In the first part of this multi-part article, I discussed how blogging may no longer be the best word to describe online writing. I “grokked” this emergent property of the communication system, a complex system, when I attended BAMC16 – The 2016 Bloggers at Midlife Conference, in Las Vegas Nevada – last month. Well, I didn’t actually say that in so many words, but that is the essence of Part 1.
Writing processes merged with publication and distribution processes as writers and creatives moved online. The content creator now can maintain control over all the steps of publishing her content, work collectively, or hire experts to handle various stages of publishing her work.
Agents and big city publishing houses are still integral to some writer’s ways of life, but many writers and bloggers have no intention of ever querying an agent or publisher.
The Bloggers at Midlife Conference provided examples of several publishing trends, demographic and otherwise.
Many of these examples, though they might appear as quite distinct from one another, contain a self-published blog as part of an entrepreneurial business. They publish various types of content. These women understand that a blog must be a core, valued product within her business. In some cases it is the primary product. Often the blog is not the primary revenue generator, but it is not an add-on, and never “just” marketing.
Business, Technology and Publishing Expertise is Us
The group of women at the BAM conference was among the smartest and filled with the greatest percentage of women “movers and shakers” I have experienced since I attended the BlogHer BET|Entrepreneurial and Tech conference in early 2011 in Silicon Valley.
There are bloggers of all stripes at blogging conferences, but I suspect that bloggers who identify as mid-life or beyond are rather different from the typical blogger who attends BlogHer Conferences for instance. In a totally non-statistical analytic summary of BAM I found most of the people in attendance to be:
- A bit beyond the actual demographic midpoint of life. (Women in the U.S. live to the median age or 81.94 years, so the median midpoint is 40.97 years) Okay, we women at BAM more than just a bit beyond the midpoint, but we were not elderly in any sense of the word.
- Competent and independent. Women who have had successful previous careers whether as supportive spouses, actively involved parents, in the corporate world, or the most common situation in which all these roles and more had been navigated for decades.
- Most considered themselves to be writers. Many were authors of multiple books.
- Actively building upon their brand using social media as a promotional vehicle.
These women have invested in secure platforms, professional design, and know their way around ROI and CRM – and not just for the profit. Relationships and investments are truly a part of their personal integrity, not just a business persona.
The next post in this series will feature some of the authors and business women I met at the conference so you can see the caliber of connections that a “midlife” network can bring with it. I have been known to call such networks “old girls club” (per TV’s Mad Men and “old boys clubs.”)