According to Pew (link is pdf), more than half of all bloggers blog anonymously or under a pseudonym. So I wonder if everyone was lying, coming out naked or drawn from a self-selectively-skewed sampling, because I was the only pseudononymous blogger I met at the BlogHer conference.
"So what's your blog?" was the opening refrain to many conversations. Multiple choise choice [duh!]: (a) "Oh, I blogged more in the past, but not much lately, but I'm thinking of getting active again" (which is true); (b) "Mrs. Borden's Parole" (which is false); (c) "I don't want to say, I'm too embarrassed" (which is true); (d) "If I told you, I'd have to kill you" (which is false b/c I'd just kill myself)....
This may not be a fair generalization, but it seemed like a mommyblogger's conference. At least it seemed like I was meeting a lot of mommies (who presumably were bloggers, or else why would they be there?).
A lot of the sessions were interesting. From what I read of the first conference, I guess I was expecting more interaction within the room, but it seemed like most of the presentations were just that -- presentations, and while they all had Q&A, few of them were room-wide discussions, and that's too bad. There were a lot of really interesting women there, but it seemed like I heard mostly just panelists and presenters.
Now maybe I'm just too burnt out on politics, but I think the most boring session was the politics session. At first the room wasn't even that crowded, but people started to come in after it started. It was kind of unique, with one woman (whose name has escaped me) being kind of the Sally Jessie Raphael, walking around the room with the microphone, getting questions, having a panelist answer, and then opining herself.
I don't know. The whole political thing bores me these days -- which was kind-of addressed, at least the burn-out "dark night" kind of angle. Me, I'm just bored with stupidity. And so I guess I was hoping that we'd have some sharp commentary on the political scene. Maybe I just slept through it. It just seemed like this session was the opposite of what I'd expected, because while the panelists for the most part did not engage each other in debate, it almost had this kind of kumbayah feeling, like, Isn't it just so cool we're all blogging about politics (but let's not really get into it).
It was kind of fun seeing Lindsay Beyerstein up there, and for a conserative, Ann Althouse was reasonably non-offensive -- at least her statements were mostly devoid of party-line jingoism.
(I can already hear the protests about my admittedly over-generalized characterizations of that session and the people. Well, share it. Maybe we can have the exchanges that did not happen there.)
I also liked hearing Jarah of Fresno Famous, who was funny talking about how odd her town is. And hearing about Lindsay's harrowing encounter with the gubmint post-Katrina, and a soldier's (?) threat of "disappearing" her and her friends when they trespassed onto prison grounds where an unofficial morgue was supposedly kept.
The room was overwhelmingly liberal in the I'm-skeptical-of-anything-the-government-does kind of way (which used to be a conservative trait before conservatives embraced fascist values), so at least I didn't feel out of place.
But the conference itself wasn't boring. Arianna Huffington and Grace Davis were almost more political in their closing keynote. Arianna's story about losing her social circle of friends when she dropped conservatism and embraced liberal values was interesting. As someone whose politics haven't changed much in xx years (while the parties have raced righward), I'd never thought about losing all of one's friends just for dropping GOP gang colors.
Still, looking back I can see why the majority of bloggers who blog anonymously or under a pseudonym don't seek out an event like this. In many ways, it was like going back to high school, with clicques and -- how do you spell what sounds like "soashiz"? and then the rest of us.
Biggest hoot: Seeing a blogger named Liz Henry living it loud (to the extent that she is the subject of not one but two of the more outlandish appearances in the Flickr BlogHer photos [and that's 'nuff said]).
Biggest disappointment: Missing Lauren, formerly of Feministe, who's now blogging under a male name and suddenly garnering all sorts of respect. Go figure, huh?