I participated in the 3rd annual gathering of bloggers of color, the 2010 Blogging While Brown Conference on June 18 and 19 in Washington, DC at the Washington Convention Center. It was a wonderful opportunity to be in the same room as dozens of other influential political and social bloggers. There were those who I had been following for years and others that I just met and learned of during the event. I even met a childhood friend I attended elementary school with there who has her own blog with thousands of followers. The first day started with an invitation-only workshop for new bloggers, registration, game night and a meet and greet.
The next day, there were several informative and inspiring sessions. Of note, was the session about the FTC guidelines related to Bloggers and their receipt of funds or product from corporations in exchange for reviews. There was an overall frustration among several bloggers, many learning of the FTC rules for the first time, who perceived the FTC as unreasonably going after bloggers. Other sessions included informative looks at how to monitize a blog, make it a useful tool, and use a blog for engaging social change. I, for one, learned a lot.
The afternoon Town Hall promised to include a discussion of the Net Neutrality debate with Black Leaders on both sides of the issue debating the matter. It was not. Instead, the panelists Chris Rabb of Afronetizen; Shirley Franklin, former Mayor of Atlanta and currently executive director at the Alliance for Digital Equality, and Jioni Palmer, Communications Director for the Congressional Black Caucus talked about the role of bloggers in civic engagement. The only heat was between Palmer and the entire audience because he came off as disconnected, aloof and intolerant of the blogging community and social media. I am hopeful that the Congressional Black Caucus is not as closed minded as Palmer came across.
I enjoyed other attendees’ post conference wrap ups and didn’t think to write my own until after I participated in an online radio show with Host Ananda Leeke (www.anandaleeke.com). You can listen to it HERE! Leeke entertained an open discussion with women who attended the conference. During the radio show, we shared our favorite moments, takeaways (lessons learned), and next steps.
On June 23, 2010, the Washington Post voices section also did a write up of the conference attendees meeting with the White House:
More than 60 small-site bloggers of color met with White House Online Programs Director Jesse Lee and Director of African American Media Corey Ealons on Friday while in the District for Blogging While Brown, an annual gathering of bloggers of color that has become the largest get-together for black political bloggers in the nation.
I did not have an opportunity to attend that meeting but to me it signaled the importance and value of bloggers, and particularly bloggers of color to the political landscape.
Gina McCauley, an attorney and activist, founded the conference in 2008. Visit www.bloggingwhilebrown.com to learn more about the 2010 conference. You can register now for the 2011 conference in Los Angeles, California too! Follow Blogging While Brown on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bwbconference.
Finally, here is a video montage of the event.
Riding with Jessica
But You’re A GirlJeneba “JJ Ghatt”,is editor at Jenebapeaks.com, an online hub where she helps social media butterfly who empowers digital entrepreneurs and professionals to create great things online at her online learning platform Digital Publishing Academy. She is an editor of tech blog Techyaya.com and founded the annual 200 Black Women to Follow On Twitter List. Read her bio, then get all of her online & digital biz startup advice and tools in one spot here!