Blogging Just For Love? No Way

James Oseland, Editor-in-Chief of Saveur magazine

Something James Oseland, editor of Saveur, said when he delivered the keynote at the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) struck me as strange. He said, “A food blog should not be a popularity contest. Blog because you love it, because you have to.” Then everyone applauded.

I bet food bloggers applauded because they are so sick of feeling like they’re in high school again: checking their Google rankings, embedding SEO links, worrying that no one will comment on a post, wondering when they’ll be popular enough to be invited on a press tour or get a book deal. Wouldn’t it be a relief if food blogging was not a popularity contest?

But of course it is. The bloggers who draw the most readers get the biggest book deals and the most opportunities and the most money from ads on their sites. That’s how it works. We need to get over it.

And I don’t see that these things are mutually exclusive anyway:  I blog because I love doing so, and I blog because I must. I love having a forum to get my ideas and opinions out. I love hearing from all of you and having [Read more…]

BlogHer 10 in New York: A Sea of Estrogen

Closing keynote in the Hilton's Grand Ballroom.

Imagine 2400 excited female bloggers, half of whom have never been to a conference before, not to mention New York. Many were away from their kids and husbands for the first time.

They were there to learn, to party, to get swag, and to talk. Sometimes it seemed like they were all talking at the same time. That was sold-out BlogHer ’10: Noisy and thrilling. Think high estrogen count.

According to the founders giving the keynote, there are now 67.5 million women who blog. It felt like ALL of them were at the conference.

Last Friday and Saturday, BlogHer featured two days of sessions on 7 tracks, including the writing lab, geek lab, and the job lab (since we’re still in a recession). My favorite was on humor writing, moderated by Awesomely Luvvie. It featured the co-creator of the Jon Stewart show, Lizz Winstead, and comedian Jessica Bern. These women write and speak on the foolishness of everyday life, and spent a lot of time encouraging the women in the room to have confidence.

Lizz Winstead, co-creator of the Jon Stewart Show

“Curiosity is our greatest asset,” said Winstead, who researches her topics like a madwoman. (Click on her name above to see her rant on Phyllis Schlafly.) “Hone your voice and write about what you care about. Be articulate, creative and smart and people will find you.” She also said “Don’t write about stuff you don’t know about.” Good advice.

Winstead encouraged writers to take a position, comparing it to driving down the middle of the road. “A car in the middle of the road causes accidents. Pick the left or the right. If you don’t you’ll need my self-help book called ‘F**k You,'” she concluded. Keep in mind that someone will always be offended by your position, she said, because “even asserting a point of view will offend.”

So now that you’ve read that, I’m going to take a position. I have never spoken with so many people who [Read more…]