OFFICIAL LIVE BLOG - TRANSCRIPT - Room of Your Own #2: Women of Color and Marketing

Heather:    Hi.

Audience:    Hi.

Female:    Hey.  Morning.

Heather:    Good morning.  I’m Heather Barmore from No Pasa Nada and also BlogHer.com, where I’m a contributing editor for business, career, and personal finance.  And in case you don’t know, the session that you’re in is called Women of Color in Marketing.

Audience Member:    Oh, okay.

[Laughter]

Female:    Oh, I love her.

[Laughter]

Female:    Oh, it’s going to be like that today?  Okay.  Okay.

[Laughter]

Female:    All right, well let’s slow down.

Female:    They’re going to have to take some shoes off.  Everybody’s taking off their earrings.

Female:    Excellent.

Heather:    Well then, this is going to be a fun panel, isn’t it?

[Laughter]

Heather:    I don’t even know what I’m saying now.  Really quickly, I’ll tell you the genesis of this panel.  Two years ago when we were in Chicago for BlogHer 2007 we were – this was before there were, you know, several tracks on, you know, tech, you know, mommy, whatever.  So we were in one, the State of the Momosphere session, and we were talking and all of a sudden we brought – the topic of monetizing your blog was brought up, and Kelly turns around and she’s like – and we’re talking.

Kelly Wickham:    I’m Heather.

Heather Barmore:    This is Kelly.  

Kelly Wickham:    Shut up.  Stop.  Stop.

Heather Barmore:    I’ll mention that in a second too.  And Kelly – this is Kelly.  Everybody’s going to introduce themselves, but – and Kelly here brought up the fact, you know, why don’t companies market to women of color the way they market to women not of color.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    White women; just say it.

Kelly Wickham:    It’s okay.

Karen Walrond:    It is not a bad word.  

Kelly Wickham:    Exactly.

Heather Barmore:    White women.  Sorry.  And so that came up.  And, you know, they don’t have an answer for her at the session.  They’re just, you know, they kind of just look at her and they’re like, “Well, you know, we’re not sure.”

Stefania Butler:    “We don’t know what to do with you.”

Heather Barmore:    “We don’t know what to do with you.”

Kelly Wickham:    “We don’t know what to do with you.”

Heather Barmore:    And so I got back and I’m like, “Oh, that’s interesting.”  So we get back from BlogHer and Stefania and Kelly both write these posts.  I’m going to read the quotes that she quotes from their post.  Stefania, I mean Kel – so-

Kelly Wickham:    Stefania.

Heather Barmore:    This is Stefania.

Kelly Wickham:    Heather.  Stop it.

Heather Barmore:    And Stefania says about this – she’s talking about the panel, she says, about the PR person that she had been speaking with after the panel, she said, “To his credit, one of the PR dudes came up to me after the session and asked, ‘How should we pitch to mommy bloggers?’ and I said, ‘Tell me you looked up my stats on Alexa.  Tell me you picked me because you think I might be influential.  Tell me you know mom bloggers get pitched to all the time, but you’d pretty please like me to listen to you.  Just don’t bullshit me by telling me you read my blog; I know you don’t.’  And he admitted, ‘You’re right, we don’t pitch to bloggers of color.’”  And here’s the money quote, “We just don’t know what to do with them.”

Kelly Wickham:    Just don’t know what to do with them.

Heather Barmore:    And this is from Kelly after she wrote about how she asked this question and about what happened afterwards, “My question then was directed at those two marketing professionals, and I asked them when they would tap into the mothers of color and bring us into the fold, because they were leaving us out of the loop.  When will the diversity come into play?  And the question with the hand, it died a sad death right there.  We got back to the homogenization of blogs, and I got a little excited when Stefania chimed in that diversity does indeed need to include moms of color, because she has concerns about Asians being marginalized as well.”  So this is where this panel came from.  

    And it’s very interesting, when I told somebody that I was doing this panel, a White male friend of mine, and he said – and I said, “I’m talking about women of color in marketing, because PR companies don’t know how to reach out to women of color,” and he said, you know, “Send them an e-mail.”  And I was like, “Ah,” which should be that easy.  

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    And so – crazy.  E-mail.  So that is why we are here.  So like I said, I’m going to have everybody introduce themselves, and I’m going to ask the panel some questions.  I’m moderating.  And we’re going to go from there.

Kelly Wickham:    And talk with us.

Heather Barmore:    Talk to us.

Kelly Wickham:    Just-

Heather Barmore:    No pitching from the floor though, so don’t be like, “Oh, hi, my name is Jane Smith and I’m sponsored by Kmart.”

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    Don’t say that anyway.

Karen Walrond:    No, seriously don’t.

[Laughter]

Female:    Right on.

Heather Barmore:    So like I said, my name is Heather Barmore and I’m from NoPasaNada.org.

Stefania Butler:    I am Stefania Pomponi Butler and I blog at CityMama and Kimchi Mamas and MOMocrats.com.  

Kelly Wickham:    I want to tell you my name is Heather, but they won’t let me.

Karen Walrond:    We won’t let her tell any _____.

Kelly Wickham:    My name is Kelly Wickham, and I author Mocha Momma, and I also write for BlogHer as well, and the Beauty Hex.

Karen Walrond:    Oh god, we have to do all of them.  I’m Karen Walrond, and I blog at Chookooloonks.com, and I’m Momversation.com.  I blog for BlogHer.  I think, oh Battling.com, I do a – and I think that’s it.  I think.  Yeah.

Heather Barmore:    We do a lot of blogging.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah, we blog.  

Heather Barmore:    Crazy, we blog.

Karen Walrond:    We’re bloggers.

Heather Barmore:    We’re bloggers.

Audience Member:    Would you guys mind telling us your Twitter names real fast?

Karen Walrond:    Sure.

Heather Barmore:    Oh.  I am theHeatherbee.

Audience Member:    Say again, please?

Heather Barmore:    TheHeatherbee.

Audience Member:    All one word?

Heather Barmore:    All one word.

Stefania Butler:    And CityMama, all one word, one M.

Kelly Wickham:    MochaMomma.

Karen Walrond:    MochaMomma.  And I’m Chookooloonks.  Ya’ll ready?

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    It’s C-H-O-O-K-O-O-L-O-O-N-K-S, Choo-koo-loonks.  Chookooloonks.  Yeah, no problem.

Heather Barmore:    Okay, so here’s a good question.  Ready?

Karen Walrond:    Sure.

Heather Barmore:    Why do you think women marketers have such a hard time reaching out to women of color?

Kelly Wickham:    ‘Cause they don’t know what to do with us.  Which my answer – my response to the question, “We don’t know what to do with you” was, “You know what, I use toothpaste just like White women.  Don’t tell me you don’t know what to do with me.  But you do have to think a little bit differently if you’re going to give me a swag bag or you’re going to give me some product.  You can’t give me makeup that you’re going to give everyone else; it’s not going to look the same.”

Audience:    Amen.  Amen.

Kelly Wickham:    You can’t give me the hair products that you’re going to give everyone else.  Those are the general differences.  But, you know, I wash my clothes and I clean my house and I use the same exact things that those people do.  I just want you to be aware and I want you to actually put in the effort to get to know what that product might be or what some Black products, you know, what are some of the names of them.  

You know, how many of the women in here know what Carol’s Daughter is?  Thank you.  And, you know, I would come across marketers who would say, “What is that?  Is there a Web site where I can find that?”  I would really like you to know that already.  I just would.  I want you to do your research and I want you to do part of what I believe your job already is, and know that before you get to me.

Karen Walrond:    But you know, I mean, I’m going to be devil’s advocate person, like I probably, I feel this already.  But you know one of the things that I think that you just said, and you’re right, is that a lot of the problems that I think for PR pitches for us are the same as PR pitches for any woman, in that they just don’t do their research.  

Female:    Right.

Karen Walrond:    Like I don’t really – like literally yesterday I got a PR pitch for somebody who wanted me to talk about ponytail holders.  Look at me.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    And I’m a photographer, and there’s pictures of me all over the Internet, right?  Like really?  Like, and to me – I mean like, that to me is not like, “Okay, White people don’t know how to talk to Black people,” that’s like, “Just do some research, man.  There is no way I’m going to be able to coax this into a ponytail.”

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    Right?  And so for me, like I think a lot of it, like you said, it’s not necessarily that they’re not reaching out; I think it’s sloppy is what they are, right?  It’s not necessarily like, “Oh, I’m afraid to go talk to her ‘cause she’s Black.”  I mean I don’t think that’s what it is, but I do think that it’s just marketers in general can be very sloppy.  And I love your quote, what you were saying about, you know, “Tell me that you looked up my ranking, tell me that you did a little bit of foot” – you don’t have to go through my archives and read everything I do, but, you know, most of us have bio sections, most of us kind of tell what we are – what we talk about, you know, like Stefania writes a lot about food.  So, you know, maybe some food things might be-

We were talking about this prior to, and I was telling them never once, of all of the marketing things for ponytail holders and bronzer and whatever else I might get, right?  Not once has anything related to photography – I have never been pitched anything for photography, and I’m a photo blogger, right?  Like to me it’s like, you know, think about it, right, before you approach.  That’s the only devil’s advocate.  

And I think it’s sloppy.  You know, I talk to blogging friends of mine who aren’t Black and they’re like, “I get the same crap as well,” right?  I don’t think that that’s necessarily that foreign as that part.  Like it’s just do some research.

Audience Member:    Do you have a Twitter hash tag you want us to use?

Female:        Oh.

Female:        Oh.

Kelly Wickham:    That’s a good one.

Heather Barmore:    Very good question.

Audience Member:    Don’t _____ bronzers.

Karen Walrond:    Don’t sell me bronzers.

[Laughter]

Audience Member:    Have My Name’s Not Heather.

Heather Barmore:    My Name’s Not Heather.

Karen Walrond:    My Name’s Not Heather.  We have to get you all into that joke in a minute.  

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    If you all want to use that hash tag, My Name’s Not Heather, that works.

Karen Walrond:    That’s actually funny my name’s not – well let me tell you why that’s funny.  Can we-?

Heather Barmore:    Yeah.  No, tell them why that’s funny.

Karen Walrond:    So you see the three of us up here, and I think we can all pretty much agree-

Female:    Four.

Karen Walrond:    Well yeah, but we don’t get mistaken for Stefania.

Kelly Wickham:    All the time I get that.

Karen Walrond:    But the three of us at every BlogHer, all of us get mistaken for each other all the time.  Including this time; I was called Heather this – right?  Right?

Kelly Wickham:    I was called Heather.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah, she was called Chookooloonks, which I always love.  I love that when she gets Chookooloonks, ‘cause like I don’t mind calling Heather, ‘cause like I’m twice her age.  [Laughs]  But I’m like, “Poor Heather,” like when she ____ like, “Yeah, sorry about that,” right?  But we get mistaken for each other.  And it’s just the three of us for some reason, really.  Like the three of us get mistaken all the time.  And it’s like, “Really?”  And then Stefania gets mistaken for-

Stefania Butler:    I get mistaken for Kristen Chase.

Karen Walrond:    For Kristen Chase.

Stefania:    The other half-Asian blogger.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    Yeah.

Heather Barmore:    They’re not the same type of Asian.

Karen Walrond:    And they’re not the same type of Asian.  Like she’s half-Korean and half-Chinese.

Heather Barmore:    You all know there are several types of Asians.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah.  Yeah.

Heather Barmore:    Mary, you have a question already.  Well, hi.

Mary:    I do have a question.  I was in a session yesterday where a friend of mine, who happens to be – and we were talking about mom blogging stuff, and she happens to be a lesbian, and she stood up and made the point that she doesn’t get pitched [Inaudible].

Okay, so at this other session this lesbian mom blogger made the point that she doesn’t get pitched for stuff, and she thinks that it’s a similar sort of thing, where sort of the queerosphere is not being tapped, and she also has kids and buys diapers and does-

Kelly Wickham:    There’s seats upfront.

Mary:    -and does all of this.  And so I’m wondering beyond this whole, “We don’t know what to do with you” I wonder if you think, and I don’t know if this is true, if you think that marketers think that you don’t have the audience, which from my perspective is hilarious, because you all have huge – I mean, I know you; I read your blogs, you have huge audiences.  Do you feel like the marketers are not approaching you because they think that either you don’t have the audience or that your entire audience is women of color and you’re different that way?  I mean, obviously I am not a woman of color and I love all of your blogs.  Is that the misperception?  Do they not understand who’s reading you?

Kelly Wickham:    That’s a great question.

Karen Walrond:    That’s an excellent question.  

Stefania Butler:    I haven’t heard that, but I, you know, that could very well be.  But I think we would all agree that, you know, it doesn’t matter how huge the audience is, I think marketers care about how much influence that we might be able to wield over our readers.  So if we can convince ten people to, you know, head on over and sign a petition for whatever cause, or maybe we do blog about a camera we love, or whatever it is, and we convince those ten people to go and purchase it, that counts a lot more than reaching out to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people who might do nothing.

Karen Walrond:    I actually think that Mary’s right; I think that most people, they may know that we have large audiences, but they assume that our large audience is all whatever race we appear to be.  

Kelly Wickham:    That we don’t even have diversity amongst our readers.

Karen Walrond:    Right.  Which, and for me that’s not – yeah, of course it’s crap, right?  And it was funny, ‘cause I was looking at my sort of like the country stats, like where people come from.  And like obviously the United States, ‘cause let’s face it.  And then like for me, because I’m Trinidadian, I have like probably the second-highest percentage is always like between Canada and Trinidad.  Like it’s really sort of strange, right?  And I don’t really talk that much about Trinidad on my site or anything, but my name, Chookooloonks, is a Trini word, so people find it and they’re like, “That girl got to be a Trini,” right?  

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    But I would say that I have, you know, like Bahrain, you know.  Like it’s everywhere.  And it’s so myopic.  I’m like, so even if it were true – and I don’t think it’s true for any of us; I think we all have very diverse readerships, right?  But even if it were true, so what?  Like if you’re getting – you’re getting the reach, so does it matter?  Does that matter?  

Heather Barmore:    Can I address the – as well?  Two years ago I remember talking about just my clothes and what I like to wear.  And one of the things I talked about is actually this dress that I’m wearing, which is from Shabby Apple.  And I-

Karen Walrond:    She said no pitching.  What’s wrong with you?

Heather Barmore:    I know, I have to say it because I’ve noticed that there are a lot of women here at BlogHer who are sponsored by them.  Don’t tell me that I didn’t have any reach.  I had some reach there.  They didn’t come back to me and ask me – which is fine, okay, but you do what you have to do.  But I think that that speaks to my reach when what they’re doing now is they’re sponsoring women to wear their clothes.  So I feel like that should be a response to the marketers who are saying, “We don’t know who your audience is.”  Really?  They’re all here.

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    That’s why – that’s how I discovered Shabby Apple, was through your site, and so-

Karen Walrond:    Me too.  Yeah.  And look it, and everybody’s nodding, like, “Yeah.”

Heather Barmore:    I feel like twirling in my dress now.

Kelly Wickham:    I saw like several hands up ____.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    Do that after.  Do it after.  Do it after.

Heather Barmore:    I saw Renee’s hand go up.

Renee:    I almost forgot my point, but I think-

[Laughter]

Female:    Sorry.

Renee:    I think what I was going to say is that on the opposite end there’s an expectation that your audience is a particular audience.  So I’ve been pitched by people who said, “Well this is for African American women,” and I’m like, “Well, I’ll write about it, but not necessarily from that perspective, because that’s not” – I mean I do have an African American audience, but that’s not my entire audience.  As a matter of fact, it’s much more diverse than that.  So I’m not going to say, “Oh, African American women, go” – I’m not going to do that.  And so I think that it is also important for them, like you said, to look at the stats and ask and understand that I’m not going to pitch it that way.  

So I may have – well, I can’t say who, but I had a company come to me and say, “Oh, we want you to do this cosmetic bag,” and I’m like, “Fine, but this is for everyone.  I’m not going to say, ‘Okay, there’s an ethnic picture on there, so it’s only for ethnic people.’”  And they were fine with it, but I just also think that it’s important for them to understand that we are very diverse and that our reach is expansive and not just one particular thing.  

So I think they run into kind of a funny place, I mean, just to be on their side as well, because they’re not quite sure how to do it.  But I think having conversations like this will help to garner a better understanding.  And personally, one of the points I want to make before I forget is that for those of us who have been blessed enough to have been able to work with a number of brands and companies, to get the word out there about other people that they could work with, and so that we’re helping them to know that there are others out there who are diverse who would love to do this as well.  

And the third point, and I’ll stop talking, is that I think it’s also important for women of color to put yourself out there too.  Like it can’t be the expectation that people are just going to come to you; you have to be out and present and then people will say, “Well who is that?” or “Oh, I heard you talking to so-and-so.  Tell me about them.”  So I just think it’s a mutual thing, that you have to, one, to have an expectation that they’ll come to you, but you also have to be out there so you know that you are available and open to be approached.

Female:        That’s a good point.

Heather Barmore:    Yeah, that’s a very good point, and we’re going to get to that, about how we’ve all had our – have garnered success with some companies based on, you know, what we write about and, you know, I guess our best practices or whatever, and how there’s kind of a new generation of bloggers that do things a little bit differently than the way we do it.  And I mean, we’ve all only been blogging for what, like I’ve been blogging for like four years.

Karen Walrond:    Five years for me.

Kelly Wickham:    Three years.

Stefania Butler:    2003 is when I started.

Karen Walrond:    Six years.

Heather Barmore:    Six years.  And so we’re – but, and yet there’s this huge generation gap between people who started blogging, you know, 2003 to 2000 like 5, and people who started blogging between like 2008, 2007-2008 and now.  I mean, so we’re going to get to that as well.

Let me take one more – yes?

Iman:    Hi, everyone.  My name is Iman, and I just wanted to piggyback off of something Renee said before I get to my point, which is that what I have seen in investigating blogs is that there is a lack of sharing, like sharing the wealth of information that is out there.  So if you do get a marketer that you know are willing to work with you on a product or something, I see more of, “Let me keep this to myself,” as if I don’t want to, you know, help somebody else out.  I think everyone should just like, you know, share the wealth.  If you have information, go ahead and let somebody else – and that’s how I think you get more anyway.  When you give, you get back.

And then I also wanted to say it’s unfortunate that we have to wait, but I think now that we do have a woman of color as the First Lady, we’ll get more.  Because I think prior to this people just didn’t think that we knew how to parent.  So it’s like-

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    You mean from a parenting blogger’s perspective?

Iman:    Right.  Right.  That’s what I was going to say.

Karen Walrond:    From a parenting blogger’s perspective.

Iman:    From a parenting blogger’s perspective.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah, Claire Huxtable was a long time ago, yeah.

Iman:    Right.  And now they’re off, so they’ve forgotten.

Karen Walrond:    Right.

Iman:    And being from Trinidad, I mean I know my parents know how to parent.

Karen Walrond:    Represent.  What?!  Trinis!

Iman:    But I think now they’ll see, “Oh, they have two girls and they’re doing well, so okay, they must know what they’re doing.”

[Laughter]

Iman:    And then, you know, it’s like, so we’ll – I think we’ll get somewhere.

Heather Barmore:    I don’t know what I’m doing.

[Laughter]

Iman:    So we’ll get somewhere soon, so I think we just have to wait a little bit.

Karen Walrond:    Interesting.

Kelly Wickham:    I think you brought up an excellent point, which is that there is a multifaceted way to approach this, and I’m not just a person who’s going to have influence over my clothes or my hair, my makeup, but my children, my family, you know, my marriage, my – you know, there’s a lot of things that they need to look at.  So I think that’s an excellent point; thank you for bringing that up.

Heather Barmore:    I will say, ‘cause I don’t think we each have the same – we all have four very different blogs, and I’m going to say, from my point of view I don’t have kids, I – yesterday somebody came up to me and they were like, “So I hear that you don’t want kids and you don’t want to get married,” and I was like, “I am 25.  I”-

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    Slow up.  Slow-

Heather Barmore:    So I really haven’t thought about it.  And I was like, “Can you give me like five minutes or like _____ _____,” I’m sorry.

Audience Member:    Five years.

Heather Barmore:    Yeah, give me five years.  I don’t know.  And so, but I – my favorite thing though is that, you know, talking about how people pitch to us who don’t read our sites, people will e-mail me and say, “Hi, Heather.  We know that as a busy mom of,” you know-

Karen Walrond:    Young children.

Kelly Wickham:    Young children.

Heather Barmore:    And I’m like, “I don’t have kids.”  I mean, I’ve talked about other peoples’ kids sometimes, but they all think I, you know, I have kids.  But sometimes, you know, I’ll take the product anyway because I – people think that because I’m single I don’t Swiffer-

Karen Walrond:    Because you need a pacifier.

Heather Barmore:    -that I don’t-

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    That I don’t do laundry.  And I’m like, “Well I do all the same things that moms do.  I clean.  I have,” you know – and single women also have a huge sphere of influence, because we also have all this money to spend.

[Applause]

Heather Barmore:    I don’t – I have all of this money to spend and I’m like, “I’ll talk about your stuff,” but then sometimes companies don’t want to give, you know, give me something in return.  I’m like, “I can buy all, whatever, this stuff.  Like I can buy a Volvo and test drive it.”  But they don’t want me because I’m not a mom and I wouldn’t need an SUV.  I don’t drive.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    Tell them about the education thing.  The education thing, that’s a good one.

Stefania Butler:    Oh, just related to that, and just, you know, horrible, horrible pitches – oh god.  Okay, so I’m approached by a client who said that they wanted to reach out to – now I can’t even – “highly educated women of a high”-

Karen Walrond:    Income bracket.

Stefania Butler:    -“income bracket”.  And I don’t know, just the way that it was put to me was very off-putting, because, you know, maybe it was presumptuous of me, but I knew what they were talking about.  No thanks.

Heather Barmore:    Okay.

Kelly Wickham:    There are some more seats over here.

Heather Barmore:    Yeah, there are some more seats.

Kelly Wickham:    I’m just so glad this room is packed.

Karen Walrond:    I know; I’m so – can I tell you how exciting this is?

[Applause]

Karen Walrond:    And packed with every shade of color in here.  I love that.  I’m so excited.

Heather Barmore:    This is very exciting, because when I was like, “Oh,” – I was talking to Karen on IM when I decided to do this.  I was like, “Hey, guess what I just did.  I just submitted us a room of your own,” and she was like, “Oh.”

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    And I said, “Surprise!”  

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    And when it got picked up and I was just like, “Oh, okay, now we’re going to have to speak and they’re going to be like, ‘Oh, nobody’s going to come.’”  And look, people.

Karen Walrond:    I know, it’s just so exciting.

Heather Barmore:    Just very exciting.  Yes?  

Michelle:    I’m Michelle and I’m with WifeandMommy.com and I-

Kelly Wickham:    Can you get to the mike?  ‘Cause they’re recording this.  

Michelle:    Sure.

Kelly Wickham:    Thanks.  

Michelle:    I’m Michelle and I write for DCMetroMoms.com, as well as my personal blog.

Female:    Ooh, D.C.

Michelle:    Woo hoo!  Right.

And I will say we’re a very tight-knit group of bloggers, and we get together and we party and have fun.  And there are about three or four of us that are Asian, and just like Heather and Kelly and Karen – I got it right, didn’t I?

Kelly Wickham:    Yes.

Heather Barmore:    Yes.

[Laughter]

Michelle:        We’re often mistaken for each other.  And it’s become a joke.

Female:        It is.

Michelle:        Oh, we all look the same – we all – but, you know, it’s not.

[Laughter]

Michelle:        I mean, it’s not.  When it gets right down to it it’s like-

Audience Member:    The Asian gang.

Michelle:        Right, we’re the Asian, and look at us.

Audience Member:    There are four of us.

Michelle:    Whoo, we all have bobs.

[Laughter]

Michelle:    Right.  But you know, it really is, if you think about it, it’s offensive.  We’re not even from – you know, our parents aren’t from the same country.

Karen Walrond:    Right.

Female:    Right.

Karen Walrond:    _____ the same age as-

Michelle:    Did you look at me?

Stefania Butler:    _____ different types of Asians.

Michelle:    Right.  Right.  

[Laughter]

Michelle:    That’s like well do these people look at you and do they know, or do they just automatically say, “Oh, dark skin; you must be Heather,” you know?

Karen Walrond:    I think that is – I think that’s exactly what they do.  I mean, I think it’s sort of like, “Oh, you’re kind of”-

Michelle:    But we lighten it up.

Karen Walrond:    -“we kind of know your blog, and you’re Black, so you must be” fill in the blank, right?

Michelle:    Right.  Exactly.  And it becomes such a generalization.  And we, you know, make light of it, “Ha ha ha, that’s so funny, we all look the same.”  But really sometimes I just want to say, “Did you look at me?”

Female:    Yeah.

Kelly Wickham:    Yeah, good point.  Thank you.

Kelly Wickham:    We had that conversation with Lisa Stone yesterday and she was like, “Oh my god.”

Heather Barmore:    She was horrified.

Kelly Wickham:    She was horrified.  She was like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that.”  And she knows us all, you know, very well, ‘cause we’ve all-

Female:    Write for her, or have.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah, we’ve all written for BlogHer at some point.

Kelly Wickham:    And so, but yeah, she was just like, “Oh my gosh, really?”  And I was like, “Yeah, it’s kind of funny, but not really.”

Karen Walrond:    Yeah.

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    Okay.  Oh my god, I wasn’t expecting this.  Wait, I saw that Alana – do you have a question, Alana?

Alana:    Yeah.  It’s more of a comment.  My name’s Alana and I blog at LetterB and I’m also Momku on Twitter.  But-

Kelly Wickham:    Genius, by the way.  

Female:    That is genius.  That’s awesome.

Alana:    Oh, I paid her to say that.

[Laughter]

Female:    I’m sponsored by Momku.

[Laughter]

Alana:    Check’s in the mail.

What I’m hearing at BlogHer this year, you know, I’m hearing in all the different sessions a lot of trends that are kind of coming together.  One is that the switch of dollars, advertising dollars to, you know, they’re starting really to point, trying to figure out what to do with the general media and where to put all these dollars, even in this post-recession.  And also, for lack of a better term, and let’s please come up with a better term, but this post-racial-

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    I just want somebody to define that for me.  What does that mean, without race?

Alana:    What I mean is exactly what was already brought up about this new era of post-President Obama, which is a seed change.  It’s a seed change, and I think that it hits the marketing world and the PR world of what do we do, period.  Like what are we doing, period?  Like there’s just that this is really a period in time where everything is in flux, and I think that everybody gets caught up in the fluctuation, and I think that marketers and PRs are trying very hard to figure it out, just like everybody else is trying to figure out, you know, what is this new media, what is this new world that we’re in.

Karen Walrond:    Do you ever get the feeling though that maybe they’re overthinking it just a bit too much?

Alana:    Oh, absolutely.  Absolutely.  

Karen Walrond:    Like it’s like do you really have to think about whether or not this goes to 18-year-olds who are blonde with blue eyes and may have like a Black friend?  You know what I mean?  You know what I mean?  

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    You know, like don’t you ever think it’s like, you know what, just think who – think of everybody you think of who might use your product, and then go forth and market.  You know what I mean?  Like it doesn’t – like the whole thing is like, “We don’t know what to do with you.  We don’t know how to” – like I don’t get it.  Like is it really – we have some of our non-White, I mean non-color – the people, women of color category.

Heather Barmore:    White.

Karen Walrond:    We have our White counterparts here.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    Like really, you know, I was trying to like-

Heather Barmore:    I love you people.

Karen Walrond:    I know.

Kelly Wickham:    I have White friends.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    No, but seriously, like is it, like why would it – what would be different about approaching me than it would be approaching Susan Wagoner?  You know, like I’m trying to figure out, like do you think that I’m going to like talk about civil rights?

[Laughter]

[Crosstalk]

Karen Walrond:    What is it that you think that’s going to happen?  Do you think I’m going to say something and I’m-

Alana:    No, but that’s what I mean, is that you guys are talking about how you have such diverse audiences, is that that is an old way of thinking, is that if you’re Black then you only have a Black audience, if you’re Asian you’re only talking to Asians, you know.  And you guys have these incredibly diverse, rich communities around your writing, and I think that that is part of this change in the digital media, that this is not – it is not the old game anymore, and that marketers just are behind the curve.  They are behind the curve.

Heather Barmore:    No, I will say thought that sometimes – and Stefania can attest to this I’m sure – that sometimes companies are like, “I am looking very specifically for a woman from 18 to 22, who is, you know, 50,000 page views a month.”  They get very specific.  

Kelly Wickham:    But it’s because they’re narrowing their focus and they’re making it too hard.

Heather Barmore:    Yeah, they’re narrowing their focus, but yeah, like Susan recently asked me that question, she’s like, “You know, ‘cause sometimes they’re looking for these very specific things,” and I’m like, “Okay, you know, but I have a wide audience, you know, no matter,” but they don’t think that, because they are looking for very, very, very specific things.  Like a mom with three kids, one has to be a boy.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah, and that’s true.  No, that’s very true.

Heather Barmore:    And it’s like crazy the things that they think of.  But like I said, everybody Swiffers.

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    Alana, I will say this, I really like the term that you used, you know, it’s a seed change, and I’m-

Karen Walrond:    I love post-Obama.

Kelly Wickham:    -I’m going to try to say post-racial without throwing up.

Karen Walrond:    So post-Obama.  I like post-Obama.  That’s what it should be.

Kelly Wickham:    Post-Obama.  But I think part of it, what is happening is we are having a dialogue, we’re talking about race more than ever before in this country, and it is about damn time.  And I think that that has now come into play in what it is that we’re doing with digital media and what we’re doing online.  And I think you’re right; they’re behind the curve.  And we’re all going, “Could you guys catch up?”

Karen Walrond:    There’s so many questions; this is awesome.

Heather Barmore:    I didn’t think this would happen.  This woman right here.  Hi.

Jessica Smith:    I am Jessica Smith with JessicaKnows.com, and I recently went over to the PR side from being a blogger.

Female:    I’m sorry.

Jessica Smith:        The dark side.  

Karen Walrond:    No, we know more PR people who know about blogging.  That’s a good thing.

Jessica Smith:    Well, and I like what you said about overthinking it, because for me, as a marketer and PR person, it’s all about influence, and it’s not just about those demographics that the blogger is; it’s also who you’re influencing.  And there’s a lot of women in this room of all different colors that have had a huge influence on me, and I don’t really think about the color of the skin, and I never have growing up.  But I grew up in Washington, D.C. and-

Audience:    Whoo!

Female:    Dang.

Jessica Smith:    Well not – the suburbs.  

Female:    Dang.  D.C. and Trinidad is in the house.  Whoo.

Jessica Smith:    But, yes, I’m about to go over to the West Coast though.  No, but I think it’s real important – that’s why I came here today, because I wanted to hear this discussion, because it is a conversation that needs to be had.  But it doesn’t have to be overthought; it’s just let’s just, you know, be the melting pot that our country has been for-

[Crosstalk]

Karen Walrond:    Okay, I’m going to say something to that, and then pink sweater, and then the Trini-

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    -and then woman in the striped shirt, woman with the dark hair, Megan, and then woman in the white shirt.  Okay.

Audience Member:    _____ white shirt, and then _____ White woman.

Female:    Yeah, then the woman.  

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    What was I going to say?  Conversation _____ ______-

Karen Walrond:    Pink shirt gets to go now.  You lost it.

Heather Barmore:    I don’t remember.  I was going to respond to that, but I don’t remember.  Oh no, I was talking to Justine back there – Hi, Justine – from BrandAboutTown.  Great, great, great company to work with, but we were talking about this yesterday, about how they’re looking for people who have influence.  It doesn’t mean that you have to have a certain number of readers; they just want a certain amount of influence.  And she’s had people coming up to her this entire time like, “Oh, I would be really good at giving away a Wii.  I have this many number of readers and” da da da da da, and they’re giving her all of their stats, you know, age, weight, social security number, and she’s like, “That doesn’t matter to me.  I want people who have influence, who, you know, I can say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this going on’ and we’re not going to like,” I don’t know – we’re good at telling people – we’re good at telling people, I don’t know, by word of mouth.

Kelly Wickham:    Right.  My name is not just always product and giveaway things.  Like my influence will be in education; I’m an assistant principal in a high school.  And I would love to, you know, do things – it doesn’t always have to benefit for me.

Karen Walrond:    Exactly right.

Kelly Wickham:    I don’t have to get something for free.  I want to do – I want to have some kind of integrity here.  And if that means that my influence means that ten people in this room this fall go read to a kindergarten student for 30 minutes, then that’s my influence, and I’m happy with that.  

[Applause]

Karen Walrond:    Pink sweater?

Kelly Wickham:    Pink sweater.

Jennifer:    Okay.  Pink sweater, AKA Jennifer.  BabyMakingMachine is my blog.  

[Laughter]

Jennifer:    And I’ve made no babies.  The machine has-

[Laughter]

Jennifer:    -has not been turned in for service yet.  But my question for you all is I think one thing that I’ve noticed – I started blogging late last year, and one thing that I’ve kind of noticed around the blogosphere as far as African American bloggers, bloggers of color, it seems as though marketers go – there are a few predominant bloggers in that aspect that they seem to go to, you know, over and over again, but it’s kind of like, you know, you can spread the wealth; it’s not like those are the only ones, you know.  

So how do you think we can overcome that?  You know, is it just approaching them, or do – ‘cause I kind of see it as we already have, you know, we’re filling our quota.  Or, you know, this is the big – but it’s like, you know, there are so many bloggers out there, and, you know, why go to the same ones all the time?  How do you think, you know, you can change that?

Heather Barmore:    Yeah, absolutely.  

Audience Member:    Jessica ____ ______.

Heather Barmore:    Joe.

Kelly Wickham:    I love this.

Joe:    My name’s Joe.  I’m from Burrell Communications, which is an African American advertising agency.

Kelly Wickham:    Huh?

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    Who knew?  

Joe:    ______ face ____ around.

Karen Walrond:    Who knew?

[Laughter]

Joe:    Yeah, I work for the man.

[Laughter]

Joe:    It’s a company run by two African American women.  But yeah, I like to joke that I’m the token, because I’m the token Web guy.  I was very ____ about the Web, and so my initiative now is to actually do what you’re asking, which is to create an outreach for our brands to African American bloggers.  And I think, to answer some of the questions you guys had before about how come you’ve never been approached, how come people don’t know what to do with you, is that in general advertising they’ve always come to Burrell or some of our competitors, which aren’t good.

Heather Barmore:    Never mind them.

Joe:    So we have targeted ads and we have targeted this and targeted that, and they go to the targeted.  But people like us have never gotten budgets to go out and do a social media campaign or a blogger campaign.

Female:    That’s interesting.

Joe:    And now, because you know, the general market is starting to have some success with this, we can actually go in and get some money for this.  So if you could all stop by and get my card and give me yours, you know, hopefully in the next six months to a year I can start reaching out to you when we’ve got something that you’ll be interested in, we think you’re interested in.

And also I want it to be two ways; I want you to be able to tell me, “Hey, don’t you guys work on Toda,” or “Don’t you work on this Proctor & Gamble brand?  Hey, I have an idea.”  I want to work with you.  I want to hear that, because I know that I can’t do everything and I won’t figure out everything.  And part of coming here wasn’t just to get the word out about this, but to listen to what you guys have to say.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah, thank you.  Thank you very much.  That’s great.

Kelly Wickham:    Yes, thank you.

Karen Walrond:    And then her and then you.  Trini, go.

Stacey:            Hi.  Stacey/Justice Fergie from Mamalaw and Blogalicious.

Audience:        Woo hoo!

Stacey:    Great panel, by the way.  Really quick on that point of are they overthinking it, and just go forth and market, and then also to Joe’s point, we’re really trying to figure out if PR firms having an African American boutique firm is a good thing or a bad thing.  

Audience Member:    Or Latina.

Stacey:    Why can’t-  

[Laughter]

Stacey:    Yeah, that too.  But why can’t it be a PR firm who reaches everyone?  Why is it if I contact a PR firm or they contact me, “Oh, let me direct you to our diversity branch” or our “multicultural office” or, you know, is that a good thing or a bad thing, and how do you all feel about that?

Kelly Wickham:    Here’s how I feel about it.

Stacey:    That has no budget.

Kelly Wickham:    Right.  I feel like they have been unintentionally exclusive, which has hurt us.  And if they’re not thinking about it, I feel like that’s-

Karen Walrond:    You mean minority businesses?

Kelly Wickham:    Correct.  Right.  That, you know, if you’re not really actively going out there and really thinking about what you’re doing, then you’re actually going to marginalize a group of people.  It will happen every time.  So when I think that people want to go out there and be leaders, I think, you know, you’re going to have to think about everything where that’s concerned.

And to be perfectly honest, if I go to a Web site – or not necessarily a blog, but if I go to some product and what I’m looking at is, you know, it’s a – we were talking about it the other day, it’s all on babies.  I don’t have babies, but I’m going to check out this site, okay?  I’m going to see what you have.  And there’s pictures of mothers and their babies, and they’re nursing and they’re pushing in strollers, and they were all White, I’m clicking off.  Okay?  I’m not going to read anymore, because you didn’t even consider that I’m a mother too.  And when you leave me out that way, I am not going to support you either.

Karen Walrond:    And you know what I think is also very interesting, ‘cause we talked about this before, was like I notice things like when they are – like when they are very inclusive.  Like I went recently – have you guys gone to see the movie Up?  Like I walked out of there and went, “That little boy was Asian, wasn’t he?”  Right?  Or like Syd the Science Kid, his parents are an interracial couple.  I like, I’m drawn to that.  Like I – I mean I don’t – I was telling Stefania, right, my grandmother is Chinese, but I don’t self-identify as Asian, but, and it still moved me that Up, it had nothing to do with race, it had nothing to do with that, but they thought, “Why don’t we do that?”  And I think that marketing can be that way, right?

    Like I think marketers can go, “You know, when I design this site or when I design this stuff and I’m trying to appeal to a broad audience, why not put people in – you know, put the stock photography people that look like the kinds of people that might be using a computer and let’s say, “What would they look like?”

Stefania Butler:    Can I just-?

Female:    Go ahead.

Stefania Butler:    I just wanted to paraphrase too on something that Elisa Camahort Page, one of the founders of BlogHer, says, and it’s that “If diversity matters to you, whatever you do” – you’re a PR firm, you’re a marketing firm, you’re a blogging conference – “you will seek it out.  And if you can’t seek it out, if you hit a roadblock, you will ask for help, and you will go to that community and ask for help.  You will seek out those leaders and make it inclusive.”

Karen Walrond:    And I think too, all of this, that maybe as bloggers ourselves, and as we put our own images and things on our own sites, that maybe we also think about broadening our audiences as well.  Right?    Just something to think about.  And maybe that – you know, like you say, it’s a two-way street.

Audience Member:    And I just wanted to comment to what Stacey said, and I never said where I was from; I started Mom Noir, which is a site for women of color that are moms.  And we’ve since evolved that because we had started, I wanted to just target Black women, but now that we thought about it more and it’s all women of color, it’s going to be Sun-Kissed Mommy, and we launch in September.

Karen Walrond:    Sun-Kissed Mommy?  Sun-Kissed.

Heather Barmore:    Ah, I love that.  I love it.

Audience Member:    Sun-Kissed Mommy, ‘cause we’re kissed by the sun, so.

[Laughter]

Audience Member:    But what I do – I don’t know if I – I play devil’s advocate all the time, but I don’t really know if this is devil’s advocate.  I do think that PR firms and advertisers should diversify, because we’re different.  I don’t do time-outs when I raise my kids, like I don’t do it.

Audience Member:    I think ____ ______ Trini.

Audience Member:    No, I think-

Karen Walrond:    Yeah, but I’m a Trini, and I do time-outs.

Audience Member:    Right.  So see, it’s not Trinidadian, it’s just I think – but we do do things differently, so I do think we should be marketed to differently.  We don’t do the same thing, and that’s what makes us great and that what makes it there’s a difference.  So you need to have people, I guess, that know how to reach us and how to switch it up.  And I think bloggers should do the same thing.  Just like – your name is Joe?

Joe:    Yeah.

Audience Member:    Like Joe said, if you know that, you know – if we see that a marketer is pitching, you know, one product to two bloggers, you contact that marketer and say, “Well this is how I do things on my blog, so I would like to work the same product, but not the same way.  I’m not doing that giveaway like that; let’s do it this way,” and, you know, reach out to-

Audience Member:    But if ______ really _____ the larger brand and firm, if they’re just throwing their request for the multicultural blogger to their little boutique agency that doesn’t have the resources to do what the larger firm can do.  

Karen Walrond:    Okay, interesting.

Audience Member:    Sometimes.  

Heather Barmore:    All right, I’m going to get like a whole bunch of questions then.  You’re third.  No, you’re second.  Oh wait, stripes.  

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    [Laughs]  Stripes.

Audience Member:    After _____ _____.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    It’s so pretty.  It’s pretty.

Kim:    Hi, I’m Kim.  I’m from HormoneColoredDays, and I-

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    I love these names.  

Kim:    I wrote an article for Media Post, which is read by a lot of marketing and PR folks, about the lack of diversity at BlogHer retreats.  And I interviewed several women who are in the room right now.  I have to say I felt a little self-conscious writing it, thinking like, “Well, I’m really White and maybe this shouldn’t be coming from me,” because it was really spurned by comments that Stefania and Kelly made two years ago at BlogHer.  Where’s Liz?

    Oh, there she is.  Okay.  So in a discussion, Liz and I talked about this when I interviewed her, and she really impressed upon me my role as a White woman, that if I’m invited to a BlogHer retreat I need to speak up and make sure there are women of color also invited, and if there are not then I can’t go, or I shouldn’t go.  And so I just want to make that appeal.  I know there’s some really popular White women in here.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    It’s like it’s all a bad name.  It’s all like a bad word.

Kim:    You know, you get invited to a lot of things, and you know, we need to – that needs to be top-of-mind for us; we do need to be speaking out about that and encouraging more diversity, because I’m not going to come across as an angry – you know, I’m not going to be an angry White woman; they’ll be like, “Oh, okay.”

[Laughter]

Kim:    And, you know, sadly that, you know, that has – I have a power that, you know, Liz has written on her blog about being an angry Black woman.  You know, it’s not fair, but I am going to be – my message is going to come across in a different way.  So I just encourage everyone to speak out.

Karen Walrond:    That’s interesting.  Great point.

Heather Barmore:    Um, Megan.  No.  Yeah, Megan.  Yeah.

Megan Smith:    Okay.  I write for BlogHer.  I’m the TV and online video editor, and I also write for MegansMinute.com.  Sorry – _____.

    Okay, I’m Megan Smith.  I write for BlogHer; I’m the contributing editor for TV and online video, and I also have my own blog, Megan’s Minute.  I cover entertainment.  I don’t just cover, for example, Black entertainment, but I cover general entertainment, but I also try and focus on Black women, because I’m always interested in Black women’s images in the media.  

And I wanted to play a little bit of devil’s advocate also in terms of one thing I think will happen is if White marketers approach us, I think there’s probably, and I’m just guessing, a fear there that no matter how they approach us, they’re going to be accused of, “Oh, you’re being racist.  Oh, you’re treating us the wrong way.”  Because you know what, we’re all different; we’re all going to react differently.  Just like you raise your child one way, you raise your child another way.  I think there needs to be an understanding among the marketers that no, we’re not all urban, we’re not all suburban, we’re not all rich, we’re not all poor; we’re just like White women, we’re across the board.  

And there’s just been that – before there’s just been that focus on just urban Black people, that’s it.  That’s all you are.  That’s who you are.  And now that they’ve seen that there’s this whole range of Black women out there, they don’t know what to do.  So I think – my question is what else do we need to do as bloggers to understand where they’re coming from and know how to react, even if they fumble and mess up and, you know, they’re coming at us, trying to find out information?  What else can we be doing, as professionals, to deal with professional PR people?

Kelly Wickham:    I think you used the right term there, and that’s professional.  I think we need to treat it as a professional relationship, because that’s exactly what it is.  And there are times I have been approached and I’ve said, “I actually don’t have time for this, although I believe in it.”  Someone asked me a couple of years ago to help out with a political blog, and I said, “I just can’t devote the time to it,” and I put out a call out on my blog, you know, ‘They’re looking for a woman of color who would be willing to contribute to this.”  

Megan Smith:        Absolutely.

Kelly Wickham:    I think part of the – I mean, and that to me is a professional relationship, “I can’t handle this.  Would you like to take this over?”

Megan Smith:    Yes.

Karen Walrond:    And I think also to that point, I think there’s something about, you know, tiptoeing around the whole race thing.

Megan Smith:    Yes.  Yeah.

Karen Walrond:    And like I participate on an online video show called Momversation.com, and when they called – they approached me, and I thought it was so brilliant the way that he did it; he actually got – he asked some other people, “Do you have any ideas of who we can invite for more panelists?”  And so he called me and he said, “I’m Robin from Momversation.com, and Kristen told me to call you,” and he goes, “and can I just be frank with you?”  I go, “Yeah,” he goes, “So I’m the producer of Momversation.com, and I’m sick of looking at White girls,” so he said.  But then he went on and he said, “So what I’d like to do, if you’re interested, is we’ll try you out as a guest speaker for a couple of times, and if you have chemistry with the women, people respond to you and stuff like that, we’ll bring you on.”  Now that was great, because one, it didn’t make me feel like a token, because he said, “You’ve got to prove to me that you can do it,” but secondly, it was so frank.  Right?  It was just so, “Look, we need more diversity on the panel,” right?

Megan Smith:    Be upfront.

Karen Walrond:    “But we ain’t just going to get anybody,” right?  “So we’re going to be looking at” – he said, “We’re looking at you and a couple of other people,” you know, “and we’re going to see how you guys work out.  And we may just pick one, we may pick you all, but this is what we’re doing.”  

    And it was so – it was, one, so frank, and two, so pure of heart.  If you don’t understand what I’m saying, it wasn’t about filling that quota, filling that thing, we just don’t care, just so long as there’s a Black face on there, that’s a good thing.  And so I think that’s a lot of it, right?  And for me, when he said it, like of course there could have been a, “So all you want is a Black face?” like a ______, but I knew exactly.  And so there’s a meeting, right, that you have to do, like you-

Megan Smith:        Exactly.  Exactly.

Karen Walrond:    The professionalism.  Like you’re like – and so when he said that, he goes, “I’m sick of looking at” – and I said, “Well, you know what, I do diversity very well.”  And so we worked into that, and it’s been one of the best gigs I’ve ever had, so it worked out really well.

Megan Smith:    And just one final comment too, it’s like, you know, people weren’t sending me screeners to watch TV shows and stuff.  I started to say – you know, I started to find out who do I contact for PR at CW, etc., “I happen to like this show.  Can you send me a screener?  I write for my site on entertainment.”  Some ignored me and some said, “Oh yeah, let me put you on our mailing list.”  So it’s like we also have to approach them and do it in a way that’s professional and explain who we are.

Karen Walrond:    Make the effort, yeah.  Absolutely.

Megan Smith:    And also, you know, not be so worried about making that approach.

Female:    Right.

Heather Barmore:    You know, I’m really glad that people are bringing up the whole you have to put yourself out there as well, because from our perspective, we all started blogging just for the sake of writing.  We liked to write and that was it.  And then the PR started to happen slowly, and then it kind of, you know, came this crescendo.  And we were still like, we like to write, but, you know, we’ll do stuff if it resonates with our audience.  You know, I know that my audience – you know, who doesn’t want a Wii?

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    Of course, you know, I’ll take that, I guess, if you’re going to make me.  But, you know, we were all – you know, that’s what we like to do.  And so we were never like, “Oh, we’re going to put our” – we were never people who were like, “We’re going to put ourselves out there,” and I think that’s part of that generational gap of bloggers who started in 2007-2008, they’re like, “Okay, well I really want to do this.  I’m going to put myself out there.”

Kelly Wickham:    ‘Cause I could make money doing this.

Heather Barmore:    “I want to make money.”  Whereas we’re like we just like to write, and if you offer us something, you know, we kind of want you to come to us, because then you know that we do have that influence and we do just like to write, and we’ll always be here writing.  So if you want to do something, sure, but make sure that you do it in the right way; make sure you approach us in the right way.

    Okay, yes.  You.

Stephanie Smirnoff:    I’m from the dark side; I’m public relationships.  Hey, Jessica.  I’m Stephanie Smirnoff.  That gets me _____.  I work at a mid-sized agency, PR agency in New York.  I’m also a blogger, so I do kind of know what’s going on just a little bit.

Female:    Awesome.

Stephanie Smirnoff:    But one of the things that I wanted to say, and it’s uncomfortable to say it, but what we’re faced with – and we’re kind of a general market agency, and I can’t tell you how many times, knowing that our clients have wanted to target a particular, you know, multicultural demographic, that we’ve said, “We can do that work, because it’s a mom you want to reach, and whether she’s, you know, an Asian-American mom or a Latina mom, we can – we know how to talk to moms.”  And there’s, among some of our clients there’s an assumption that if your PR firm doesn’t look like your target consumer they shouldn’t do the work.

    And I know there may be some validity there, but I’m hearing all of this conversation and this acknowledgment of how diverse your readerships actually are, and the fact that at the end of the day, why should, you know, reaching out in public relations programs to women of a particular ethnicity be a specialty?  And in our industry that’s typically what’s happened, so you have specialty firms, the same way you might have a specialty firm that does SEO.  There’s this specialty shop that only talks to African American women.  

And it’s such an uncomfortable thing to talk about; I can’t even tell you.  And you go into meetings with marketers and it’s like, “We’re all White in the room.  We need somebody of color in the room.”  And it’s just – and I’m telling you the truth because I am all for let’s just be honest and transparent and frank about this stuff, because otherwise it’s going to continue to be awkward and tiptoe-ey.  So it’s just another view and a challenge from the PR side, is that very often agencies that want to be talking to you guys, we’re not given the assignments because the assumptions is we can’t because we don’t look like you.

Female:        Right.

Karen Walrond:    Wow.  That’s so interesting.

Heather Barmore:    That is very interesting.

Karen Walrond:    Isn’t that?

Heather Barmore:    Okay.  Oh, black shirt.

Audience Member:    I actually work with one of those _____.  Yay!

Heather Barmore:    Okay, no I won’t – a lot of people have their hands up.

Kelly Wickham:    All in the back.  Can I say something before she gets to you, which goes back to what you were talking about?  You know, I did this because I wanted to write.  I already have a full-time job.  I can’t write five days a week anymore.  I mean, I did when I first started.  But my other issue is that there’s really no amount of me wearing a t-shirt and stretching your logo across my tits is going to make me a better writer.

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    So in some ways I really – I don’t need you.  I really don’t.  And if I’m not going to get it, that’s fine.  But I also feel a responsibility.  I’m sorry.

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    I know, right.  Like there goes my day job.  I know.

Karen Walrond:    She’s an educator.  Did you get that part too?

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    Put me in charge.  You go ahead.  You go ahead, ‘cause I’m going to _______.

Audience Member:    Sorry to be the spastic kid.  I had a lot of coffee this morning.

    What I just wanted to say, I love what you said last night, as a daughter of a Mexican Catholic and an Orthodox Romanian Jew growing up was a little weird.  I’m so tired of people trying to define, like, “Oh, you’re not Mexican.  You’re not Jewish.”  I’m like, “No, I’m freaking both.  I got Hanukah and I got Christmas.”

[Laughter]

Female:    I got to talk.

Audience Member:    And I am also from the dark side; I work for Rocket Excelware, and Victoria does too.

Female:    Right.  Welcome.

Audience Member:    We’re a social media marketing company, and I do think there needs to be some specialization.  I worked in traditional advertising my life, Latino advertising, and I can only speak as a Latina; I do live a different life and my culture is a little bit differently.  So people, at least I think, reaching out to me in that specific way is important.  And I can’t speak for other ethnicities.

    But I just want to say also, when we’re reaching out to you guys, please just be honest, hit us back.  If you don’t like what we’re saying, just let us know, because I think, at least in marketing, we’re all still learning.  You know, we’ve been around for six years, but we’re like blog freak lovers.  We do read-

[Laughter]

Audience Member:    This is like heaven for Victoria especially.  I mean we do a lot of research, at least we do.  I mean, I would never send you a ponytail holder; that’s just stupid.

[Laughter]

Audience Member:    So at least some of us are trying.  We’re trying really hard.  We do our research, you know.  We know you have a huge influential audience; we can see your sites linking in, you know, we’re looking up uniques.  So I just think it’s incredible that some people just don’t get that.

    But if we hit you up and you don’t like it, please, just hit us back and let us know that what we’re saying is wrong or stupid, so we can all learn.

Female:    Beautiful.  Good point.

Audience Member:    And also pass us on.  Pass us on to your friends.  That’s how we find more blogs.  Share the love, because we’re constantly looking for people to work with and people that want to work with us.  So share the love.

Heather Barmore:    Yeah.  Okay.  Wow, I was not expecting this many people to have questions.

Karen Walrond:    How are we doing on time?  Can somebody tell us what time it is?

Heather Barmore:    Yeah, can somebody tell us what time it is?

Audience Member:    It’s 20 to 12:00.

Audience Member:    11:40.

Heather Barmore:    Okay, 20 minutes.  Alana, you will be my timekeeper.  

    Okay.  Yes, you.  Yeah, with the-

Katelyn:    Hi.  I’m Katelyn.

Female:    Hi, Katelyn.

Katelyn:    I also work in an online marketing agency, but I’m also a blogger.  But kind of to go on her point, I don’t know how well specialty would work, only because I remember at the Mom 2.0 Summit someone brought up about they’re a mom and they only want to be pitched to by moms, and people that do auto blogs only want to be pitched to by auto people.  To me it just keeps breaking down even more, and I am like I am not a mom, but I love the moms that I work with, and hopefully most of them love me too.  Like that I’m approaching them well, and I’m like I think it just take a little bit of research, not necessarily.  Yes, I’m half-Black and half-White, so maybe I’ve got that advantage, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t approach a Hispanic or an Asian woman and work with them.  So I just – I don’t really see that kind of specialty as fully necessary.  Like I see it’s understandable, but then where do you stop breaking it down is kind of what I’m saying.

Karen Walrond:    Right.  That’s a good point.

Heather Barmore:    All right, pink hair.

Karen Walrond:    Pink hair?

[Laughter]

Eliza Sherman:    _______ is pink.

[Laughter]

Eliza Sherman:    I’m a Mexican Jew.

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    Another Mexican Jew.  

Eliza Sherman:    My name is Eliza Sherman, and I founded Cyber Girl and Web Girls way back in the dark ages.  And I now have the sexy title of “social media marketing consultant.”  I have some money to offer some of the people here in the room, but first – I don’t personally; a client does.  But first I think what’s really hard for us social media marketers or Internet consultants, which was my moniker a year ago, that, first of all, we’re trying to teach our clients the right way to use the technology as simply a tool for entering conversations, for respectfully engaging all of us.  So that’s a first lesson, because they say, “I want a Twitter page, I want a Facebook page, and I want this and this and this.”  And we’re like, “Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  What are you trying to achieve?”

    The second piece of it is the segmentation, the old way of thinking, of divvying up the market, which we’re all talking about here.  So that’s the second lesson as well.  So here I feel I’m more of an expert on technology and the way the Internet works, having been online since ’87, I feel like I’ve lived it, but I don’t feel I’m very good at it.  And this points to you.  I’m perceived as White.  I feel pretty White.  My mom is Mexican.  I wish I felt that side more, but I don’t, and I feel incredibly awkward, because yes, I look around and I’m going, “Oh my god, my company is all White chicks and one White guy.”  

So will this company – and it’s a new company that we’re going to start working with, really think we can do it, because I doubt I can.  And all I know is it’s about respect, authenticity, a dialogue between us, because I have a lot to learn.

Karen Walrond:    I think we’re done.  I think we’re done.  That’s sort of the point, right?

Kelly Wickham:    Wrap it up.

Eliza Sherman:    Let me just – I want to offer the money, but also a little tip.  As a marketer doing deep research by going in and truly reading blogs and going in your archives and truly trying to get the vibe, it helps me if you have a page, if you want to be marketed to, that just is like a magazine has their, “If you want to advertise with us, here’s our demographic or who we feel our audience is, who is we’re hoping to reach.  Here’s who I’d love to promote,” and then I can say, “Oh yeah, she wants to promote the new fragrance by Apple Bottoms.”  If any of you are familiar with that, I had never heard of this brand before.

Female:    There’s a fragrance coming out from Apple Bottoms?

Eliza Sherman:    But they are willing to sponsor conferences, spend money on blogs, offer product, but I’m sitting here going, “Everyone I’ve spoken to so far, they’re like ‘What?  That brand?’”

Kelly Wickham:    I don’t want my fragrance to have the word “bottom” in it.

[Laughter]

Kelly Wickham:    Tell them that.  It’s weird.

Eliza Sherman:    So anyway, the point being is that some of us are here with people with money, and if you are looking to connect, make it clear that you would like that.

Heather Barmore:    Okay.

Karen Walrond:    Thank you.  Let’s move on.  Let’s move on.

Heather Barmore:    Okay, we need to move on.  Okay, you, ‘cause you’ve had your arm.  And then maybe Jeremy.

Karen Walrond:    I think she wanted to respond to that actually.

Female:    Okay.

Melanie:    I’m Melanie from MelodramaticMommy.com, and I just wanted to say to the PR people who are saying, “Oh, we’re not going to get the job ‘cause our offices are all White,” whatever.  I don’t know, I can’t speak for any of the other women here, but I can’t tell you how many people I know who would love to add the title of social media consultant to their title.  So if you need – if your office is all White and you don’t feel like you’re going to get the job, call me, I will help you.

Kelly Wickham:    Diversify your offices.

Karen Walrond:    Diversify through contractors.

Melanie:    I will help you sit in – I will charge you an hourly rate to just ask me.  If you want to know, just ask me.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah.  Yeah.

Melanie:    So there’s a lot of people here who would love to diversify beyond blogging and beyond giving away stuff.  Ask me myself.  Ask me personally how I can help you.  And then he’s got a really good question.

Heather Barmore:    I know.  I know.  

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    Well no, you first, and then Jeremy.

Carol:    This will just be – this’ll be quick.

Female:    I thought you left?

[Laughter]

Carol:    Hi.  I’m Carol, NYCityMama.  And I actually – I didn’t know the term post-racial or whatever it was.  I didn’t know the term, but I can say that I’ve actually started to feel it within the past few months in the fact that, you know, I’m Latina and I write about travel.  So I actually struggled a little bit, ‘cause the travel thing is over there, but I, you know, whatever, so I came here.

Female:    We won.

Carol:    Yeah.  But this is my plea and, you know – this is my plea, that I’ve actually started feeling that whole trend coming on, with marketers trying to target women with color, because I’ve actually been told, “Hey, we love your blog.  We love you, whatever,” but, you know, can you maybe sound a little bit more Latina?”

Karen Walrond:    No.  Stop it.

Carol:    And it’s – you know, so I’ve actually been in the situations where I’ve actually gone back-

Female:    What?

Carol:    No, but it’s happening.  It’s happening.

Female:    That’s absurd.

Carol:    It’s happening, because these specialists-

Female:    Who is that?  We need to know?

Carol:    No, but I mean this is the problem; these specialized departments are going to want you to sound Black or sound whatever.  And I guess maybe-

Karen Walrond:    Which really means they want you to perpetuate a stereotype.

Kelly Wickham:    Didn’t I talk about this last night?

Carol:    And I guess maybe I sound White, because only White people travel.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah, we know.  Yeah.

[Laughter]

Carol:    But, you know, the thing is I know that, you know, I have a big attitude, I have a big mouth, and it will come across, ‘cause my writing is kind of like storytelling.  I have a White husband, I have biracial children.

Karen Walrond:    We could talk.

Carol:    You know, it comes across if I go to Montana and they’re only serving potatoes, I’m probably going to talk about it.  But at the same time, I’m not going to Montana with the fact that, you know, I’m Dominican.  So I’m going to write about a lot of things – I don’t know, how I write, you know, which I think I write great.  Sorry.

[Laughter]

Carol:    But I’m just saying that please, please, please when you – I want to – my goal, my dream is to work for the travel channel as the first Latina woman ever.  

[Applause]

Carol:    Right?  That’s my dream.  And I do have that as a target, but at the same time, I don’t want to be approached and be asked to, “Please sound more Latina,” or “Can you incorporate a little bit of your Latina point of view into your travels?” or whatever.  Because I’ve had situations where-

Kelly Wickham:    What does that mean?

Carol:    I don’t know.  I don’t know.

Kelly Wickham:    What does that mean?

Carol:    I’ve had situations-

Kelly Wickham:    I think we have a responsibility to respond back to them with that.  I think we need to put it back on people and say, “What does that mean?  Can you please explain that?  What does that sound like?  What does that look like?”

Heather Barmore:    That’s very funny, because I’m from Upstate New York, and that is the Whitest place in the world.  So naturally we’ll talk like this; this is how I talk, and people are always like, “You need to sound more Black,” and I’m like, “No, but this is – I’m from Upstate New York.  This is just how I talk.”

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    Well last night when I was talking and I told about that story about the executive who said, “Well Karen, you’re not really Black.”  And luckily I knew him well enough; I’d been working with him for like ten years, and I looked at him and said, “John, what the hell does that mean?”  Right?  And he like sort of backed off, and I’m like, “What does that mean?  What does that mean?”  Because you know that don’t mean something nice, right?  

Female:    Right.

Female:    Right.

Karen Walrond:    So I’m like, “What does that mean?” and he sort of started backpedaling and he said, “Well, what I meant was you’re not African American, ‘cause you’re history is not in America and you’re from the West Indies.”  And I let him off.

Female:    And we were like, “Bullshit.”

Karen Walrond:    I let him off, because my point – like I wasn’t going to sit there and – but I was like, “Think about what you just said there, my friend.”  Like, “What does that mean?  What kind of strange stereotype is going on in your head?”  

Audience Member:    I have an advantage because the mike is sitting right here, but I just wanted to jump to Kelly’s point and Karen’s point.

Heather Barmore:    No, Jeremy has to go.  

Audience Member:    I know, but I just wanted to say really quickly, instead of us sitting back and just allowing people to say things, it’s more important to call them on it as soon as it’s done.  If you wonder in your head, “What does it mean?” ask it.

Heather Barmore:    Yeah.  Right.  Jeremy.

Karen Walrond:    Jeremy.

Jeremy:    It’s just a really simple – okay, Jeremy Pepper at J.S. Pepper, and then the rest of the information is there.  Two years ago I got to sit next to Kelly at a panel at-

Kelly Wickham:    I didn’t scare you?

Jeremy:    No, you put-

Heather Barmore:    And Jeremy came back.

Jeremy:    This is my fourth BlogHer.  And no, you did actually punch me though, for something that somebody else said in the room, because I was the PR-

Kelly Wickham:    Have you seen my business card?

Jeremy:    ‘Cause I was the PR person in the room that she knew.  We had the same exact conversations.  Have we moved forward at all in even just the past two years?

Heather Barmore:    Yeah.  Okay.  Hey, that’s a very good way to end this.

Karen Walrond:    That’s a great segue.  Yeah.  Yeah.

Heather Barmore:    Okay.  I mean I – we’re going to go down the line.  You want me to start?

Karen Walrond:    Sure.

Kelly Wickham:    That’s fine.

Karen Walrond:    Sure.

Heather Barmore:    Okay.  Yes, I think that we have, because, you know, me as the non-mom single woman from Upstate New York, you know, I’m getting pitched to more now, and people are actually – they actually do read my site, or they meet me and they’re like, “I really would like for you to do this.  I think your audience would really like this,” and I’m like, “Oh yeah.  Sure.”  Or if I don’t – or if they’re looking for somebody else, I gladly pass them on, you know, pass along information.

    And I think I’m getting – I write a lot about business, and so I always – I’m always getting pitched, you know, “Please interview our CEO,” and I’m like – you know, I mean of like some random company, whatever, and then, “We’ve sent you a high-res picture, but not the product.”  Don’t do that.  

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    Send me the product.  But no, I get a lot of pitches, ‘cause I talk about J. Crew a lot, which is, you know, very White of me.

[Laughter]

Stefania Butler:    Not anymore.  Michelle Obama.

Heather Barmore:    And people – ‘cause now that Michelle Obama’s wearing J. Crew it’s like, “Oh, it’s fashionable.”

Karen Walrond:    Now it’s okay.

Heather Barmore:    Black people shop at J. Crew.

Karen Walrond:    These are J. Crew jeans.

Heather Barmore:    I’m wearing all J. Crew right now.

Karen Walrond:    Oh no you didn’t.  No she didn’t.

Heather Barmore:    I know.

[Laughter]

Audience Member:    Product placement.

Heather Barmore:    But – I know it’s product placement.  But I will say, but now people from J. Crew – you know, people from companies, they read your site and they’re like, “Oh, we know that you like J. Crew.  We know that you like wine,” you know, ‘cause you all – everybody – it’s true, everybody has-

Karen Walrond:    We all know you like wine, Heather.

Kelly Wickham:    Right, we know.  That is not a secret.

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    You know, we all have our little mini brands, and you don’t think that you have a brand.

Karen Walrond:    You have a brand.

Heather Barmore:    And I said this, and I wrote about this on BlogHer last week, and Maria, the first thing she said to me is she was like, “You know, when I think of NoPasaNada I think Heather B. and I think wine and J. Crew.”  And I’m like, “Thank you.”

Karen Walrond:    There it is.

Heather Barmore:    So I think that companies have started to come to me, even though I’m single – even though I’m single, and that is great, you know.  Just because – like I said, I Swiffer.

[Laughter]

Stefania Butler:    I think, yes, we are – we’ve come a long way in two years.  Two years ago I said that I got a ton of pitches for CityMama and nothing for KimchiMamas.  The goal is not to get more pitches; the goal is to raise awareness, and I think that by blogging this issue, as we have done, it has changed minds in PR and marketing agency and changed minds in those agencies.  And I just wanted to speak about Edelman for a second and Danielle Wiley.

Karen Walrond:    Oh, God bless Edelman.  Is anybody here from Edelman?

Heather Barmore:    We love Danielle Wiley.

Karen Walrond:    God bless Edelman.

Stefania Butler:    She requires that everyone on her staff read blogs and that they are a blogger themselves.

Heather Barmore:    And have Twitter accounts.

Stefania Butler:    And have Twitter accounts and all of that.  So you can’t go out and pitch if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you don’t know what your community is about.

    And I just wanted to add too that in terms of just talking about the differences in the kinds of blogs that are out there now, for KimchiMamas, we do not define success as we get 100 pitches a day or we have tons of advertising.  No, it’s that we can connect women, mothers who are connected to Korean culture in some way, and create a community around that.  That is success to us.  

Female:    Cool.

Kelly Wickham:    I think in direct answer to your question, Jeremy, we’re still having some of the same conversations, but that’s because we’re post-racial and we can talk about it now.

[Laughter]

Female:    Right.  Good point.

Kelly Wickham:    And I think that part of that has made it okay.  I think that there’s also a learning curve here.  There are people that are ahead of the curve, and I know that somebody just recently said, “So who is the biggest Black blogger?” and I was like, “I don’t know.”  Like I really don’t know.  I mean, I don’t really think about, you know, I don’t – in terms of who the biggest one is, I don’t even know if that’s really as important as, you know what, I feel like I do because I asked the question, and when I wrote that post and I said, “You know, I had my hand up and nobody answered my question,” and I wanted my question answered.  And I think that the fact that we’re here, in a room of your own, having this jam-packed room, I think yeah, we’ve come a long way and we’re moving forward.

    And I also have to say, I appreciate the BlogHer community, who when they were voting on this particular session as a room of your own, some of the women said, “Actually that should have just been a panel.”

Female:    Yeah, like-

Kelly Wickham:    Like this is so important that, you know what-

Female:    How is this not?  Right?

Kelly Wickham:    And so are we moving forward?  Yeah, we’re moving forward.  At the exact right speed?  Absolutely, because we’re all of us doing this together.  We’re all going to continue to make mistakes, we’re all going to continue to learn from them, God-willing, and you know what, and if what my role has to be as the person that went with a question unanswered two years ago, as somebody who needs to be a responsible leader, then I’m going to take that position on.  I feel like I don’t have a choice, and I feel like that’s what leadership does.  And if it means that I’m not getting all these pitches, but I am, as a reflector, just, you know, putting the mirror on all of these other different faces, then so be it, because it’s way past time we’ve had this conversation.

    And to that end, I am completely appreciative that you all are here.

Karen Walrond:    Yeah, absolutely.  

    From my perspective, my blog, Chookooloonks, is really – like I have – I don’t have ads on my site, and I really – I’ve pitched I think two things in the five years I’ve been blogging, right?  I’m not a big, huge pitch-type person.  But I will say – and both times it’s been working with Edelman.  And I will say that for me I think what made me attracted to Edelman and what makes Edelman attractive to me, if I can talk about that a little bit.  

One is that I am very, very – I am true to my message and to my brand on Chookooloonks, right?  Like my – it’s all about sort of finding everyday beauty in your life, right, through words and through images.  And that’s really all I’m about, right?  And I blog almost every day; usually about five to six days a week.  And I’m very true to that, and I’m very – because it’s something that I’m very passionate about.  And I think that passion comes out.  And what I appreciate Edelman for is they don’t come to me unless it’s something that they think people who read my site would be into, right?  And so they’re very clever about that.

    And so the first time they came to me it was for a Quaker Oats campaign for an End Hunger campaign.  It was around the inauguration.  But they knew, because I talk about charity and giving and being giving and stuff like that, so it was easy for me to write about it, right, because it worked.  Recently they did another one that had yoga involved in it, so it was easy for me to write about it, because that’s what it is.

    So my advice would be for the bloggers, don’t just scattershot your posts, right?  

Female:    Yeah.  Right.

Karen Walrond:    Like kind of think about why is it that I’m writing?  Why do I have this little stake in the ground in the Internet, and start to think about it, and how do you keep that, stay on point.  And that’s helpful for marketers, right?  ‘Cause marketers are like, “I don’t even know what she’s about,” right?  But if you stay on point, marketers will get that.  And marketers who are in here, make sure you learn that.  Learn about what is behind the person.

    And really, frankly, when you start to do that the whole race thing kind of falls to the side.

Heather Barmore:    Yeah.

Stefania Butler:    Absolutely.

Karen Walrond:    So it really is.  So that would be my point.

Heather Barmore:    What time is it?

Audience Member:    Five minutes.

Heather Barmore:    Oh, okay.  We have time for a couple of questions.  

Female:    Yeah.

Heather Barmore:    Okay, you.  Yes?  Oh yeah, it’s you.

Audience Member:    I _____ microphone, ‘cause actually I don’t-

Karen Walrond:    Oh, you want to be off-record?

Audience Member:    Oh, can I project?  I’m not _______-

Female:    No, but it’s recording.

Stefania Butler:    It’s being recorded.

Audience Member:    Oh no, I can’t then.  Okay.  I’m an observant Jewish person here today, and I have a couple blogs, and with that I like to talk about my things; I grew up like regular and everything, and Saturday was like any other day, but then I got inspired that there’s a whole community out there of people that aren’t even being recognized.  And I’ve talked to so many brands here, and they don’t even know they have an OU on their product and that they can reach all these kosher moms out there.  And we’re also consumers, we’re also cleaning our houses every week.

Female:    Brush our teeth.

Audience Member:    _____ ______, we’re Swiffing.

Female:    Really?

Audience Member:    We use aluminum foil like crazy.

[Laughter]

Audience Member:    The ______ forget about it.

[Laughter]

Audience Member:    And Rosh Hashanah.  So I like – and I’m here today and I’m like not – no computers or anything, ‘cause I take Friday and Saturday off.  But I’m doing ______ the best I can, taking the stairs up and down and ______ potato chips.  If there’s anything with an OU on it.  But I want to say like it’s – we’re also just moms.  There’s a huge number that I’ve found, and ______ and strollers, hence the head covering, and then PrimeTimeParenting, which I’m also a 40-plus mom, but that’s a whole – that’s a different, you know.

    But just saying like how do I – I’m not like really a race, but I’m like not really a religion, because I’m also like a person.

[Laughter]

Audience Member:    You know, but the fact that I’m not like getting pitched or anything, but like when I talk to people and I’m like, “Hey, are you kosher?” and they’re like, “Wait, I don’t know.”  So I think it’s – maybe that’s a food thing, but just to be a name brand and like-

Heather Barmore:    No, that’s-

Karen Walrond:    That’s a good point.

[Crosstalk]
 
Audience Member:    -instead of reaching.

Heather Barmore:    That’s a really good point.

Blue shirt, right there.  Yes, you.  Yeah, blue.

Amelia Sprout:    I’m Amelia Sprout, so.

Female:    Hi, Amelia.

Female:    Oh, hi.

Amelia Sprout:    I just wanted to say this; I live in a neighborhood that’s very diverse.  I live what people in the suburbs would call inner city, but it’s just the city to me, in Minneapolis.  And as far as specialties go and specializing, I don’t want to see specialty advertising.  I do not want to see an all-Black family, an all-White family, an all-Asian family in the advertising that I see, because it is not my neighborhood.  My neighborhood is everything.  

    And as far as the whole you want to have specialties, I want the advertising that I see and the advertising that I respond to and the bloggers I love, and I don’t read Chookooloonks because I don’t have enough time.

Kelly Wickham:    Fantastic photography.  You have got to check it out.

Karen Walrond:    That’s all right.  That’s all right.

Amelia Sprout:    Yeah, and I try to every so often, but I do read-

Kelly Wickham:    I’m jealous.

Karen Walrond:    That’s okay.  You don’t have to read me.

Amelia Sprout:    I do read Kelly and Stefania all the time.  And I read those blogs because they represent my neighborhood and my community.  And my community is not my race; my community is my community.

Female:    Interesting point

Amelia Sprout:    So I just want to say that.  ‘Cause to me I can see, “Oh, hey, Target sent” – ‘cause Target is our local company, so we get it like in droves, but “Target sent that ad to that agency.”  And, you know, that’s what it feels like to me.  And I don’t want to see that; I want to see it as somebody who is as White as you get.  I want to see diversity, and I want to see everything, ‘cause that’s my playground.  That is the community my daughter will grow up with, and it means a lot to me.

Heather Barmore:    Okay, two more questions and that’s it.

[Laughter]

Karen Walrond:    We’ll stick around afterwards.

Heather Barmore:    We’re going to be here, but I’m just saying like ya’ll should, you know, go experience BlogHer.

Stefania Butler:    Lunch.

[Laughter]

Female:    They are.

Heather Barmore:    You, then you.  Yes?

Denene Millner:    Okay, hi.  I am Denene Millner with MyBrownBaby.  

[Cheers]

Heather Barmore:    I know you.

Denene Millner:    I come from a traditional media background.  My background is Essence magazine, Parenting.  So this is the same conversation we’ve been having for 40 years.

Female:    For years.

Denene Millner:    He can joke and tell you-

Female:    But just amongst ourselves.  Like this is my point.

Denene Millner:    Right.  I remember interviewing Susan Taylor when I worked at the Daily News, and her complaint was, “I have 2 million women reading this magazine every month, and I can’t get anybody to put in an ad for pots and pans,” or, you know, for anyone to put an ad for diapers, as if we don’t put diapers on our baby’s butts.  This is the same conversation we’ve been having over and over again, and I really wish that we would just move on already.

Female:    We’re getting there.

Denene Millner:    And come on and just say, you know, we’re women; we’re all women period.  We’re all moms and we’re all women.  We use all the same stuff.  When are we going to get past that?

    I’m sorry, it wasn’t a question; it was-

Heather Barmore:    No, that’s good.

Kelly Wickham:    We’re working to that end.

Karen Walrond:    Which person are you pointing to?

Heather Barmore:    Liz, in the red.

Female:    In the black and white shirt.

Audience Member:    I just want to say that we are all not moms.

Female:    Yes, we’re all women.

Audience Member:    Please remember that some of us are single and destined to remain that way, no disrespect to the moms in the room.  But sometimes I’m just up to here with motherfucking moms.

[Laughter]

Christy Maddy:    All right.  I’m going to talk.  I’ve got the mike; I’m talking.

Heather Barmore:    Thank you.  Yeah.  Yeah.

Female:    Yes.

Christy Maddy:    Christy Maddy, MoreThanMommy, QuirkyFusion.  I just want to say – first of all, I loved what you said, and I wish that had been the closing comment, because as a biracial woman I identify as an African American woman.  People say, “Oh, we’re looking for an African American to interview,” and I’m like, “Well, I kind of qualify.”  But also, you know, my mom is White, I grew up in a White family, and that’s a part of me too, and I don’t want to have to choose.  I’m not going to choose.  I’m not going to feel bad about it.

Karen Walrond:    You don’t have to.

Kelly Wickham:    Don’t feel bad about it.

Karen Walrond:    Don’t choose.

Heather Barmore:    You don’t have to.

Kelly Wickham:    You don’t have to.

Christy Maddy:    Thank you.

Karen Walrond:    Don’t choose.

Christy Maddy:    But I want to say that, you know, as women of color, that we also respect the differences within ourselves, you know, within our own community.

Female:    Amen.

Christy Maddy:    And I also just had to say that for the record, if I am in a room with a whole lot of White women with brown hair, I confuse them, and I grew up in a White community.  So it’s – you know what, it’s not just in the Black community or the Asian community; it happens everywhere.  

[Laughter]

Heather Barmore:    Okay, you guys-

Christy Maddy:    Thanks for a great panel.

Heather Barmore:    You guys, this is so great.  I’m so happy right now.

[Applause]

Female:    I’m so happy.  You guys were awesome.

Heather Barmore:    Do you realize how seriously – this is like made – you guys have like made my day.

Karen Walrond:    Made the conference.  Made the conference.

Heather Barmore:    I am so – it made my conference.  This is like I am so happy right now.  I’m like, “Oh yeah, BlogHer.”  So thank you guys so much for coming.

Karen Walrond:    Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Heather Barmore:    And we’re going to be around here.  So thank you.

Karen Walrond:    Thank you.

[Applause]

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