BlogHer Keynote Twitnotes

afternoonChicago

Summer afternoon, westward downtown Chicago as viewed from the Sheraton. Fourth in a four-part series of images of this exact same scene at various times of day (here’s morning, sunset, & night).

Whilst I continue to marinate my lengthier observations about last weekend’s BlogHer conference in Chicago, here for posterity are my notes of the two keynote chats I Twittered, in forward chronological order (as v. Twittery reverse).

The first was a conversation onstage (and with the audience) between Tina Brown (founder, editor-in-chief, The Daily Beast), Donna Byrd (publisher, The Root), and Ilene Chaiken (creator of The L Word, and the now-offline Our Chart.com).  BlogHer co-founder Lisa Stone interviewed them and moderated the discussion.

Twit-notes of the Saturday morning keynote conversation here.

The second was a conversation onstage (and with the audience) between  Raney Aronson-Rath (senior producer, PBS Frontline and an early instigators of their Digital Nation initiative), Eszter Hargittai (Professor of Communication Studies, Associate of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, and head of the Web Use Project there), and danah boyd (Berkman Center for Internet and Societyfellow and Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research New England). BlogHer co-founder Elisa Camahort interviewed them and moderated the discussion.

Twit-notes of the closing keynote conversation here.

Here are my favorite insights from both conversations:

  • (1) Tina Brown reads all the comments on The Daily Beast (she said so at least!), and reports that she “wouldn’t want to go back to print” media and “would be despairing” if she were still at a “traditional glossy magazine right now” (oh, you know, like Vanity Fair or The New Yorker);
  •   
  •  (2) digerati danah boyd, Elisa Camahort, and Cathy Brooks take email vacations (boyd) or “bankrupcy days” (Camahort) or “technology vacations” (Brooks) to catch up &/or cleanse the system, so I can too and will hold my head high whilst doing so; and 
  •   
  • (3) the accessibility, volume, and magnetic power of information online actually calls for far more education or skills-building, not less:  users/students/readers need to become capable of synthesizing, analyzing, and critically evaluating what they find there, and many younger students do not do this. 

I left these keynotes — as I did the conference in general — with the conviction that what’s happening online is fascinating, both accentuating extant phenomena (social relationships, emerging connections, trends, etc.) and creating others.

In an interesting twist of serendipity (if indeed serendipity can twist), this morning I listened to an interview with the exceedingly intelligent Scott Rosenberg, the author of Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why It Matters  and the co-founder of Salon.com. It was on Forum, at San Francisco’s KQED, archived here and embedded here:  

[Listener comments at questions were folded in about half-way through the show, including yrs truly at about 28:50 and again at the end at around 49:44.]

After host Michael Krasney’s second or third reference to pajama-clad bloggers recording their luncheon diets, and his fourth or fifth question regarding the maverick unreliability and the tendency toward narcissism of blogs and bloggers, I thought something I’ve thought over and over again: They just don’t get it.  They being “old media” hands, as well as those 90% of Americans who don’t read blogs. The rest of us know different.

Krasney’s swing-and-a-miss simply reinforced what fellow blogger-writers Liza Barry-Kessler, Rita Arens and I were saying to one another following the first keynote: the essence of new media is, by and large, misunderstood by old media. The form is relentlessly confused with the content; the wide variety of genres and voices published under the broad rubric of blog go essentially unseen, as if somehow genre and content and author were somehow drained of discrete significance when words and images become self-published and distributed online in a regular fashion.

The lack of traditional media gatekeepers is both what mars and empowers blogs: it’s a riot of authenticity and artifice, policed by no one and everyone (blogs’ readers) at the same time.  It’s a meritocracy  of populism and popularity, for better and for worse.  But no doubt about it: my three-plus years hanging around at this URL has taught me that the dialog it enables is priceless, and it’s not happening in the same way anywhere else.  As soon as I read Scott Rosenberg’s book, I’m sure my appreciation of the phenomenon will be even more nuanced. And I’ll probably be yet more evangelical than I felt leaving BlogHer this year.  If that’s at all possible.

 

  • BlogHer Keynote, 25 July 2009:
  • Traditional Media Chops Meet a New Media Calling
  • Tina Brown, Donna Byrd, & Ilene Chaiken 
  • interviewed by Lisa Stone
  • Tina Brown: I wouldn’t want to go back to print now. Excitement of interaction w/ audience “thrilling” #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Fascinating: geting the Root.com’s Donna Byrd’s first hand acc’t of Gates’ arrest. What w/ him being editor in chief of The Root. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Vibrant discussion taking place on TheRoot.com on the Gates arrest. Donna Byrd talking about the comments they’re getting. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • There was no such thing as the “spending power of the LGBT demographic,” sez Ilene Chaiken re: her work getting LWrd on air. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Q from Stone: how to tell our stories given how media is changing. T Brown response incl the word “advertising modules” in it. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • T Brown: I would be despairing if I were still w/ trad. glossy mag. Right now we’re in a “gap economy” and just doing stopgap. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • (T Brown) “Stopgap” measures to tide media over ’til most media is out of print and online. (D Byrd) ref closing of Vibe mag e.g. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Q about product placement. (Chaiken) LGBT demo. very loyal to companies who support our telling our stories. More than most. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • (Chaiken) 1st season of the LWrd wanted to do a story line w Dana & commercial sponsorship. Couldn’t find one company to wrk w #BlogHer09
  •   
  • (Chaiken) Finally Subaru stepped up. // OK so now I know why Subaru is the lesbo car now. We drank the KoolAid & didn’t evn know #BlogHer09
  •   
  • T Brown, D Byrd, I Chaiken all in white pants. Did they call each other this AM? Utterly incidental but there you go. I share all #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Liza Barry-Kessler asking a Q yay http://lesbianfamily.org & her http://lizawashere.com
  •   
  • Convo about how to aggregate smaller blogs to then sell ad space as a grp. “Future” of media. Poor Luddite, neoMarxist grouch me #BlogHer09
  •   
  • But sadly, from pers. exp, I have a helluva time figuring out how to buy the time I spend. Would rather a rich leftist endorsemt #BlogHer09
  •   
  •   
  •   
  • Not fair, BTW, that the British accent makes all sound smarter (re: T Brown). Time to watch more J Andrews films, methinks#BlogHer09
  •   
  • Talking about a DailyBeast piece that was a kind of sexy piece. Did very well for them. So now I’m thnkng about an LD sexpot ftr #BlogHer09
  •   
  • T Brown: women on staff police the content (re sexpot cheesy stuff); D Bryd says same stuff (re Serena’s backside)#BlogHer09
  •   
  • Some bright ideas for LD features acknowledging the Sex Sells Truism. Thinking: hot, folded laundry? Fully loaded dishwasher? #BlogHer09
  •   
  • You know, the stuff that really turns on Mrs. Lesbian Dad.#BlogHer09
  •   
  • @theburbblog Let’s get together and practice. Watch Julie Andrews favorites, stop the movie, repeat the dialog, provide feedback.
  •   
  • T Brown: finding the best bloggers know how to think clearly; their voice & their thinking that you’re “buying.” #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Approach to content Q (v int). Chaiken made the foolish mistake of saying that audience opinion didn’t matter in story content #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Chaiken: Grave mistake in this new media world. Gained a lot by engaging w/ the commty.No Q that the stories we told influenced #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Chaiken: in LWord movie you’ll find out who killed Jenny. That’s me, breaking all your LWord not news, here first. (Who’s Jenny?) #BlogHer09
  •   
  • T Brown: We pay a great deal of attn to the comments on DailyBeast. I read them all. They hold us to a good standard.#BlogHer09
  •   
  • TBrown: Our readers want the smart, incisive stuff. Call us on the sloppy stories, etc. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • @Supersab From Ilene’s mouth to my ear to your eyes: Yes, if they hear from fans. She’s talking w/Showtime but wants it to be commty-driven.
  •   
  • @Supersab Who, exactly “they” are I’m not sure. But I s’pose it’s Showtime? If they are owned by a co. that does? But demand seems key.
  •   
  •   
  • Yes, it was in service of a larger point, about marketing saturation etc. But I got a little, shall we say, *frisson* as I told her.

 

  • BlogHer Closing Keynote, 26 July 2009:
  • Who We Will Become
  • Raney Aronson-Rath, Eszter Hargittai, & danah boyd  
  • interviewed by Elisa Camahort Page

 

  • Henceforth, I’ll try to live tweet BlogHer closing keynote w/ Raney Aronson-Rath, Eszter Hargittai and danah boyd on the future of socmedia.
  •   
  • BTW, danah boyd did really interesting work on online communities, etc. as a grad student @ Berkeley (go Bears). Interesting stuff.
  •   
  • Myths about young folks and online stuff. Myth: they’re disinterested in privacy. They nuance in ways adults don’t necc pick up. #BlogHer09 
  •   
  • @ElisaCamahort Q: social media-induced changes: radical? incremental? etc. Frontline producer Raney Aronson-Rath on socmed & Iran #BlogHer09 [ed note: not Elisa’s actual Twitter feed. Really it’s here.]
  •   
  • Eszter Hargittai (Northwestern Prof. who looks at this): large # people not online, b/c don’t realize what you can achieve there. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Boyd: the transformativeness of this is not the technology per se but what we do with it. Also: this is all about community. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Hargittai: Stimulus Pkg has $ for brdbnd initiative to spread tech. But it’s not all about the technlgy, it’s about ppl’s skills#BlogHer09  
  •   
  • Blogs @ No Matter How Small: moving, moving testimony regarding people online. #BlogHer09  [ed note: audience member remark]
  •   
  • Hargittai: ppl w/ higher levels of income & ed already online. So the wrk is to get less privileged pple online, elsewise…#BlogHer09
  •   
  • Hargattai: … we reproduce existing systems/structures of inequality. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Digital Nation producer (Aronson-Rath) talkng about a story Bronx school that is using technology really well. Provided to kids. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Boyd: Think about how technlg enable lot of extant support work within extant groups. Her e.g., HIV+ blogger finding safe space. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Boyd: Give people e.g.s about how tchnlgy can fit into their lives. #BlogHer09  
  •   
  • Woops. Battery fatally low. Bad news for the 1.5 folks breathlessly following my live tweets of keynote. Good news fer all else. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • @ElisaCamahortPage raises Q about “addiction” – Boyd counter Q: what is it we’re addicted to? Friends & info? We’re deeply social #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Boyd: Think of it as your Soilent Green. Technology is people. I love the technology. #BlogHer09 
  •   
  • Aronson-Rath on Frontline’s interns & their shock (!) as a way to locate folks using other things than online means.#BlogHer09
  •     
  • Aronson-Rath on setting boundaries around tech use.#BlogHer09 
  •   
  • Hargittai: sees so much through lens of skills. There are ways to deal with info overload through various skills. #BlogHer09 
  •    
  • Boyd: Suggests radical email break. Bounces all email. Write LATER when I’m ready after my email break. Need me? Call my mom. #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Elisa C-P Declares email bankrupcy day once a month and just doesn’t do it once a month. Catches up. #BlogHer09  
  •   
  • Cathy Brooks here in audience, notes her own 5-day technology break. Had more things to say about things I saw b/c of marination #BlogHer09
  •   
  • Aronson-Rath: Our brains are being challenged in a way they haven’t before. Don’t know what that does to deep thinking.#BlogHer09   
  •    
  • Boyd likens “deep thought” to “industrial era” repetitiousness of action. I totally disagree. ‘Course, I’m a Buddhist & meditate. #BlogHer09 
  •     
  • Aronson-Rath, re: South Korea, THE most wired country in the world & their “nettiquite.” Their dialog re: tech is sophisticated. #BlogHer09     
  •     
  • Audience mbr (The Butter Compartment blog) re “crackberry” addiction: it’s about the people we meet & need to keep in our lives. #BlogHer09 
  •     
  • Hargattai: Even moreso than before, we need to help people understand how to evaluate info coming at them.#BlogHer09 
  •     
  • Hargattai: Studies show lots of students believe a website based on its # 1 Google hit status. // OOPS. #BlogHer09
  •     
  • Boyd: NYT, Brittanica, Dr.s been granted uncond. trust. Not necc earned. // But I’d not want to liken them to Google hit status. #BlogHer09
  •     
  • Boyd: b/c we’re afraid of the technology, we think the technology is wrong. Hargattai: but we’re not teaching the skills yet. #BlogHer09
  •     
  • Aronson-Rath: Interviewed Henry Jenkins. Watch where your children’s passions are. Follow those; just support balance.#BlogHer09
  •     
  • Hargattai: Re scares & fear. Radio much freer technology pre-Titanic. Misunderstanding of its role in Titanic (check her site). #BlogHer09  [ed note: This page contains a summary and a PDF link to the research to which she refers: “Radio’s Lessons for the Internet,” an article in the January 2000/Vol. 43 No.1 issue of the journal Communications of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) ]
  •      
  • Hargattai: Fear limits a lot of pple, they limits selves, their kids (more their daughters than their sons), limits kids’ skills.#BlogHer09
  •     
  • Boyd: Fear is a biological response to things we don’t know. Likewise hope on another pole. Instead: understand what’s going on. #BlogHer09     
  •     
  • Boyd: the more we’re grounded by this, more we’ll be doing good service to others. #BlogHer09

2 Responses to BlogHer Keynote Twitnotes

  1. Vikki August 1, 2009 at #

    Wow. That is a lot of information. I think I need a weekend in a hotel to process it all 🙂

    • Lesbian Dad August 1, 2009 at #

      Um, and a drink or two. And a buncha free stuff (most of which totally doesn’t matter to you, but it enables you to bring back tchotchkes for the kids whilst staying under budget). And ten really nifty people every ten feet. And a roomful of folks who understand the rare, odd thing you’re doing, that people like your most esteemed local NPR morning interview host still doesn’t really comprehend, but which you know is slowly, reader by reader, deepening how we understand one another. 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.