Baby Boomer Bloggers Increase at Blogging While Brown 2013
Blogging while Brown 2013 wrapped up yesterday evening in New York city as a resounding success. Never heard of this? Ok let me enlighten you. This was my second year attending this particular conference.
I attend blogging conferences because it is my way of interacting with my peers and expanding my knowledge on running a publishing business. Over the past 3 years Blogging While Brown has become one of my favorites because
a) I know that Gina McCauley and her team’s programming will give value,
b) Panel topics always reflect an understanding of her audience (95% or more black and brown attendees)
c) The panels function as a practicum for immediate use; and
d) I have yet to find unprepared panelists which sometimes happens when panelists do not respect their audience.
Gina is a quirky lawyer/entrepreneur. To me she is an old spirit in a young body that conference goers have come to understand simply as someone who “ain’t got time for no foolishness.” She is notorious about starting panels on time and sticking to the program. She made one exception that I am aware over the two days in that she relinquished her comments and allowed a session to run over. Aminah the BWB Conference Director, like her team never abuses their authority but trust and believe, the hands you do not see are at work.
This year I particularly relished the panel on Brands and Blogs. Over the past year and one half I have attended several sessions on unpacking this relationship. But baby, you needed to have been there to get the full 411 offered by Shante Bacon, CEO of the 135th Street Agency; Karen Civil of KarenCivil.com, Mary Pryor of Urbansocialista.com; and Charlene Bastien-Dance, National Marketing and Sales Director, Strength of Nature Global.
This group brought the fire. You can tell from the body language that they have all leaned in. Alexis Garrett Stodghill of theGrio.com was able to situate much of what the panelists offered into a contemporary and historical context so that their findings could not be considered anecdotal. And among brown/black bloggers, the feeling was that we were getting the truth straight from the horse’s mouth. This has been the hallmark of both Blogging While Brown conferences I have attended. You may not KNOW the panelists but THEY know what they are talking about.
The Blogging While Brown brand tends to be heavy on lawyer-types. This may be because Gina herself is a lawyer. But these are lawyers who have applied their ability to think narrowly and deeply about the law to a given subject, so that analysis or in popular parlance, breaking a thing down is king at these conferences. There were lawyers everywhere, talking about pinterest, copyright, and in the hallways. There was a session on Strategic Partnerships sponsored by TVLand. Their presentation was a case study type panel in which we were clearly made to understand what sponsors want and how we, as bloggers and content creators, can help TV Land kick their can down the road. Because if you want to get hired, you need to understand exactly what the business proposition is in the relationship.
I mention these two because I attended afternoon sessions and can speak firsthand about But hear this, there was no quiet murmuring in the halls about the sessions being tepid. So kudos to the entire BWB team. I heard no criticism about content.
On Saturday the programming included mini-sessions on writing, mobilizing your blog, blogging across borders; specific steps you can take to help the uninformed open their hearts to more diversity; podcasting and crowdfunding.
The highlight, however, was the closing panel on which Necole Bitchie of NecoleBitchie.com, Angel Laws, Concreteloop.com,Claire Siobhan Sulmers, The Fashion Bomb and Karen Civil, of karencivil.com participated. It was moderated by Alfred Edmond Jr and the audience could not get enough.
Oh my, my, my … being a Boomer, I am not a regular reader of the above ladies. I knew of Angel and Necole. They are technically all digitally in the entertainment arena where up-to-the minute information is a staple. So while yes, they appear to be ball’n at events with celebrity clients but they agreed that they are actually working their tails off.
Claire of the Fashion Bomb covers events like the Milan Fashion week and cautioned young wanna-be’s that to be in the game and to be taken seriously, couture would need to be part of their work even if Louboutin never called them to join a press junket. Karen spoke of not having dated in the last six years (a personal choice I am sure) because she is working 24/7. Angel talked about the need to unplug and set limits and Necole spoke of being sued for 1 million dollars for use of a photo. All agreed they were running businesses that started off as blogs but had since morphed. So while their work looks pretty, it is indeed work.
But if you could have seen the way the audience rushed the stage when the panel was over you would have thought that Beyonce had entered the building. In real life each of these women are already superstars as brown digital media publishing entities. Trust and believe.
I spoke with at least 10 baby boomers who were in attendance. Last year I remember there were 4. There may have more who do not identify as such but indeed qualify if they were born between 1946 and 1964. But I’d say ten brown baby boomers were in one place, most of them at least pseudo-active digitally and that made me very happy.
The conference is not limited to brown bloggers, mind you. In truth, amidst bloggers, unidentified brand and public relations reps mingled. I met Sarah Millstein of The Lean Start Up when I asked her if she was someone else. She replied she was the other white person in the room (there were 4-6) to which I replied, “Now you know how it feels.” We had a great chuckle together.
Try not to miss it next year if you have even a remote interest in understanding the future.