My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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Blogher has begun

I feel like an alien at Blogher. It’s *sooo* amazing to see so many women kicking ass. Since i’ve left V-Day, i’m rarely around so many women. At the same time, i’m faced with the challenge i always face when in a room full of women. I’ve definitely grown up in a boy’s world, trying to out-boy the boys. I’m used to being aggressive to get my voice heard; i’m used to a language of critique, not compliments; i’m used to trying to take up space to be seen. Here, i just feel so awkward and out of place in a place that should feel comfortable. ::sigh::

The other thing that i’ve realized is that i’m not a “blogger” in the sense of the word that others here use. The women here have been so empowered by their blogging – they joined a movement, connected with people, built a community… They love the actual act of blogging, are excited to be bloggers as a primary identity. There’s so much interest in getting an audience, in figuring out how to build a business from it, in figuring out how to attract ads. I blogged before there was blogging because i needed to get my internal neuroses out there. I’m still afraid of the fact that i have an audience and i’m certainly not trying to attract more people. I’ve resisted putting up ads because i don’t want to make money off of my linguistic explosions (although paying my bandwidth costs would be nice); i don’t want to feel responsible to my blog. I’ve become a blogger because people have assigned me that identity but even though i’ve been blogging forever, i’m not really a part of this movement. That makes me feel guilty – i’m given an identity that is more practice-driven than culturally driven… ::gulp::

The best part of being at Blogher is that i know that i have a lot to learn from these women. I’ve already had some amazing conversations and just now a woman from Eggbeater is talking about how food blogging is super political because food is about class, race and culture. ::jaw drop:: Wow – that rocks!

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7 comments to Blogher has begun

  • I am going to find you at some pont today! You’re one of the bloghers who I came down here to see.

  • Anon

    i stumbled upon your January 2000 posts about depression and borderline personality disorder and wow…you seem to have come a long way

  • Phc

    Funny, I left feeling the same way. Sort of disconnected to the whole thing. It was weird.

    I noticed you wore those arm-warmers. If I was hip enough to do so, I would wear babylegs (www.babylegs.net). Instead, I put them on my baby. But YOU? You are totally cool enough to wear them on your arms.

  • JM

    I am still trying to process how I felt about the whole thing, but I believe it will be along the lines of everything you’ve said in this post — even down to the eggbeater reference, for her comment was outstanding and I regret not saying so to her in person.

  • Thank you for the good words. I had no idea my words would strike so many chords.

    I have not yet been able to write about my day at the conference, as I want to dedicate more of myself to its coverage than I have access to at the moment. But I hope to be able to hold onto the inspiration and questons it produced.

    hope to see you around eggbeater one day.

  • ekd

    OH MY GOSH… where have you been all my life. You have an amazing breadth of knowlege and interests, views and comments on so many things. Will you autograph my forehead?

    I overheard you say you don’t like this but, “…and you’re pretty too!”

    I really enjoyed hearing you speak at the Outreach blogging and the Deeply Geeky sessions.

  • the reasons you expressed here about why you felt uncomfortable are the reasons i didn’t attend. i’m not intersted in making a career out of blogging, corporatizing my blog, or identifying as a blogger. i blog because i type faster than i write, and it was a natural progression from my paper-journaling. and, my mom likes it because now that i live several thousand miles from her, she can still keep tabs on me. when i moved away from where i grew up, blogging was away to stay connected, and still is. as for audience…i enjoy my readers as long as they’re nice. 😉