By Charlene Li
I'm heading to the BlogHer '06 conference today, being held in San Jose (disclosure: I'm on the advisory board for BlogHer). I'll be hanging out with hundreds of other women bloggers, learning how to "primp my blog" (look for some changes soon here!) and leading a session on tagging.
As an analyst, I attend tons of conferences every year and this is the only one that I really, really look forward to (OK, I admit that the geek side of me also enjoys CES). In fact, I enjoy it so much that I give up a sacred weekend day with my family to hang out with like-minded women.
I love BlogHer because I learn and grow so much personally -- as a blogger, a woman, mother, wife, person. That's because the level of engagement is so high -- the attendees are here not because their company sent them but because they want to share their passion for blogging.
This passion comes from what I call a "culture of generosity". As I wrote earlier about generosity, bloggers tend to be very giving by nature. So if you put a whole conference together of them -- and galvanize them with the common goal of supporting each other -- you get a powerful, moving experience with heated discussions, moving moments, and loads of laughter.
But why even have a conference focused on women bloggers? The idea of a conference first surfaced in March 2005, just a short 18 months ago. The theme of the first conference last year was "Where the women bloggers" and one of the goals was to highlight and support women bloggers. The goal: to dispel the myth that the blogosphere was heavily male (and white).
And here's some data that we have to further dispel that myth -- this comes from an online survey we did in Q1 2006 of US online consumers.
Writes a blog at least weekly
Writes a blog ever
Reads a blog at least weekly
Reads a blog ever
Base: US online consumers
Source: Forrester’s NACTAS Q1 2006 Devices & Access Online Survey
While women still aren’t writing and reading blogs as often as men, we’re catching up, especially when it comes to reading blogs at least weekly. But there’s still a lot of work to do – and I’ll be doing my part to support women bloggers this weekend.
Ladies, we’ve come a long way and I’m looking forward to the journey ahead.
Update: I just ran into Caterina Fake and had a quick discussion with her about the "culture of generosity" which she wrote about last fall on her blog. Kami Huyse's also has a nice post on "The Culture Of Generosity In Social Media". I wanted to not only give credit where it's due but also hopefuly further the dialog around this idea.
Update: And here's a post about footwear that you'll probably never see at any other technology conference!