August 07, 2005

BlogHer "backlash", and self-proving A-list'ery

I was briefly quoted in CNET's "Blogma" regarding the issue that the first rule of A-List Club is you do not talk about A-List Club, and discussions about the BlogHer Conference meritocracy implications:

In these circles, apparently, BlogHer represents a form of gender-based politics that is a product of older generations and antithetical to the utopian libertarianism espoused so often in cyberspace. Yet as one observer noted in response to an essay that conveyed this point of view: "There's a difference between an ideal and a delusion. I think you have confused the two."

To me, the post-conference debate is self-proving. Consider the mathematics:

There were a few hundred people who attended the BlogHer conference. Which leads to a few hundred direct opinions from attendees about how it went. Add indirect opinions from interested readers too. Now, of this melange of viewpoints and conversations, which ones were amplified overall and then retailed to thousands of people not involved. Simple:


So, if you believe all that matters is socializing, you can dismiss everything else, since it doesn't affect whatever socializing happened. If you believe being heard and having an influence matters, well, that fact that a handful of rich/connected ranty A-listers (some who weren't even there) are basically defining the issues to everyone else, should be a sterling disproof of meritocracy.

Of course, that also implies this post doesn't matter, but it has an individual purpose in noting I'd been quoted :-).

On the other hand, some good discussion is coming out of the issues, such as more thought about search algorithm implications, and reactions thereof.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 10:24 PM | Comments (5)
August 01, 2005

BlogHer Conference and the A-list argument backlash

You just know BlogHer Conference debates were going to draw reactions like this:

White Male Power
(image from Jonathon Delacour)

Every time this goes around, I think of writing a FAQ ("Frequently Asserted Querulousness") on A-list issues. Then I remember how many times it's been done before, and that self-referentially, almost nobody would read it (since I am very far from the necessary status).

A long time ago, on certain USENET newsgroups, a guy named Carl Kadie used to do something very useful. For certain debates, he'd do a lengthy post along the lines of (roughly) "The last time this topic came up, X people said [THIS]. Y people said [THAT]. Z people said ...". Maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed to me that it helped. Then again, times have changed, and that might not do any good now.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:59 PM
July 31, 2005

BlogHer Conference From Afar

From reading about the BlogHer Conference, it looks like it was a great success. Though "specifically cultivating the female blogging community", it was open to men too, and I even considered going to it. Sadly, I didn't, since it was on the other end of the country from me, so it'd require a day on a plane there, and another day on a plane back.

Note, despite my lack of cheerleading views of blog-evangelism, I've enjoyed blogger conferences, mostly by the simple expedient of ignoring the Big Heads and talking to struggling writers. And from afar, this particular conference looked notable for being low on overweening egos.

I don't believe in any sort of biological determinism of thought (i.e. "women's way of knowing"). But all the ways in which we divide up the world express themselves, and the "on-the-verge" sensibility is an interesting contrast to earlier blog conferences (close enough in status to be talking the same language overall, but removed enough from the top power structure to know things are not all they've promoted to be).

It's a pretty good example of how "diversity" can work, and provide insights that get buried from conference organizers with other focuses.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)