BlogHer Live: the A-list debate

Posted in Events

Debate: Play by today’s rules–or change the game?

Speakers: Charlene Li, Halley Suitt, Lisa Stone

“The power women bloggers have at their fingertips…and how to use it.”

“The A-list? Sometimes I think it’s stupid. But if you don’t play into it then you don’t get the visibility–and I think it is important to get visibility for what you do. It’s a Catch-22: You have to play their game but their game kind of sucks.” –Private conversation with a woman who has blogged for six years about her life and her work as a developer [site]

The traffic we have is only as good as the search results. And women are really not present. Does the lack of links from link counters and top bloggers cause a problem?

The 80/20 rule is hard to fight against. 80% of visibility comes from 20% of the blogs. So, what is the problem if we have credibility? Visibility or credibility? Do we want to be A-list? To make money from it (yes).

Yet at the same time, as we all know, women are virtually missing-in-action in the game of best-known blog listings, like the Technorati Top 100 and TLB Ecosphere, which rank blogs based on the number of incoming links (not quality). The miniscule number of women on these lists is as unrepresentative of women bloggers as the number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 (eight) is to the number of women working (nearly 50 percent). Bottom-line: It’s hard to find you. And if you care, then it looks like we’ll have to fix that ourselves.

The debate questions:

1. Does the lack of links from link-counters and the so-called A-list represent real, institutional barriers to entry or contrived barriers to entry–economically, personally, professionally, culturally? Does the lack of links hurt/help/not affect women bloggers who seek to gain recognition, rewards, revenue, cultural change.

2. Does playing by the existing rules of blog link-counters shout down alternative, diverse and new voices? Are we participating in our own demise? Why/Why not?

3. Do we owe it to ourselves and/or other women to win this game even if we don’t personally care about the lists? Could separate ever really make us equal? Why/Why not?

4. If we want a meritocracy, do we need to code one ourselves?

Where are we failing? Networking. We, as women, do not effectively network. We do not ask for what we need and show what we offer in return – that is effective networking. It is far more than social. Also be relevant. People link to the A-listers, it’s not all just internal linking. However, unless you want to get in the game, you need to be relevant. Also, be unique. Understand who is relevant to you and how you are relevant to them. – Charlene

Ask the A-listers to mention you. Over and over. Women do not ask. And ask three times. – Halley

If 25% of people in here don’t care about links, it causes some dissent in the room to hear her tell people to ask for links.

The press looks at the A-list, so you better believe it counts.

Many A-list blogs are consortium blogs, not written by just one person. How do you fight against it?

The debate is loud in here. Just a little thing to let you know.

We should have top lists for each major keyword – this will show women far more.

Charlene – A list does NOT mean Technorati 100. It is more about what is important to you. Keywords or topic areas are also important.

Blogging is not just about what gets into top lists. It’s not all just about politics or technology. Blogging can and is about what is counter to media, and that field is large. – Halley

Social structures are different – women build dense but intense networks, not wide weak ones. So, current network structures validate the male network sense, and that we must understand and play to these rules if, and this is if, you want to be on the list. – Danah Boyd

Be clear about your goals and what you want to make happen – this will help you communicate well and get that traffic.

Is your goal traffic or what you want to do in the world?

When you are relevant and you focus on the content, you can become the source. Credibility can be more important, and can lead to visibility.

Many publishers ARE looking for fresh news and views. Mainstream media is not necessarily dead. Give it a chance and perhaps embrace it. Ask for coverage again and again. It is, afterall, a marketplace of idea – albeit one that currently suffers from lack of diversity.

We need to get on the big blogs that have multi-authors. We may not be invited, but let’s ask!

We need lists that embrace individuals, not companies or groups. Let’s get a list of individual bloggers.

Technorati 100 is mainstream media now. So, perhaps it’s time we forget it and embrace a new way to subvert the mainstream.

Join a network. The model is there to support us, to give us exposure. Weblogs Inc is one of these.

Can we measure in other metrics, other than link metrics. What about how many times people link out in general and where. I think this is a good proposal, that we cannot keep debating the list and if it is good or bad or how to get on it, but to go beyond the list is bad to the metric is bad. I think this is great. Such metrics would look at how we actually relate.

Powerful women in social software are often thrown out as “Oh, well she’s an exception” – as though powerful women in blogging are outside the mainstream. That they are not a part of our term “women.” Additionally, these powerful women are often in the business hardcore and who perhaps don’t draw highlight to their gender or the success of others in their gender. I might be the same way if I made it big. Really, I’ve really never been political about gender, and many can criticize me for this. But I’d just never think about it. I don’t see my gender, as of yet, as an obstacle or a hindrance. Really, I don’t expect to be on the top 100 right now. Perhaps if I hit a wall it may occur to me to have some gender bias, but until then I’ll keep plugging on with what I do.

Links and traffic are not directly correlated. Let’s not forget that. – audience member.

Let’s do things that are not on the lists. Let’s push. – Halley

Marc Canter tells us to empower ourselves and make a BlogHer 100.

BlogHer Live tracking page

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Technorati Tags: blogher, bloghercon

BlogHer Session Survey

Posted in Events

80% women, 11% students

one third of us have 4+ blogs

52% have not attended even a session on blogging

Everyone and everything can and will be blogged

Everyone is in the press

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Safely arrived

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv

Got in safely. I’m sitting comfortably in my hotel. Quite humid out. Just about to pop out for dinner. :)

What is the effective level of border and airport security?

Posted in Opinion

So, I am back at Seatac once again. Sitting at gate C11 waiting for my flight out to San Jose. Turns out it is about 20 minutes behind schedule, which kind of bites. I was hoping to have a short wait only. Oh well.

The drive out was really nice. Great weather. Got to take a ride in Tris’ new car, with great A/C. We left Vancouver really early this morning, at about 6:30am. Came down with Tris and Susie – Susie will be speaking tomorrow at BlogHer and had an earlier flight out. I hope we made it on time – not the full 35 minutes prior that you are ‘supposed’ to leave for check-in. I guess I’ll find out tonight.

Tris and I ventured back to Seattle proper for a meeting. Qumana Services is starting to build some buzz and it’s great to share the excitement we feel about the blogosphere with others. Won’t mention names in case it is not wanted, but to those reading, thanks for lunch!

Anyway, it is always fun to go through security here. Perhaps a taboo topic, but it’s a real eye opener for anyone to experience. First, we get grilled as we drive into the US. Lots of very pointed questions and I always feel very wary using the word “blog” - it slipped out by accident today but I managed to cover it with the word “technology.”

Next step would be the terminal and going through the scans and whatnot. You have to seriously take everything out. I take off jewelry (most), empty pockets, take off my jacket, remove the laptop from the bag, and even take off my shoes. I had 2 bins and two bags going through. Seems a rather lot. But, that is because I am perhaps stretching the “carry on” limits by cramming everything possible into my laptop bag – it is literally bulging. Oh well.

Anyway, going through here always seems really stressful to me. I find it odd to see all the security people roaming, as well as several in full army dress watching the crowd. Although the protection should make me feel protected, it makes me feel more wary in actuality. However, I believe, for the most part, it is a worthwhile effort and is done well.

So, let’s contrast this high level of protection and security with that in Canada. And, yes, I am going to put down my own country and perhaps validate those few out there who are crying against Canada for lax security measures. Well, here are my few experiences.

The last time I came back from Seattle, not more than a couple of weeks ago, the border guard a) did not look at us, b) mumbled a few questions, c) did not look at the passports we held out. This is not a sole occurrence, either.

Now, some other frightening stories. I have witnessed in my family two rather bad lapses in security. One, a member of my family was able to escort his girlfriend all the way to the gate without being questioned once. He did it by accident just because he was never stopped.

Second matter: another family member lacked proper identification (for various reasons), though legally Canadian. Anyway, we all managed as a group to get from Vancouver to Toronto and back without said identification. This shows a single thing that we ought to change: the power of groups. When in large numbers, it becomes difficult for security professionals to individually assess each ID. And, sad to say, no request to go through individually was ever uttered.

Do we have issues with security in Canada? Based upon my experience, yes. Do I want us to progress to the other end of the security spectrum? No. I think there is a happy medium where we are not only secure, but are using our security finances effectively and ensuring our personnel can effectively manage the numbers. I think there is a balance in there where number of personnel and equipment can handle issues large and small without overkill.

So, though I managed to go off on a tangent sitting here waiting to board (this only took me about 15 minutes to write), I think it is an interesting discussion. What do you think?

What experiences have you had with US or Canadian security measures, primarily at border crossings or in airports?

How do you think we should manage security?

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BlogHer event blogging

Posted in Blogging, Events, Professional Blogging

I am flying out tomorrow for BlogHer. Have a very reasonable flight, so I get in with enough time to go to the dinner at Andiamo Cafe.

I’ll be event blogging a few sessions while I’m there (full schedule). Both with posts and photos. I might jump between sessions to catch as much as possible, but know for sure I’ll be photoblogging the following:

Session #1: Blogging 101

Session #2: How to Be Naked

Session #3: Blogging for Business

Session #4: MommyBlogging

All posts will come up on Blogaholics, and probably Qumana. I’ll be linking it over to the appropriate session post on BlogHer, but also the Live tracking page set up.

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Future of Publishing – the low down

Posted in Events

I spoke today at the Future of Publishing. Was on a panel with people I both knew and did not know: Kris Krug, Ben Garfinkel, Janet Johnson, and Eric Karjaluoto.

I spoke about my path to professional blogging and what I am doing now. I talked on the changing dynamic in business communications and the role of blogging in dialogue. Of course, I believe strongly that being a part of the conversation in blogging is no longer a choice but a necessity. I spoke of the passion of self publishing that drives me to do what I do and to really enjoy it. I also gave a brief demo of Qumana, which some readers might have caught in the RSS feed before it was deleted.

As promised to many in the audience, here are my subscriptions. They are a good place for many to start in on a ton of topics – all organized into easy folders.

The Q/A period was really great. Was a change to chime in with the other speakers on a whole bunch of really great issues such as the role of blogs in publishing, what to do with massive amounts of content, how to manage negative commentary and more.

Thanks to all who came today and especially to those who posed some great questions. Would be happy to elaborate more on any topic, openly or via email. Leave comments and I’ll respond as well.

If you want to contact me to be on a panel or to speak at any conference, please email me.

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3D street art

Posted in Art

Most 3D art is hard to visualize. Not so with that of Julian Beever. I just wasted a whole bunch of time looking through some galleries of his stuff.

Julian Beever is an artist who makes streetart in such a way that it appears 3D when viewed at the right angle. When viewed in the wrong angle, it probably looks very stupid and distorted. Not an easy feat.


From: Virtual Street Reality

More at Pavement Drawings

Via J-Walk Blog

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