bloggers participated in the events on Second Life. A main event at the conference was to announce a year long activist action called BlogHers Act on the number one topic selected from a survey of thousands of bloggers. The topic is the one the thousands of bloggers surveyed want to see both Democratic and Republican nominees address positively in order to win our votes in 2008. Yet the activism potential of the over 13,000 bloggers who are members of BlogHer was largely ignored by the main stream media.

As Joanne Bamberger, writing at The Huffington Post pointed out,

It wasn’t difficult for Cooper Monroe and Emily McKhann, two activist bloggers who were behind the been there clearinghouse to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina, to figure out that if major advertisers like GM, Dove, Yahoo and Google are interested in a conference where close 1,000 women bloggers will be, that we, as a group, could also have significant influence on the major political issues in the next election.

The winner? Global Health.

A pretty significant issue for a whole variety of reason, especially when it comes to the whole health insurance coverage question.

But who is going to find out about this amazing effort to lead the way on gaining attention for and promoting solutions for the myriad health care issues we all face when no one from the main stream media shows up to cover it?

The breakout sessions, the keynote speakers, and the topics discussed were the same topics that are discussed at other large technology conferences. Business, Writing, Technology, and the BlogHers Act agenda. But no one was there covering the event for the press. As Bamberger pointed out in the article I mentioned, a largely men’s conference, The Yearly Kos, gained plenty of coverage.

For YearlyKos? Plenty of stories, including ones in the National Journal, the Washington Post, MSN, FOX News and the New York Times. That’s what I’d call Main Stream Media attention.

There are 509 blog posts on technorati tagged blogher07 as I write this. They appear to be mostly reports from the bloggers in attendance. A general Google search for blogher07 returns over 65,000 results. The first few pages were similar to what technorati is pulling in. A news search on Google returns 26 results. They include Yahoo Tech, a press release touting the sponsors, and a piece mentioning the article I quoted here. Nothing of substance about what happened, what issues were discussed, who spoke, or the important BlogHers Act initiative.

The mainstream media is completely out of touch with what people (voters) care about. They just proved it again.

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BlogHer07 Presentation available online

Skye Kilaen and I presented a program at BlogHer07 that is available for download from Skye’s site at All Access Blogging. It’s a large file in the original PowerPoint, so it’s a big download. Slides and speakers’ notes are both available.

Skye talked about checking your blog for accessibility. I talked about checking your blog for mobile devices. I also talked about microformats. The three were bunched together under a heading of “Web Standards” for the BlogHers.

About the BlogHer conference in general, it is highly successful with over 800 bloggers in attendance in person and many more taking part on Second Life. The keynotes and breakout sessions are very well done and it’s turning out to be a very successful conference. See my photos on Flickr.

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Is BlogHer’s Second Life conference the start of something big?

The organization of women bloggers BlogHer is hosting a conference in Chicago in July. This is not BlogHer’s first conference, so it isn’t big news.

No, the news is that BlogHer will be holding a virtual conference in Second Life (SL) that will run concurrently with the real physical conference. The announcement from Queen Tureaud, a SL avatar for real-life blogger Erin Kotecki Vest, says that the virtual conference will be complete with general sessions, audio feeds, and even a virtual cocktail party.

I see great conferences in far flung locations such as London, Australia and New Zealand that I would dearly love to attend, but will never be able to because of cost. It would be wonderful to participate in real time in SL’s virtual world instead of waiting weeks or months to hear podcasts or get access to speaker’s notes. I hope other conference organizers will follow BlogHer’s lead.

I'm speaking at BlogHerDisclaimer: I’m speaking at BlogHer in the technical track in Chicago in the real-world conference. I’ll be talking about adapting blogs for mobile users and about microformats. Love to see you there, in a real or a virtual way.

Catch me speaking at BlogHer

BlogHer '07 I'm SpeakingI made a public vow in these pages speak at two places where I’d never been this year. The vow related to the controversy over the number of men vs. women who speak at tech conferences. Does the BlogHer gig serve to tote up a check mark as a new conference for me regarding that vow? It’s a new thing for me, in any case. I’ll be on a tech panel and hope to meet a lot of interesting bloggers while I’m there. It’s an inexpensive conference, if you’re a blogger who’d like to expand your horizons, then come to Chicago. Yes, men are welcome!