I am woman, hear me speak
“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” - Rabbi Hillel
Diversity at business, and especially social media, conferences. Still a concept more than a reality, and quite frankly, it feels like we've been pushing this rock uphill forever. This week, Lena West started the ball rolling again over at Lipsticking, and Jeremiah Owyang and Elisa Camahort both joined the fray. And now me.
As we all have before. More times than any of us wishes.
Read their posts. Read the comments. There are so many people speaking eloquently on this subject... again ... that I don't have much to add.
Except the following: VOTE WITH YOUR FEET.
Stop going to conferences that do not embrace diversity. And not just gender. A conference full of white faces, whether they are male or female, does not embrace our population. Online or off.
Tell the organizers why you won't attend ... sponsor ... exhibit.
It will not change if we do not stop talking about it and start doing something.
For all these reasons, and many more, I embraced BlogHer from the beginning and am so proud to be part of that community. Man or woman, I urge you to attend BlogHer Business this April in NYC and BlogHer in San Francisco in July.
One of the sessions I'm part of at BlogHer Business is a panel on "Improve this Pitch." We will be focusing on pitches to bloggers that are ok but could stand some improvement. No worries though, we promise to share some really bad pitches for your enjoyment as well. Including the crappiest pitch ever. Really.
I'm also doing a case study with Victoria Naffier from HP and Liz Gumbinner, Mom-101, about the blogger outreach programs for HP Photo Books last fall.
Another conference I urge you to check out is New Comm Forum in Santa Rosa, California at the end of April. I'll be moderating the luncheon keynote on the first day, a panel of alumni from the conference coming back to share how they used the knowledge gained at the conference in their organizations. Planning to come to New Comm? Next year, it could be you.
Tags: BlogHer, BlogHer Business, New Comm Forum, HP, HP Photo Books, gender
Posted @ 8:02PM in Blogger relations, Blogging, BlogHer, BlogHer Business, Gender
BlogPotomac has seven speakers and two emcees. Of the nine, four are women. The experts are there. But we - conference organizers - need to find them.
Susan - is there a list any where of woman who active in social media from the client side of the house?
Toby -- I don't think such a list exists but the way BlogHer now is publishing its speaker roster should help, especially since there is such a strong case study focus at BlogHer Business. http://is.gd/1bt
Peter Kim's Marketing 20 list of marketing blogs written by in-house folks would also be a decent starting point http://www.marketer20.com/
I agree with you, Lena, Jeremiah and others whole heartedly Susan and would humbly suggest we have a record of diversity to be proud of at BlogWorld & New Media Expo.
Speak...ladies. Speak with your voice (blog on) and with your feet, as Susan suggests. The beauty of Blogher is that while the focus is on women and our concerns and needs, we welcome men. We embrace the diversity of life that includes all races, ages, genders, and lifestyles.
Thanks for all the comments. The reason conference organizers tend to go with the same names over and over again -- including in many cases the same "A-list" women, as was pointed out in the comments on Lena's post -- is because they believe that those names will draw attendees. It's a 'fan' culture, where name, not content, is king.
Voting with your feet means that you reject this notion.
Conferences like BlogHer & New Comm Forum try to strike a balance between well-known names and new voices. My sense is that BlogWorld Expo 07 tried to do this. That it had a panel on milbloggers for example was terrific and not something you'd normally see at a tech conference. But, still, of 7 keynotes, only one was supposed to be a woman (Arianna Huffington). See above comment on same A-listers, and she backed out anyway, leaving all the keynoters men. However, from Rick's comment above and his own post, I expect they'll improve their percentages this year :-)
Wish I could come... I'll be there in spirit!
as someone who goes between the worlds of journalism, tech, and marketing, there are loads of reasons why there aren't a lot of women speaking at various conferences....
one is that the men really *don't* know all the women that are out there because the women *aren't* speaking up and getting in their faces. And all the women that are out there who have good things to say don't always belong to groups like BlogHer.
Women also have to help one another on a one to one basis. One very good friend of mine's been instrumental in passing along a number of her speaking gigs to me. Sometimes the folks aren't too thrilled that she can't make it--other times they're receptive.
We could also use more men helping us get on to panels and speaking gigs.
This is really a very complicated matter that can't be boiled down to simple solutions of one organization and one list. It has to, perhaps, be a multi-prong approach with women also asserting themselves much more than they do. That's how the young guys seem to get places.
Tish --I agree, it is far more complex than one list, and BlogHer as an organization does not *solve* the problem. However, one of the common objections of conference organizers is that they don't know where to find women speakers. Bullshit, I know, but nonetheless. The BlogHer speakers list is one place, certainly not the only place, to start.
I too am a firm believer that conference organizers should strive to reflect their population, not just their pals, on the podium. Call it a form of affirmative action if you like, but they should be actively seeking out new voices and both gender and racial diversity.
As for asserting myself, not a problem :-)