This year the BlogHer Conference, that is being billed as a “Selfiebration,” returns to the place it all began 10 years ago in San Jose – Silicon Valley.
So between now and the start of the conference I will be posting about various aspects of my journey with BlogHer since I joined the online community in late 2005 or early 2006.
Back when I first traveled to California in the 70s I think I heard people refer to it as The South Bay. This was before Silicon Valley. Things change. My blogging certainly has changed through time. I started out as a pop culture demographic blogger in my first bloggy incarnation:
My goal way back then, 2001 and before, was to get the notion of the quite distinct groups within the Baby Boomer Generation differentiated into cohorts. I could find no one else using the term “Late Boomer” back then, so my relentless elists, newsletter and website posts at the turn of the millennium were about my cohort, which I termed Late-Boomers, who were the last half of the children born during what was called the post-WWII baby boom. I succeeded.
After that I worked for peace with the group CodePink.
Back in 2007 I still used pseudonyms on the internet. Dependent upon the site, topic, and time, I was either thewordwench, cuppakona, pinktucson, or artpax, unless I was in the virtual world of Second Life® where I was Ana Herzog. The first post I can find that I made on BlogHer.com was made as artpax: I had started seriously questioning the utility of pseudonyms, and I was rapidly beginning to think that attempts at anonymity were silly. But a lot of bloggers I met at my first BlogHer conference were attending the conference anonymously too. I haven’t noticed that as much at more recent BlogHer events.
(It was not the first BlogHer conference that I tried to attend – I had volunteered to do podcasting at the 2006 conference before my Hubby had a hissy fit and I had to bail. Boy oh boy, that was a year full of stories – that I have as yet to tell.)
I billed myself as a political blogger at the time. I’d already run afoul of media squelching my stories. Huff Po would not allow any links to my blog due to profanity, or so they said. But I suspect that fascistic trolls has complained about blog and they banned links without even checking. I reported on stories back then that no one else was covering. The following pics and snippet of text is mine:
Even back then I was outside the Mommy Blogger mainstream, and truth be told I was a bit sad that I was, as always, outside the in-group. I should have tried to tag along with Anne-Marie, my wonderful roomie, of This Mama Cooks fame to meet some of her Foodie and Silicon Valley Moms friends. But instead I went to the parties alone and met some nice people, but didn’t really connect with anyone else. I was not able to book a room in the main conference hotel. I had just spent the last 5 months in Northeastern Indiana caring for my elderly mother and then emptying out her home after her death in late June.
Truth be told, I was a bit shell shocked; I knew I needed to attend this conference. I needed – far more than I knew -– to surround myself with smart, vital women’s energy, and there was so much of it there on Navy Pier. It lifted me up and carried me along until I could land back in my Tucson life and home and begin my non-political writing phase. That did not go very well. I did not give up my political blog until 20011.
My goal there was to help people understand that nearly all women want peace, that we had been lied to by war criminals, and that if we work together we can make our voices heard, even when the media will not cover it. I blogged, and some of the things I did (such as CODEPINK in SecondLife) were parodied on The Daily Show.
CODEPINK SL was pretty much myself along with a great supportive guy in Venice Beach, CA. I, in my Ana Herzog avatar, had disrupted military presentations in SL, and protested Newt Gingrich when he spoke on Virtual Capital Hill, and participated in anti-G8 European-organized rallies. I blogged about these adventures at: VIRTUAL PINK – CODEPINK IN THE METAVERSE. Again, I think I met some of my goals. But goals change.
The goals that began evolving at that first conference attendance at BlogHer 2007 gradually replaced many of the goals of my second blogging incarnation.
I never bought into being a vehicle for corporate porridge-sales or relentless pursuit of the pageview, but I learned that I knew a ton about marketing and that contemporary marketing was using all the suggested practices for implementation of the theory I studied decades ago when semiotic methodology was first being introduced to students beyond Departments of Philosophy. Women and our words on the internet were going to change everything. Welcome to my third bloggy incarnation. It has had some shifts, and fits and starts along the way but being a part of a womens’ voice being heard globally underlies all I do in my writing world.
I LOVED this look back. I’ve been disappointed in BH these last years but am happy to welcome everyone to Silicon Valley, the place I’ve lived pretty much since 1984.
Why, thank you Carol. I go through fits and starts with BlogHer. I so respect what Elisa, Lisa, and Jory set out to do and have accomplished. I too have been somewhat disappointed, but… I am optimistic and it is the channel through which I have found my tribe.
Lois Alter Mark
Wow, I love reading your history here. Blogging/writing can make such a difference in the world, and I so admire all that you’ve attempted and achieved. We need your voice out there.
Thank you, Lois! I have learned so much from my scattershot ADHD blogging ventures and adventures! I am glad that you found the look-back to be worthwhile and most of all, my friend, I thank you for the encouragement. It means the world to me.
What a great look back — I love seeing things through your eyes Nancy! Here is the line that will take me through the rest of my day: “Women and our words on the internet were going to change everything.” Loved it!
We are changing everything aren’t we, Ruth? Mwahaha!
I met you at my first BlogHer in 2012 NYC. We were both wearing cowboy boots and we stopped to compliment each other. 🙂 I hope we see each other again in San Jose! I’ll be wearing my boots. 🙂
I remember that! I have to get my boot heel fixed. My mastiff nibbled on it. We will run into each other, no doubt!
A romp AND a history lesson! Loved the photos too.
A romp through blogging history, yes!
Great ride back through history. It is always wonderful and inspiring to be surrounded by the sisterhood!
ROI for BH comes in many forms and sisterhood is one of the main ones!
Bonnie a.k.a. LadyBlogger
I loved reading about all the names you’ve used as well as the fact that you participated in Second Life! Thank you for a wonderful reflection and I look forward to more great posts as your third bloggy incarnation unfolds! P.S. I hope I see you at LadyBlogger 2015!
I love naming things and characters and such. Were you in Second Life? I will email you about LadyBlogger2015.
Nancy, great look back at BlogHer. I’m so impressed with your blogging resume; I am not brave enough to write about politics.
As another late boomer, I look forward to seeing you in San Jose.
Yes, I plan on networking more than “attending sessions,” this year as I want to connect with other midlife bloggers as much as anything. See you in San Jose!