Thursday, July 30, 2009

some further and disjointed thoughts on my blogher09 experience

A non-virtual connection with Melissa from Stirrup Queens (and author of "Navigating the Land of If"). We are both holding Nora's head on a stick.

1. If Twitter was played a role at last year's BlogHer conference, this year it was front and centre.
Many of us followed what was happening in other sessions we attended by following the keyword (called a hashtag with a #sign) blogher#09. These are my tweets from the session I attended about "Online Safety for Your Kids Who Are Online Themselves" (I had expressed in my previous post the concern that it would be all about scaremongering but was delighted to find that it was not):

"if you are an engaged parent you have less to worry about in terms of sexual predation online" #blogher09 session on online kids.

it never occurred to me to worry about kids taking pics at my son's sleepover b-day party. should i have? #blogher09 kids online session.

"every technology brings with it new fears." the take away - don't panic! i love it. panel on kids online #blogher09 do you post photos of your kids online? on facebook? flickr? #blogher09

"identifying information that your kids put online has NO correlation with sexual predation." #blogher09

"reputation management" never heard this before in online context. interesting. #blogher09. your photos and words may come back on you, kids

"we are tethering our kids" "we are raising our kids in captivity" - this is the way times have changed. #blogher09.

2. In the closing keynote, the subject came around again, to Twitter. One commenter likened her Twitter community to a support group "I think the women I've met online in the pregnancy loss community have saved my life" (I didn't get her name or blog. Let me know if you did). A powerful statement, but I can relate. She went on to say that support groups are not available 24/7 the way that an online community can be.

3. One of the speakers also observed that most people get started blogging because of someone they know in their "physical life." I thought that was interesting, because it was my spouse (a non-blogger) who introduced me to the blogosphere.

4. Another favourite keynote comment (again, if you know who said this, do let me know): "People with higher levels of income tend to be online. We need to be vigilant that our online communities are not recreating or reinforcing existing inequities."

5. As you can see, I found the content to be very rich and thought provoking this year, despite the size of the conference.

6. I do worry that some people spent so much time tweeting that they missed connections with real people or taking in the discussions occurring around them.

7. One of my favourite Twitter moments occurred when "phdinparenting" lamented her dislike for American beer. She posted about our interaction on BlogHer. It really tickled me that I could be of help. There were lots of those kinds of tweets, throughout the conference.

8. I wish the bookstore had been in a different location. One person suggested in a conference feedback thread that the bookstore would do better closer to registration. I suggested that book signings take place during cocktail parties, in the middle of the action (and of course it wouldn't hurt if free cocktails made people want to buy more books). The conference organizers have acknowledged that the placement of the bookstore in the far corner of the Expo hall was a mistake (too far out of the way. And who wants to buy a book when they are surrounded by mounds of free stuff?). While I do understand how experiments can fail (and how it must have seemed like a good idea during planning) I just wish that this particular year (when I schlepped a bunch of books in my suitcase) had not been the one where the bookstore flopped.

9. Elisa from BlogHer made an observation (in a tweet, of course), that she is trying to learn the distinction between things that are "wrong" and things that are just not her "cuppa tea." That's how I feel about the karaoke during the Friday night cocktail party. I hated it. However, others seemed to be having fun (perhaps I am just getting old), so I got myself a hot date and went to find a patio.

10. I have other thoughts but Sassymonkey and Blondie expressed them already. Go read their posts.

I said many times before going that BlogHer09 would be my last. I hadn't even unpacked my suitcase before I'd begun to fantasize about getting to BlogHer10 in NYC. Anyone want to drive down from Ottawa and share a hotel room with me?


Annie @ PhD in Parenting said...

Great recap Laurie! The panel on online safety was one that I had wanted to attend, but I had a conflict with another session. I was pretty sure it wouldn't be about scaremongering though with Lenore on the panel! Glad you enjoyed it.

sassymonkey said...

We are not driving to NYC. I've put my foot down on that. We *might* drive to Syracuse and fly from there if Lee can convince me that it's going to be way cheaper.
But we're also probably going early and making a vacation out of it.

Regarding Twitter - I tweeted a lot. I found it a bit of a relief from feeling like I must. talk. to. people. constantly. It allowed me to retreat a little without hiding in my room.

Capital Mom said...

Excellent recap. Looking forward to chatting in person.

Magpie said...

#2 was Aurelia. I was sitting next to her when she got up and said that.

Sorry I didn't get to meet you, and share Nora on a Stick!