The BlogHer '11 Agenda. Step One: The Preliminary Session Schedule
Today we are excited to announce that most of the break-out sessions have been added to the BlogHer '11 online agenda. As we explained in our call for ideas, these break-outs are just one segment of programming at BlogHer, but they are an important one!
Here are the components, including what we're announcing today, and what is still to come:
Step 1: BlogHer-programmed sessions: Announced today
Check out the agenda, and you'll see programing in our five conference tracks. We programmed 30 sessions from the hundreds of submissions we received...pulling together the best ideas the community had to offer and adding in a few of our own. We have not yet fully confirmed every speaker for every panel, and there are still a couple of panel slots we are hotly debating. But the vast majority of programming has been set. Here's a look at a highlight or two from each track, and remember the full BlogHer '11 agenda can be found here.
- The Write Brain track is focused on the craft of writing, and what you can do with it. This year we heeded the calls for a back-to-basics writing workshop, and we have some English teachers on hand to remind us all why the passive voice is so so bad! We also have introduced our first-ever "double-wide" panel -- a full afternoon workshop focused on developing juicy blog content. Three instructors will walk you through the steps from ideation to creation to manifestation of the excellent blog post. Day Two in this track is focused on how to write about your writing...pitching articles, proposing a book, turning text into scripts.
- The Minding Your Own Business track is meant for the bloggers who want to monetize or already are. These are perennial favorite subjects at any blog conference, but we're throwing in a couple of twists. For example, you've probably heard a lot about bad P.R. pitches. have you ever heard about bad blogger pitches? Some P.R. professionals are ready to share how bloggers can quickly boot themselves right out of consideration for opportunities. We also have multiple sessions focused on talking specifics...making the secret sauce not-so-secret is our goal this year,
- The Social Media Geek track is all about the tools we love and how to get more out of them. Another request we've heard for years is for "office hours". Rather than panels or sessions, Day One will be our BlogHer version of the Genius Bar. The BlogHer Geek Bar is open all day...because it's always 5PM somewhere :) On Day Two we will dig into a few important innovations that many bloggers are adding to their offerings...video, multimedia and community outside the comments.
- The Changing the World track is about the power social media gives us to change our communities, society, the culture, the political landscape and more. Its amazing potential doesn't mean that there aren't also pitfalls. This year we're going to talk about a few of the problems...and of course, real solutions we've seen work in the wild. For example, we're excited to talk about media literacy, how to get it...and how to make sure the next generation has it too. We're excited to talk about the Own Your Beauty project...and whether if we change our internal perspectives, we can actually change the culture at large, and even the socio-economic landscape! And of course we'll talk about how blogswarms and Twitter revolutions really do happen and really do make a difference. The Changing the World track is nothing if not ambitious!
- The Changing Yourself track is about blogging's direct impact on our lives. We're covering some new and interesting topics this year...like blogging a failing or failed relationship, or blogging your imperfections...but also talking about how you keep the fires burning inside, whether you're an individual blogger or managing an active online community. In other words: This is BlogHer #7; let's explore the seven-year itch!
As they say: There's all that and more, so check out the full BlogHer '11 agenda here.
Step 2: Birds of a Feather
Over the years, we have done Birds of a Feather meet-ups in one of two ways: Lunchtime self-organized groups, and scheduled meet-ups during session times. This year, we're doing both! There were so many great panel submissions about so many great segments of the blogosphere that we are devoting two meeting rooms to a series of three scheduled Birds of a Feather meet-ups per day. Each will have an identified discussion leader to rally the troops. We will also create a space for additional self-organized Birds of a Feather meet-ups during at least one of the two lunches at the conference...so if you don't see your group represented, you can plan lunch together.
Step 3: What is still to come? Room of Your Owns, International Activists and Voices of the Year
Never fear, we are still planning to have all of these at this year's conference.
- We'll be launching the Room of Your Own submission process later this week. We've gone back and forth over the years between having a Room of Your Own dedicated track and integrating Room of Your Owns into each programmed track. We're going back to having a dedicated track, so the hottest submissions can be chosen, regardless of subject -- sort of like how American Idol is no longer going to require half boys, half girls. We introduced the Room of Your Own concept at our very first conference in 2005. You can read that original post here. We know perfectly well that 30 programmed sessions and 12 Birds of a Feather meet-ups still won't cover every topic that lots of people want to talk about, so why not turn over the mic and let you all fill in the blanks? Stay tuned for the full information about what we're looking for and the criteria for selection when we launch the Room of Your Own submission and polling process later this week.
- We will also be launching the third annual International Activist Blogger Scholarship program soon. We have a feeling there will be lots of worthy nominees this year!
- And if your personal goal is to be a Voice of the Year, we'll be reprising that again, of course working with Eden Kennedy to produce the fourth annual Community Keynote! Look for a later submission period -- we won't be kicking it off until late May this year. As always, Room of Your Own sessions and Community Keynote slots are reserved for conference attendees.
I know I speak for Lisa, Jory, Jes and the entire BlogHer team when I say thank you for all of the many submissions. You make our job hard but wonderful every single year. that we are working hard to make this year's conference the biggest and best yet. We look forward to hearing which panels you can't wait to attend and what Room of Your Own session you're dying to see added on the schedule. We're at T minus 6 months now -- BlogHer '11, here we come!!!
for Elisa, Jory and Lisa, BlogHer Co-founders and Jes, our conference programming manager