Some Thoughts on Voices of the Year
Whenever anyone new to the BlogHer annual conference has asked for a description of the Voices of the Year Community Keynote, I resort to saying something like, "It's the beating heart of the conference." And then I add, "And also its funny bone." Then, "Okay, and also its conscience." It may sound hyperbolic, but I wind up saying that the Voices of the Year Community Keynote is nothing less than an in-person demonstration of why so many of us bother to read and write blogs.
Only better. Because instead of being moved (or challenged, or relieved, or cracked up) by a blog post all alone in front of our computers (which for me usually happens late at night, or in a stolen moment between other responsibilities), we get to have these experiences simultaneously, in a huge ballroom with hundreds and hundreds of others. The event both reflects and forges community; it provides an indelible reminder that we are never alone, with a potency that keeps us coming back year after year.
This year's Voices of the Year Honorees Community Keynote readers brought the funny, the enlightening, the brave, the challenging. They defied expectation, and gave a ton of us new standards of excellence towards which to work. That's one of my favorite byproducts of something like this. Celebrating excellence in blogging provides inspiration for many of the rest of us to work just a little bit harder on our own blogs. Scared to be super brave? Think of the impact of some of the risk-takers you heard. Think no one will notice if you go back and make your images that much more carefully crafted, your argument more honest, your dialog more authentic? They will! And they'll appreciate it. Go ahead, make the extra effort: you're worth it, and your readers are too.
We will have video, to update this post, shortly. Until then, go ahead and visit the Voices of the Year Community Keynote ('12) Liveblog. In it, you will find links to all of the amazing posts that were read on stage from our honored bloggers.
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