01 October 2010

Announcing the BlogHer ’11 Call for Ideas!

Post date: 01 October 2010
Deadline: 31 September 2010

Announcing the BlogHer ’11 Call for Ideas!

We’re excited to announce that the BlogHer '11 Call for Ideas officially opens today! BlogHer is the “conference the community built”, and that starts with programming. We hope you will submit as many ideas as you have in each of your big, bloggy brains!


1. What is the Call for Ideas? And what are the BlogHer '11 tracks?

We call this a "Call for Ideas", instead of a "Call for Speakers" or "Call for Proposals", because we are interested in the topics you would like to speak about and the topics you would like to see others speak about. Every idea for a speaker or a session is welcomed, collected and reviewed by real, live humans. :)

This is the Call for Ideas for the first round of BlogHer-planned programming. A second round, called BlogHer’s Room of Your Own programming, will take place early next year

At this time, we are specifically looking for submissions for speakers, moderators and sessions that would fall into one of the following six programming tracks:

Skills path 1: The Social Media Geek

This is BlogHer's technical track. We want content for all levels: beginning, intermediate and advanced. What do you want to learn, related to your blog or other social media platforms? This is the track for suggestions around: Web programming, design and development, multimedia, mobile, security, getting the most out of your blogging platforms, applications and devices? Please identify both the tech topic you want to cover or see covered, and the level (i.e. Beginning, Intermediate or Advanced).

Skills path 2: The Write Brain

This is BlogHer’s writing track. Content still is queen in our books, so we're looking for professional-grade writing instructors and coaches. This is the track for suggestions around: Writing skills, everything from grammar to overcoming writer’s block. And for formats from humor pieces to OpEds.

Skills path 3: Minding Your Own Business

This is BlogHer’s professional and career track. Blogs provide a personal platform and a professional platform. They can be online portfolio, resume, or thought leadership forum. This is the track for suggestions around: Monetization, tax, legal and other business management matters, networking skills, personal branding, media kits, media training, public speaking.

Impact path 1: Change the World

This is BlogHer’s activism, politics and social change track. Many of you are raising your voice, using your social media footprint to rally others, raising awareness and galvanizing action towards political action or in support of social causes. Your blogs are having impact on a local, national and global scale. This is track for suggestions around: The impending elections, social media in the non-profit world, individual actions making tangible social change,

Impact path 2: Changing Yourself

This is BlogHer’s personal track. Many in our community continue to blog as a personal pursuit, We use our blogs to explore who we are, what we love and the nature of online community and support. This is track for suggestions around: Your blog’s niche. In past years we’ve discussed blogging about sex, grief, race, special needs parenting, crafts, fashion and so much more. What personal transformations and blogging passions do you want to dig into deeper? What have we yet to spotlight?

2. What is the difference between BlogHer programming and Room of Your Own programming?

Short answer: BlogHer sessions are created from this first round of community suggestions. Room of Your Own sessions are created from a second round of community suggestions.

Long answer: Here's how it works: BlogHer sessions are created from the first round of community suggestions. During the first phase of planning programming, we'll receive all of your session and speaker ideas and synthesize them into panels. We often receive similar ideas for panels. Or we look for people who have different viewpoints on a topic and figure out how to schedule that debate to happen at the conference. We also seek out other voices that deserve to be heard from across the blogosphere. Every year at least 80 percent of the speakers in BlogHer-programmed sessions at our annual conference are new to speaking at BlogHer. It's our goal to seek out fresh voices...and that means, especially if you haven't spoken at a BlogHer conference before, we encourage you to submit your ideas and own your expertise. Part of our mission is to create opportunities for women who blog and speaking at a conference is a wonderful opportunity!

The second round of programming results in Room of Your Own programming, based on a second round of community suggestions, with the help of public community input. There are two criteria for Room of Your Own sessions being selected: 1) Community interest and 2) bringing diversity to the programming schedule.

Read our original definition of the Room of Your Own concept here.Room of Your Own proposals should be made by registered attendees of the conference. The purpose of the Room of Your Own sessions is to provide an opportunity for conference attendees to:

* Fill in the programming holes you think we left when we published our schedule
* Volunteer to contribute to the conference in a very active way
* Make the conference experience your own

There will be two slots left open in every one of the five tracks listed above when we publish our initial schedule this year. When we issue our call for Room of Your Own submissions, we will ask for those suggestions to fall into one of those five tracks, and two Room of Your Own suggestions will be selected per track, or 10 in total.

3. What is the difference between a moderator and a speaker?

As stated above, we set a goal for 80 percent of session speakers to be new to BlogHer. This year, however, we are distinguishing such speakers from panel moderators. BlogHer sessions have a highly interactive format. That means the moderator has to be a bit of a ringleader…and a bit of a taskmistress, keeping the conversation on track (and shill-free). We’ve gotten lots of feedback that that format is challenging, but dynamic and satisfying when well-moderated. So, for the first time, we’re going to ask people to specify if they’re submitting for a moderator or speaker slot, and to provide their previous experience with moderation, specifically, because it is definitely a specific skill!

4. How do I submit my idea?

To submit your suggestions for sessions, speakers or moderators, please visit our BlogHer ’11 Call for Ideas Submission Form and fill it in, in as much detail as you can possibly provide. We are as happy to receive suggestions about sessions you'd like to attend, and speakers you'd like to hear from, as we are to hear about why you want to rock the mic.

5. What will make my submission stand out from the crowd?

We have some suggestions! When programming sessions, these are a few of the things that catch our attention:

* Original ideas. New to BlogHer, definitely, and new to blogging conferences in general, even better! You can definitely propose a new angle on previous sessions, the newer, the better. We typically do not repeat session topics, especially with all the same speakers, we’ve seen before, so bear that in mind. If you want to go in the Wayback Machine to figure out what we have done before, here are the conference agendas for the past six years.

* Differing opinions among speakers. Nothing is more boring than a row of nodding heads, so make sure that no everyone on the panel is in violent agreement!
* Diversity among speaker backgrounds. Be it lifestyle, geography, orientation, race or ethnicity, culture, ideology, age, political or religious differences, we embrace them diversity in all its forms.
* New-to-BlogHer speakers (remember, we have a goal to feature 80% new voices each year)
* Experienced moderators

We give you lots of room to share your ideas, your expertise, your past experience. Use that space!

If nominating a speaker, include specific topics within each track this individual could cover, along with examples of blog authority on the subject. For example, steer clear of recommendations that include "great for any session"…because we doubt that any speaker would be great for any session. Give specifics.

6. What is the programming timeline?

* Sept 29 - Oct 31: Call for Ideas open
* Dec 20: Skeleton schedule announced
* Dec 21 - Jan 21: Room of Your Own polling open
* Feb 28: Final programming, including ROYO, announced

You have one month to do get us your great ideas, so get busy, starting...now!!!

More information here.
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