I sat in the quietest of rooms at BlogHer12, stunned by the lack of attendees in a session hosted by some incredible women who have changed lives. Wow, that’s interesting. “It’s not interesting. It’s an issue.” replied the political commentator live-blogging behind me. Here I was at a conference with over 5000 bloggers all wanting to learn about many aspects of blogging. There were several sessions held at once, to accommodate the different needs of the diverse and large group. I understand most were there to learn about everything from SEO to iphoneography and content creation. Still, it was a shame that so many missed out on this particular session. I wish these women would have been part of the keynote with Soledad O’Brien, Christy Turlington Burns, and Malaak Compton-Rock.
So, the wonderful facilitator Cheryl Contee introduced the panel and what they have been doing with their blogs. Her introduction actually caused a few tears to unexpectedly fall down my face in appreciation. Moments before,I had been wandering around a massive conference expo with lifestyle brands promising me tastier treats, free manicures, gadgets, gizmos, better health and even better skin. I had spent the previous five days enjoying and exploring New York and all of her wonderful sights and delicacies. Now I was hearing stories of women using their blogs to stand up for the basic rights of young mothers, teenagers and babies around the world. It was a slap of reality in my face. They spoke of not having time for fear. Of people having a voice, but how bloggers become the voice for those people.
Ana P. Santos, Philippines, publisher of Sex and Sensibilities and Ana Santos Writes who is helping to prevent teen pregnancy in the Philippines through much needed birth control education. She is not only helping to educate, but she is also overcoming cultural attitudes to give women a better life.
Fungai Machirori, Zimbabwe, publisher of Fungai Neni. Fungai is a smart and beautiful soul who writes about life in Zimbabwe…and continues to write despite frequent power cuts. Last year she was denied a visa to attend, so it was wonderful to have her along this year her share about her experiences as an outspoken blogger.
Maha Elsanosi, Sudan, publisher of Mimz, an incredibly fearless young woman blogging about issues in Sudan, and working on projects such as To Sudan With Love (which she founded), the newly launched Voices of Sudan, and the newly launching 500 Words Magazine
Tara Livesay, Haiti, publisher of The Livesay [Haiti] Weblog. who provides prenatal and midwifery support as well as a birthing center, a residential teen mother program, and more.
Take a look at their blogs. These women rock.
Nothing moved me at BlogHer12 as much as the stories these women shared. Their determination. Audacity. Fighting spirit. Truth telling.
It got me thinking about the words and stories we share on our blogs. I observed the hunger to grow bigger, more popular blogs. More readers. More interesting trivia. Funny memes. Some women are doing this really successfully. But I’m not sure it’s right for this blog.
I hope that I can always be a truth teller.
Last night on an independent art show, artist Amber Wallis said something along the lines of “there’s some kind of truth to drawing which influences everything else.” I think this is why I’ve enjoyed life drawing so much this year (although the class is on hold for a term..and I’m missing it terribly!) The same can probably also be said for photography and words which find themselves on all sorts of blogs.
I ran into Zoey aka GoodGoogs briefly at a BlogHer12 “invitation only” party hosted by Hasbro. I like Zoey. I like the words, pictures and the truth she tells on her blog. I couldn’t help but notice this post after our time in New York. “I am going to be on social media to be there. I am there to have fun. I am there to share things that I create so that people will connect with them. So I’m no longer worried about the conversation happening on my blog. I am using social media as a digital publishing medium rather than a link following medium.”
Your Inner Voice
This post. On Copyblogger. You know whe you’re thinking about things and then you read a post which sums up what you wanted to say? It’s a good post about ambition, polularity, the pressure to lie and the drowning out of our inner voice.
“Everywhere we look, we see supposed evidence that bigger is better and more exciting is best. “…..”We feel financial and personal pressure from our spouses, our peers, and our competitors to bring in more revenue, have six-figure launches, and quit our day jobs to become professional bloggers. We often go to bed thinking of ways to grow our businesses so we can have better, richer and fuller lives, and at every turn, we get hit with marketing messages from questionable online marketers who flaunt photos of their sailboats and mansions. “…
“I think we can also reconnect with our best selves when we take care of our bodies and minds. I think we can try to eat good food, get a little exercise, and try to get more sleep.”
I could create a blog which resounds with the publishing tone and marketing smarts of a glossy magazine. It could do well. Who knows, maybe one day I will.
For now, I’m happy with my blog right here. My voice. I hope to blog twice a week. To live a creative life, “reconnect with my best self” and share truth as I see it. I have a hunch that more people will become happy doing that too – and that brands (like Hasbro, thank you) will be happy to engage with us.
After all, popularity is often subjective.