Announcing the BlogHer ’12 Call for Ideas!

BlogHer Original Post

UPDATE as of 2/16/12: Due to the volume and quality of submissions, we are delaying release of Phase 1 of BlogHer '12 programming until after the President's Day holiday, next week. This will also delay the launch of the Room of Your Own submission process, since Room of Your Own submissions are designed to fill holes in the Phase 1 programming. We know this extra time will help our eighth annual conference have the best, most original, most creative programming ever! Thank you for your patience. ~Polly

 

We’re excited to announce that the first round of the BlogHer '12 Call for Ideas officially opens today, and will remain open until

January 5th, 2012, 5pm (PST)!

Veterans familiar with how we roll, just jump right into the BlogHer '12 Call for Ideas submission form, as often and as repeatedly as you need to, 'til you've shared with us all your best ideas or 'til 5pm (PST) on January 5th, whichever comes first. Everyone else, read on! Below you'll find:

 
How this works: programming elements & sequence
 

Back in 2005, we called BlogHer "the conference that the community built," and we've worked hard to keep it that way. Following is a description of how we ask for your input, guidance, and contribution, every step of the way.

Programming elements

The core of BlogHer conference programming consists of a variety of sessions grouped into themed tracks. We issue a "call for ideas," rather than a "request for proposals," because we're interested in way more than panel proposals. We'd like to hear:

  • topics you'd like to hear someone (anyone!) address;
  • sessions you'd like to propose (either with or without a fully-stocked panel in mind);
  • speakers you'd like to hear (including yourself!); and
  • moderators whose experience and skill convince you they'd make great BlogHer panel shepherds.
Programming sequence
 
This is the Call for Ideas for the first round of BlogHer-planned programming. A second round, called BlogHer’s Room of Your Own programming, will take place early next year.
 
In more detail: here's how Elisa describes the BlogHer/ROYO programming sequence last year:
 

BlogHer sessions are created from the first round of community suggestions. During the first phase of planning programming, we'll receive all of your session and speaker ideas and synthesize them into panels. We often receive similar ideas for panels. Or we look for people who have different viewpoints on a topic and figure out how to schedule that debate to happen at the conference. We also seek out other voices that deserve to be heard from across the blogosphere. Every year at least 80 percent of the speakers in BlogHer-programmed sessions at our annual conference are new to speaking at BlogHer. It's our goal to seek out fresh voices... and that means, especially if you haven't spoken at a BlogHer conference before, we encourage you to submit your ideas and own your expertise. Part of our mission is to create opportunities for women who blog and speaking at a conference is a wonderful opportunity!

The second round of programming results in Room of Your Own programming, based on a second round of community suggestions, with the help of public community input. There are two criteria for Room of Your Own sessions being selected: 1) community interest and 2) bringing diversity to the programming schedule.

Read our original definition of the Room of Your Own concept here. Room of Your Own proposals should be made by registered attendees of the conference. The purpose of the Room of Your Own sessions is to provide an opportunity for conference attendees to:

  • Fill in the programming holes you think we left when we published our schedule
  • Volunteer to contribute to the conference in a very active way
  • Make the conference experience your own 

Timeline 

  • December 5, 2011 – January 5, 2012 (closes 5pm PST): Round One programming call open  
  • February 15: First round, BlogHer-planned programming announced
  • February 15, 2012 – March 15, 2012 (closes 5pm PST): Round Two, Room of Your Own programming call open
  • March 31: Second Round, ROYO programming announced

We'll be announcing Voices of the Year and International Activist submissions timelines after the new year.

 

Tracks

We are asking for programming that falls into the following themed tracks:   

The Personal

This track is for sessions exploring what makes you tick as a blogger. What's your passion? How does blogging change you, those you know, the community you care about? Sample topics could include: truth-telling, support network building, personal growth, personal passions, and more.

The Political

Given 2012 is a major election year in the states, this track, which in years past has often incorporated a lot of social change and activism content, will be pretty focused on politics, specifically. BlogHers will no doubt have a whole lot to say in this track. Sample topics could include: political organizing online, electoral punditry and persuasion, and more. We will be seeking voices from across the political spectrum. Ideological diversity is as important to us as any other kind, especially in a track taking on politics!

The Professional

If you are part of the segment of the blogosphere that is steadily "professionalizing," this track is for you. You may make your living with the help of your blog; you may make a nice side income from it; you may use it to promote your business, skills or talent, you may simply aspire to do any of the above. This track will provide best practices for doing so. Sample topics could include: using your blog as an employment springboard or a skills-builder; must know legal and financial advice; marketing, branding, selling, and more. 

The Technical

This track is for sessions exploring nuts and bolts and how-tos. One branch of this track will be Geek Tech instructional sessions: Web programming and development; multimedia; applications; devices. The other will be an expanded and improved Geek Bar allowing one-to-few coaching and troubleshooting.  Submit your panel or workshop idea or submit yourself as a Geek ready to hang out your "Doctor is in" shingle.  
 

The Writing

Similar to the tech track, one branch of this track will be instructional sessions: the mechanics or craft of writing; grammatical or stylistic potholes; editing pro-tips; methods to work through writer's block, and more. The other will be a writerly take on the Geek Bar, we're calling the Writing Lab.  Like the Geek Bar, it will feature one-to-few coaching and troubleshooting.  Submit your panel or workshop idea or submit yourself as a Writer/Editor ready to hang out your "Doctor is in" shingle.
 
The Visual
 
Photography! Video! Design! Blogs are extremely visual media, and people use this to great advantage.  This track will be a home for all those sessions that explain, showcase, analyze, and celebrate the visual element of blogs and blogging. Sample topics could include: photography (from camera phone to SLR), video shooting and production (from mobile device to studio shooting to editing software), principles of great web design, and more.
 

Finally, we'll place a big emphasis this year on having and identifying beginner pathways and veteran pathways in many tracks, to accommodate our ever-growing attendee base.

 

How to submit your idea(s)

Here's the BlogHer '12 Call for Ideas submission form.

Go back and use it as often as you like from now 'til 5pm (PST) on January 5, 2012. We've designed it to help ensure you let us know what we need to know. In it we ask:

  • your first & last name & email address;
  • what you're submitting (a topic that should be taken up, a session proposal, a speaker recommendation, or a moderator recommendation);
  • what attendee level your session (if it's a session) is geared toward (if applicable);
  • what three practical takeaways attendees will get from this session (if it's a session);
  • supporting material (URLs & the like) for speaker or moderator recommendations; and
  • whether the speaker or moderator has spoken at past BlogHer events.
 

How can you make your submission stand out?

BlogHer's annual conference is a venue for thousands of women who blog and the wide range of things they blog about. What matters to this ecclectic mix expands every year with what's happening (and about to happen!) in social media, the world, and our lives.  The multiple tracks we create for conference sessions are intended to capture that wide range.  

That said, we survey attendees every year, and every year we hear that attendees value inspiring voices and concrete, practical takeaways they can try out for themselves. So every panel suggestion that helps us see these benefits to attendees will be at an advantage.

New twists on enduring questions: great!  Original ideas: even better! Topics or speakers new to BlogHer conferences, ideally new to blogging conferences generally: just what we're looking for! A group of speakers who complement or even challenge one another (and thus shed light on the subject from multiple vantage points): now you're talking! Oh, and fantastic moderators! Did we mention fantastic moderators? 

Jes published a great post a few weeks back -- "How to Become a Speaker at BlogHer Events" -- that described what it is we're trying to reflect with the speakers we invite to each BlogHer conference.  Read that for the detailed skinny. And do note: unlike with speakers, moderators are exempt from our 80% new voices goal: we want folks experienced at moderating and familiar with BlogHer's dialog-based panel style.  

Other helpful resources

Past conference agendas

These will give you a comprehensive overview of what has been taken up at BlogHers past.  What inspires you most? Do you see anything from years past that could go further? What should we be learning more about and paying attention to in 2012?

Descriptions of BlogHer conference elements
Stumped for an idea? Brainstorm in the comments below! See what others think! Blog about your ideas, get your readers' feedback! Stumped about the process? Ask in a comment below, write Jes &/or me, or fill out this spiffy, E-Z form Jes created! We'll do what we can to help you help us make 2012 the best BlogHer ever!

 

Yours,

Polly

polly@blogher.com

for Elisa, Jory, Lisa, and the entire Conference Programming Team 


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