There’s something I observed at BlogHer ’06 about women and collaboration that I didn’t see mentioned in author and tech geek blogger Robert Scoble’s post “What I Learned from BlogHer,” where he sums up his experience there and highlights comparisons to the mostly male tech conferences he’s used to attending.
What I observed was best summed up in a statement that Arianna Huffington, syndicated columnist and founder of The Huffington Post, made during the closing keynote, where she shared the stage with Hurricane Katrina Direct Relief founder and professional blogger Grace Davis, WashingtonPost.com/Newsweek Interactive CEO and Publisher Caroline Little, and SixApart founder and President Mena Trott in a discussion lead by Chris Nolan of Spot-on.
Huffington made the statement after announcing that she’d soon launch a new section on her site called “Politics Aside” that would feature topics that were not politics, such as mothering, sex, relationships, and cooking. She said, (and I’m paraphrasing here):
If anyone wants to cross post with us, it’s all about linking and cross posting — it’s all about supporting each other. It’s not about if you’re buying Newsweek you’re not buying Time.
In my experience such a call for sharing of content is not common practice at male conferences — at least not in this context or without some sort of business deal being discussed. Well, unless of course the conversation has anything to do with open source. Don’t get me wrong, BlogHer is not based upon an us .vs them philosophy, it’s an opportunity for all kinds of women bloggers to pursue exposure, education and community. In that vein, session topics ran the gamut from Search Engine Optimization, Writing for the Web, CSS, Podcasting, and Video to Business Blogging, Community Activism Blogging, and Political Blogging. And besides, men were not excluded from the event. Scoble was there, as was Guy Kawasaki, John Battelle and George Kelly, among others. (Read Christine Herron‘s post on the estimated ratio.)
Back to my original thought though — am I wrong in thinking that collaboration means something entirely different to women than it does to men?