Voices of the Year Eve: The Announcement Is Tomorrow!

BlogHer Original Post

Tomorrow, we'll be announcing the names of those bloggers who will be honored as Voices of the Year in 2012 -- including those who will be reading their honored posts at the Community Keynote at the BlogHer '12 conference this August 3-4 in New York City (register here).

In anticipation of that announcement, I want to take a step back and provide a thumbnail sketch of how this event began and evolved over the past five years.

Though the Community Keynote -- as Voices of the Year was first known -- first appeared on the BlogHer schedule in 2008, Eden Kennedy, its emcee, patron saint, and progenitor, had been "hoping to get (it) on the schedule there for a couple of years," as she said in this June 2008 post. In fact, the idea had been percolating since soon after BlogHer's inception in 2005. It's a natural, really: At the event where most of us women bloggers gather, annually, why not enable us to experience, as a face-to-face, shoulder-to-shoulder community, just what it is that moves us to invest so much of ourselves in this medium?

The event's scope grew exponentially over the years, along with the blogosphere itself, and women's presence in it. In 2008, over 200 entries were read by a committee of about seven people; this year, over 1,600 were read by 26 readers, and were filtered yet once more by another six readers (the math whizzes among you will notice that the reading load, and therefore the service these readers give to the community, has doubled over the years).

Voices of the Year readers at BlogHer '11

Over the past five years, over 50 people, comprising both past readers and BlogHer staff, have spent countless volunteer hours poring over their fellow bloggers' posts. We have rendered this service because, at base, regardless of the wide range of interests and roles we bring to the blogosphere, we understand that what all of us are doing with our blogs matters a great deal -- both to the community we form at the conferences, the community we form online -- and the community that we influence offline. And it's an honor to shine a light on some of the best of this work each year.

(This year's committee members were noted in Shannon's announcement post in late February. Look for them again individually when Shannon thanks them before announcing the honorees and readers tomorrow.)

Right after the first Community Keynote in 2008, I wrote at my blog, Lesbian Dad:

Women sharing stories, on this scale, with this degree of public intimacy, feels utterly unprecedented. What we all go through in this life. Some of us live to tell the tale, and have the courage to tell it. And in the telling, essentially, perform mouth-to-ear resuscitation to more people than we will ever know.

And here's another early take, from Liz Gumbinner at Mom-101:

It was ... part poetry slam, part open mic night, part thousand-person group hug. Eden Kennedy needs a Nobel prize for putting it together....It was an essential reminder that we're all doing something worthwhile here. Whether it's cathartic, or healing or simply entertaining, it's not "just blogging". It's good. It's important. Even a post about pornographic Google hits, or so I'd like to think.

As you wait out the last day before learning who'll be honored as a Voice of the Year in 2012, here are Voices from Years past:

We want to thank you all who submitted or nominated your favorite bloggers' posts this year, and again thank the generous folks who've read their way through all these submissions this year. Tomorrow, Shannon's announcement post!




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



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