Announcing the BlogHer '09 Call for Ideas

BlogHer Original Post

While we're working on finalizing our BlogHer '09 venue contract, so we can announce that by the end of the month, I am happy to keep BlogHer '09 on your mind by announcing the Call for Ideas for BlogHer '09.

If you're thinking this announcement seems earlier than last year, you are correct! We aim to have this Call for Ideas running for a month and to be able to announce at least a skeleton schedule before the end of the year!

Question: Why a "Call for Ideas" and not a "Call for Speakers" or "Call for Proposals" or something like that?

Answer: Because BlogHers are a generous bunch, and there are plenty of you who like to recommend other people to speak and want to suggest panels you'd like to attend, not personally speak on. And we're are all for that...any idea is welcomed, collected and reviewed by humans.

BlogHer '09 Tracks

This year we're featuring five tracks, as follows:

Identity and Passions: This is the track where we'll talk about who we are and what we like to do. We'll have one day of sessions dealing with the most personal blogging topics. In the past we've covered what it's really like to blog about our gender, our race, our sexual orientation, our hopes and dreams, our privacy, our fears, our most sensitive issues. We'll also have one day of sessions digging into the passions that fuel so much of our blogging. In the past we've covered FoodBlogging, CraftBlogging, KnitBlogging, and we know there are many other subjects out there that stoke your inner fires. What are the subjects we've covered that we could have dug deeper into? What are the passions we've yet to give the microphone to? Let us know.

The Business of You: So many bloggers are treating the personal platform of blogging as a professional platform too, and this track will explore how to do it wisely and well. Yes, this is where the monetization subject will live, but we can also discuss ethics, contracts...even your taxes. These economic times will not be a distant memory by next July, so discussing how to make the most of the blogging you love from a business perspective will undoubtedly still be a hot topic.

Politics & Activism: Politics, activism, social causes. 2008 was a huge political year in the American blogosphere, so it will be interesting to see where we focus our blogging energies in the aftermath of the U.S. election. This is the track to talk about how individuals and online communities are making noise, making a difference, making change. Can global issues get more attention? Will those that got engaged in the political discussion in '08 stay engaged? Will there be even better tools available to raise awareness, consciousness and funds?

MommyBlogging: We launched this track for the first time at BlogHer '08, and we will be repeating it. As the momosphere grows, it also segments. In '08 we spoke about parenting special needs, children, respecting your children's privacy, infertility, adoption and pregnancy loss, helping your kids develop healthy body images and, of course, the commercialization of MommyBlogging. What do you want to dig into in '09?

Geek Lab: The Tech Track: After experimenting with a Geek Lab approach on the Reach Out Tour, we're thinking of totally blowing apart the old Tech track model of a limited number of static sessions trying to speak to an incredibly broad range of skill and experience levels, and instead offering a big Geek Lab where you can partake of mini-presentations, office hours with experts, small group hacking opportunities, individual mentoring opportunities etc. etc. If you've figured out one really cool thing you'd like to share with attendees, let us know what it is, how long it would take to walk people through it, and what skill/experience level it's for. We're excited that this year we may finally crack the code of bringing the right technical content to our extremely diverse attendees!

OK, those are the tracks, so if that triggers some great ideas, then this year please:

Email both me ( and our new full-time Conference Programming Manager Jes Ferris ( and tell us the following:

- Who you are and why you want to speak
- Which of our tracks you'd like to participate in, and your experience/expertise/knowledge/perspective about that subject
- Specific links that highlight that experience/expertise/knowledge/perspective
- Your contact information and a link to your blog(s)
- Who else you think should be contributing

Question: What about Birds of a Feather and Room of Your Own sessions?

Answer: once we have a skeleton schedule published we'll ask registered attendees to submit the Room of Your Own sessions they'd like to lead. The goal is to present additional topics that may get missed in the regular schedule, so we'll wait until after you can see what that schedule is.

As for Birds of a Feather, I have a question for you all: Did you like having Birds of a Feather meet-ups scheduled during session times, or would you prefer to go back to doing Birds of a Feather meet-ups during lunch? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Question: So, how long do we have to come up with brilliant ideas?

Answer: We hope to receive all ideas in the next five weeks (by November 24th) so that we can start publishing the schedule by the end of the year.

We look forward to seeing/hearing what you come up with, what you want and what you're dying to see on the schedule.


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