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BLOGGING  July 2005

BLOGGING July 2005

Subject:

The feminine blogstique

From:

Steve Cavrak <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

UVM Blogging <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 31 Jul 2005 09:12:23 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (120 lines)

The feminine blogstique
Santa Clara forum focuses on closing journal gender gap
- Carrie Kirby, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, July 30, 2005
URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/07/30/ 
MNGD2E0IPP1.DTL

Blogging is supposed to be democratizing the world of information,  
empowering the individual.

And it is -- especially for male individuals.

In this fast-growing community of people using the Internet to self-  
publish journals on a broad range of topics, half of all bloggers are  
women, according to surveys. Yet the most popular blogs are created  
overwhelmingly by men.

The top 10 blogs, ranked according to the number of other Web sites  
linking to them by the Web site Technorati, are created by 23 men and  
only four women. At conferences for bloggers, female writers find  
themselves in a very small minority, attendees say. And so, like in  
many social movements before this, women are gathering to do  
something about it.

Three Bay Area bloggers -- Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort and Jory  
DesJardins -- are holding a conference today in Santa Clara in an  
effort to raise women's prominence in the blogosphere. The BlogHer  
conference started with -- what else? -- a blog, where the organizers  
posted ideas for the event. Feedback from other bloggers quickly  
materialized.

The resulting event is as much about community building and sharing  
skills as it is about getting attention.

"This is a conference that the community built," said Camahort. For  
example, two rooms at the event are given over to sessions conceived,  
organized and run by the participants themselves. Sessions in these  
rooms include "Feminist Hip-Hop Bloggers," "Blogs in Academia" and  
"MommyBlogging."

The conference maxed out its capacity with 300 registrants, 85  
percent of whom are women, the organizers said. Half of them hail  
from outside the Bay Area. A few will come from as far as Europe.

These women have blogged about feminism, politics, business and  
technology. They've blogged about their innermost thoughts, their  
children's antics and -- although this has caused problems for many  
-- their jobs.

Some women involved in the conference write informative blogs, such  
as Forrester analyst Charlene Li's blog about new gadgets and the  
latest technology research. A number of the participants write blogs  
as a paid marketing service for clients. Some write blogs that are  
largely unquotable in a daily paper because of obscene language and  
content. Believe it or not, a lot of the more profane blogs fall into  
the "MommyBlog" category.

Conference blog

Participants have even blogged extensively about today's conference,  
discussing what should be talked about, mulling the event's  
significance, sharing information about local baby-sitting services,  
and yes -- wondering what to wear.

"Women dress to impress other women," mused Meghan Townsend, a  
panelist for the MommyBlogging discussion, in a recent blog entry.

"What the hell does one wear when hobnobbing with hundreds of witty  
savvy women from all over the freaking globe?"

After all this writing, reading and linking, is there anything left  
to talk about?

Plenty, from a look at today's schedule of discussions. One session,  
"How to Be Naked," addresses how blogs are "recalibrating our  
definition of personal." Participants will talk about how they cope  
when online confessions upset family members, or when strangers post  
"flames," or angry comments, about the bloggers' very personal  
decisions. One panelist in that discussion, Heather Armstrong  
(www.dooce.com), was the recipient of a surfeit of flames when she  
wrote about weaning her then 6-month-old baby because she was taking  
antidepressants.

Meeting an online friend

For many participants, the conference is a chance to bring electronic  
relationships into the nondigital world. Miriam Verburg, a college  
student from Montreal who writes a blog called the Flink  
(www.flinknet.com/theflink/), is staying with a local conference  
volunteer whom she has never met offline. During her trip, she's also  
staying with a blogger in San Francisco that she became friends with  
through mutual blog commenting.

Verburg raised eyebrows when she told a border guard she would be  
staying with friends she met online.

"To him, meeting someone on the Internet seems really risky," Verburg  
said. "But to me, it's like meeting someone who lives down the street."

Verburg is not the only attendee who's getting help from online  
friends, said organizer Camahort.

"I know one person who got Paypal donations and frequent-flier-mile  
donations," to make the trip, Camahort said.

Verburg was able to attend the conference for free because she  
volunteered to organize an important part of the event: the bloggers.  
Each session will be recorded and posted to the Internet as it  
happens, with both audio and text, by "live bloggers." Since  
registration for the event is closed, this is the only way that many  
will get to experience it.

E-mail Carrie Kirby at [log in to unmask]

Page A - 1
URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/07/30/ 
MNGD2E0IPP1.DTL

2005 San Francisco Chronicle

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