The Recap


I was still going through my questions and finishing up last items on Thursday but I felt pretty prepared by the time I went to the dinner on Thursday night. All day Friday and all day Saturday I interviewed some amazing women. I was so busy that I didn’t get photos of all of them. Dang. In fact, I was so busy that I didn’t get to meet nearly as many people there as I wanted to. On the flip side, I got to really talk to those women that came in to film. We had a few problems come up and some people were very understanding and patient as we figured out the kinks (THANK YOU) but all in all it was a great weekend. Isabel Kallman, founder of Alpha Mom is truly an amazing woman and I thank her so much for sending me Mario for the weekend, without whom I might have died. And Chris. And Jesus. Can I get an amen?

The panel I was a part of went well, I thought. Danah was a great moderator. I wish I would have had more time to talk to her because I find her smart, fascinating and sporting great hair. It was great to finally meet Jenn, Denise and Erica in person. You can read more about our panel here on PBS Mediashift by Mark Glaser and here on The Huffington Post by Liz Henry. I was watching Liz type furiously during the panel and wondered how she could possibly get it all down. All in all, it’s a pretty accurate account. One part where she quotes me as saying, “Leah Peterson: I don’t blog about my kids, I have 4 kids all teens. And also my relationship with my husband.” was just a little off. I said something more like I make sure my kids are ok with what I blog about them and if they ask me not to blog something, I don’t because I want to make sure they always know they can tell me anything. But, wow, Liz can type fast.

And if that all wasn’t enough, Arianna Huffington sat down with me and Alpha Mom for a few minutes to talk about her new book. On Becoming Fearless….in Love, Work and Life is truly inspired. I think everyone should get a copy. I’ve read it twice now. I don’t know when any of the TV segments will be coming out but I’ll link to them when they do.

There were a few things like weird/spotty and not free internet connectivity and a large, laid-out conference area that made things challenging. And even though I only got to pop into one other panel besides my own for about 20 minutes, I was acutely aware that some people there were harboring and fostering some types of negative energy which made me sad. In my mind, when you get 700+ women together, we should all be planning to do something good, like switching things up in the government or figuring out how to make the perfect pair of high heels that make our calves look fantastic but don’t create blisters, rather than turning on each other. Just think what we could all do if we worked together! It would truly be a tragedy to waste the creative opportunity for greatness that Blogher facilitates.

Update: Sour Duck says some nice things about the panel here.

32 Replies to “The Recap”

  1. NOT FREE internet connectivity? Wow. Just wow. That is blasphemous at a conference like this. Ridiculous.

    Oh, but on a lighter note, I really like your new banner. It’s a beauty.

  2. You were such a natural “interviewer.” So happy to have met you, I had a GREAT time!

    p.s. Isabel is SO awesome. Love her.

  3. Sounds like a great conference! I agree that women, when joined together should be changing the world, not recreating junior high. What a shame! When you get those high heels developed, please sell them on your site. I NEED THEM!

  4. My only complaint about the thing was the little bit of negativity I noticed too…I also didn’t get to ask questions in panels like I wanted, next time? I’m just going to be brave and jump in. I’m such a wus!

    It was so great to meet you. I have never felt as uncomfortable in my WHOLE LIFE, as I did on camera, but you? You seemed so at ease and relaxed and I was so amazed at your poise. HOW DO YOU DO IT?

    It was truly wonderful to meet you. Truly.

  5. It was beyond amazing to get to work with you and AlphaMom. What to say but, *WOW, what a weekend!*
    LeahPeah, you my dear are fantastic! Thanks for everything.

  6. I think you must have had one of the coolest jobs at the conference, getting to meet such a fabulous group of women. I have been living vicariously through your flickr account.

  7. Ditto on the female togetherness thing, we desperately need each other. The games are such a waste of time, and give us all a bad “name.”

    I am a reformed woman-hater myself. If I can do it, I’m fairly certain anyone can.

    Besides, most people know about the reasons women don’t trust each other. Simply b/c we cannot manipulate other women quite as well as we can manipulate the men.

    Did I say too much? I hopes not.

  8. That negativity… was it standard female cattiness, jealousy about other bloggers getting lots of attention, cliquishness, etc — or was it disagreement about where the women’s blogging “movement” (if there is such a thing) should go?

    I’m curious because I’ve seen lots of grassroots efforts collapse under philosophical differences that could have been managed and dealt with early on in the process. If it’s serious grumbling with the potential to become divisive, perhaps it’s something that should be addressed head-on. If it’s just women being competitive, well, if you got 700 men in a room together they’d be competitive too. They’d just manifest it differently. And they wouldn’t look as good while doing it πŸ˜‰

  9. I must be acutely UNaware, because I had no idea about the negativity! I have already been thinking about BlogHer next year, and am so excited to go if only because: Chicago!

  10. Dear Leah,

    You were absolutely fabulous. It is very difficult to be on camera and as Miss Zoot wrote, you were at ease and very graceful. Congratulations and thank you for some great work. I know it was crazy; but it was so hard not to seize such a wonderful opportunity.


    P.S. I love you, too, Yvonne. And, thank you Zoot & Tracey!

  11. I think you’ve written about the air of negativity the best. I was aware of it and I made a conscious decision to stay out of it. I’m hoping that we; as a strong group of women understand that we can harness our energy better if we collaborate and debate rather than alienate each other.

    I think its just growing pains but growing pains can help an organization focus on issues they didn’t even think of before.

    Lovely to meet you.

  12. I guess I was utterly clueless too about the negativity… or maybe just too, er, uh, busy with the Yahootinis ! LOL. Seriously, I did sense a little of it, but since I consider myself somewheat of an outsider, on that topic, I clearly stayed outside. I believe when you give into the negative stuff and give voice to it, you only end up giving it energy and power that it would not have had otherwise.

    I think for the most part it did not affect the conference. And can I say that Arianna Huffington was very inspirational. Almost brought tears to my eyes. I also got a bit teary eyed thinking about how we can use the power of the internet to affect social change, re-create a sense of community and have our voices heard. Wow.

    I also got tons of inspiration, and ideas of things I can do creatively both at work and for my own personal artistic pursuits.

    My biggest complaint… I would have liked to see more of you though! You were working pretty hard there….

  13. Hello! Well-said about the negativity, and how that energy could be put to much better use toward other things, like shoes. Or, in one case when I experienced a badmouthing from one well-known blogger (not you), having a positive attitude toward bloggers you don’t even know.

    Negativity aside, it was mostly positive and useful, even though not completely snag-free.

  14. I know very, very little about what happened at BlogHer 06 but I get the sense that there was some hair-pulling taking place. Given all of this, should the organizers of next year’s conference wish to curb the “mean girl” antics, I say throw in a nude mud-wrestling panel. I’d absolutely go. I’ll bring a stash of pre-folded, one-dollar bills and a beer hat to ensure optimal freedom of my hands.

  15. I did not go to BlogHer but so many of the bloggers I read who did go – are all saying the same thing – some negativity – some cliquey-ness (by those who it would be least expected from) and that some of the bigger names in blogging (if there is such a thing) were nicer.

    I have to say 700 women in one place. It’s just darn lucky that underlying negatvitiy is the worst it got! LOL.

  16. Leah, it was really great to meet you. I am jealous of your interviewing gig and can’t wait to watch the videos. I can’t wait to turn the tables and interview you and get to know you better.

  17. What would creative, confident, grown women have to be catty about? I never understand it.

    Did Joe say Blogher will be in Chicago next? I’m ecsatic. I was about to complain to the powers that be that there needs to be a midwestern location…and then Joe appeared with the news. I’m all over it.

    Granted, my blog is but a miniscule speck in the midst of all you blogging wonders. But maybe…just maybe…they’ll select me to do a panel about calf nuts? Or burping? Anyone? Anyone?

    One can dream…

  18. when i read these entries, and i take the time to follow each and every link, i immediately realize “holy crap. just keeping up with all these people is most definitely a full time job.”

    i don’t know how you did it, but you are on the short list of the blogs i make time to read, & i’m glad you had a great [if crazy] time πŸ™‚

    i’m still in awe over the wireless business though…that is seriously some kind of oxymoron and/or irony right there…i can laugh about it because i wasn’t involved.

  19. It was my first showing at Blogher, let alone any conference and I hear what you are saying about the large, laid-out area. My thought was, can we get a GPS to get to registration and is there a shuttle available to get back to my room?
    Sorry I did not get to meet you, it was very intimidating being surrounded by so many talented women when you are just starting out in the blogging world.
    My goal next year is to be able to shake your hand or one of the other women who have inspired me to be a better writer.

    Thank you!!

  20. Leah, it was soooo wonderful meeting you and a real honour being interviewed by you. You made me feel like we were having a lovely conversation in your kitchen or living room and it. was. nice. Thanks.

    Next year – more lovely conversation, outside of interviews, ‘kay?

  21. I had hopes of attending BlogHer ’07 but I keep reading about this negative energy/vibe on all sorts of blog recounts of this year’s event. I hope this doesn’t continue to permeate.

    I’m glad you had a great time.

  22. Lp,

    I wonder if the medium of blogging doesn’t lend itself to the whole popularity contest dynamic. I try hard to keep my ego/self-esteem separated from my site meter, but my inner Sally Field starts bouncing up and down at the podium just a little whenever the numbers go up. “They like me! They really like me!”

    The flipside of course, is the feeling of NOBODYLOVESMEEVERYBODY HATES ME when traffic is low.

    That’s when I am vulnerable to comparing myself to others, and the blogosphere starts feeling like grade seven locker room, where you and Heather and all the other big girls already have boobs. πŸ˜‰

    I wasn’t at the conference, so I’m just surmising, but I’m thinking I’m not the only secretly neurotic and insecure she-blogger out there, and I can sort of see how if you got enough of those little unconscious anxieties amassed in a room together, it could be palapable enough to be felt.


  23. Some of us were talking about using our energy to create change. If you heard any of the “cultcha of love” talk Friday night, it was all about defeating DOPA and trying to re-create a societal culture of caring and trust instead of the fear and divisiness of our current political situation. Given the women involved, I truly expect to see more Culture of Love work in the future, all growing out of BlogHer06.

    And about the spread out nature? I LOVED it. Got my 10,000 steps in every day without day without needing to leave the facility. My source says next year will be on Navy Pier, which makes it sound like a slightly less sprawling venue. I’m only hoping that the midwest summer weather cooperates for the pool parties.

  24. DOPA= Defeating Online Predictors Act.

    Sounds like a good idea. But the government’s poorly planned tactic is to require schools and libraries block social networking sites and chatrooms from thier computers so that children can’t access them. Forget maybe putting programs in place to educate the kids on how to deal. Nope. Just segregate them off in a corner of the world and when they hit 18, hope they can learn it on their own.

    Just put your blinders on and ignore the perve behind the curtain.

    It’s a slippery slope issue that might eventually mean that our own blogs being blocked from free access by others. For more information, you can check out: Save Your Space. And sign the petition.

    Please help return us to a society of trust and caring not fear and divisiness.

  25. I just wanted to tell you how much I loved meeting you and being on a panel with you. I wish we could have talked more, but I know how crazy your schedule was.

    It’s a shame about any negativity. I suggest falling into hot tubs to rid oneself of that. Can’t wait to turn the tables and interview you soon!

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