Thursday, July 9

Fear of Blogher? Not exactly....

I'll Be Liveblogging

BlogHer is in two weeks or so.

It's not that I'm nervous about going, not in the least. I'm meeting up with the Evil Slut Clique, after all, and who could wait for that kind of excitement?

The thing is, this is a conference for women bloggers. And while woman and blogger (and mother and knitter and homeowner and Democrat etc. etc.) are all words that describe me...

I have never allowed "woman blogger" to define me. And I don't expect anyone at Blogher wants to do that, least of all the organizers, who seem cool and very well organized and eager to make newbies like myself feel welcome and free to express whatever they feel about the conference and get the most out of it. There are technical forums, at least one truly political forum (on Sarah Palin, which should be a riot) and enough to keep me thinking and writing for the rest of the summer, at least.

What makes me a little nervous is, this:

There are at least fifty-five corporate sponsors at this convention. At the lower level of the Sheraton Chicago, I can test drive a Chevy. Pepsi, McDonalds, Hanes, Microsoft, all have booths. Estee Lauder wants to give me free wrinkle cream. Also, um, Tim Gunn wants to know what I'm wearing to the conference. So he can wash it in Tide (tm)? But Tim! The "My Marxist Feminist Dialectic Brings All The Boys to the Yard" baseball shirt is already clean!

So is my "Keep your panties on, I'm blogging" shirt. And the evil sluts will have sumpin for me to wear too.

Conferences like this have to be paid for. Should the glee with which this particular conference has turned "blogging plus women" into outreach to a million woman free-stuff stuff! STUFF! marketing venue for us female internet entrepreneurs have me worried? I mean, marketers have always been such supporters of women's independence:

I'm not trying to be a troublemaker, but seriously, if someone at the WalMart booth decides to offer me free wrinkle cream, I might the encounter for my blog.


  1. It's all about freedom of choice. Since 2006 we have been transparent that registration covers less than half the cost of the event. So, sponsorship allows our prices for *bloggers* to remain unchanged since 2005. This gives more bloggers the freedom of choice to go.

    Meanwhile, most of the sponsorship activity is completely optional. You don't even have to go into the Expo Hall sponsor section if you don't want to. You can decide not to take the conference swag bag. No sponsors paid to be speakers, we have the same church/state approach to advertising vs. editorial that we do online.

    We hope this is a compromise everyone can live with. We used to ask in our surveys how much more people would be willing to pay to have a sponsor-free event. Answer: Um, $0, sure, have the sponsors! :)

  2. Anonymous3:11 PM

    You need to chill BG.

    The corporate sponsors can only hurt you if you let them.

    I treat them like street beggars, politely shake my head and never make eye contact.


  3. Oh, please do video.

    And wear a pro-union t-shirt.

  4. I knew that before I registered, Elisa. And you'll probably catch me snagging some swag. Transparency runs both ways.

    Thanks for not suggesting I just skip it and do Netroots Nation, OG. To their immense credit, Blogher offers childcare at the conference. I won't need it as my kids are with their dad that weekend. They won't be in August when NN is on.

    I will mos def keep my eyes down and walk on by the WalMart tent. With a Union Yes t-shirt? Yes I can.

    I don't question the conference needing the money; and I don't question the sponsors thinking this is a good avenue for promoting goodwill among a select networked audience. I do question whether blogs have an audience for contests and giveaways with little else as content. But one cannot judge taste in reading or websites.

    OG you worry too much about me but I love that. ;D

  5. I second Quaker Dave.

  6. Wal-Mart is incredibly evil.

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  8. Ohhh gawd! It just might be like Pleasantville~
    You can cook, clean, scrub toilets, AND blog, AND save money in these tough times by shopping as Wal Mart. We exploit our workers so YOU can have low loooow prices. (How special is that???)

    So I can relate to you thinking-- try to market pitch me & I'll frigging blog about it.

    Just for fun-- I'll ***dare you*** to walk into the Wal Mart tent. Ask them about career options, pay if they sell ammo.

    One has to question the wisdom of having low paid employees and firearms all under one roof.

    * In real life I am a non violent person....
    but one can have their fantasies.... right?


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