Sunday, February 22, 2009

Connecting, reconnecting, misconnecting

I'm on the way home from Northern Voice and there's so much to process and say. It was really great to reconnect face-to-face with my old friends Barbara G., Leslie M-B, Alan Levine, and Brian Lamb. I admire and respect their work, and find it really invigorating to be around them. They both support and challenge my thinking, something I truly appreciate. It was also my great pleasure to meet twonew/old friends, Scott Leslie and D'Arcy Norman. I've been reading their blogs for years and loved having the opportunity to talk to them in person. Also, it was wonderful to reconnect with Nancy White and have the opportunity to present with her and to learn from her. She doesn't remember our first meeting at BlogHer '06, but thanks to Flickr, the event is duly documented.

I ended up giving two presentations thanks to Leslie prodding me to help her present on Gender and Blogging. That turned out to be a really fun presentation. We tried to simply frame the issue based on our recent on-blog conversations and then ask the audience to weigh in. People had some very interesting things to say and they continue to come up and talk to Leslie and me afterward. We didn't come up with any profound answers to the question of whether certain blog categories were more or less inviting to women or whether it was even an issue. One interesting thing that came out of it was when Leslie asked how many of the people in the room started their blog under a pseudonym. Almost all the women raised their hands and only one man did. By far my favorite moment, though, was when D'Arcy said, quite earnestly, that he'd been wondering if there's something he was doing on his blog to make it unfriendly to women. As I said then, no, there isn't. I think there's a complex dynamic going on that has to do with what men are doing when they're blogging and commenting and what women are doing. And even saying that makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable because it assumes that there's some kind of "normal" behavior for men and women.

Like our presentation on gender, my presentation with Barbara and Nancy about Limbo--the spaces between online and offline spaces--we didn't have enough time to really flesh out all the issues. But we did get to dance! I have a lot more to say about the presentation itself, including links to the videos Barbara and I led off with. The debrief of the session with Nancy and Barbara was as fun as the presentation itself.

Saturday night, hanging out with new friends and old, I laughed more than I've laughed in a long time. We all had some truly funny quirky stories, tales of woe from high school, old jobs, etc. It was great to feel like I was among fellow travelers. We also came up with new multimillion dollar ideas that I think don't look so good in the light of day, but at the time seemed fabulous.

Now I'm looking at taking a red-eye home thanks to the only misconnection of the weekend, and heading into a had week ahead, but I feel revived somehow. I feel reconnected with myself, with my goals, inspired by what I heard over the last few days. Thank you, Northern Voice and all the people who made it so worthwhile.

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