April 10, 2007

Back to My Roots

I have been thinking a lot about the women of BlogHer the last couple of weeks, especially since the business name was unfairly thrown into the mix of the recent melee that tied me to accusations of now-well-publicized posts and unrelated death threats, a big-fat none of which I wrote/made/insinuated, as if that needs saying again, but there it is.

Since everything apparently happens for a reason, I’ve taken this mess as a reason to start thinking about my own group blogging affiliations, my level of involvement and attention-paying, who I know and don’t know in the groups I belong to, what any of this means for those group blogs I own and run, whether or not there’s still a synergy for me in these groups, what I’m getting out of – and giving to – those groups, and how much any of this matters in my life. I have arrived at no particular answers. But the thinking has kept me busy.

Combine these questions with the well-publicized push toward “seals of approval” and “codes of conduct” for blogs, covered in the NYT and elsewhere, and I find myself at a crossroads on how I view blogging—both group blogs and my individual blog.

While codes of conduct have their place on targeted team and business blogs, neither “seals of approval” nor self-important, semantic legislation of adult behavior sit well with me. None of this "cyberbullying" sentiment (save it for the children who need it, please), these "codes of conduct", or "blog seals of approval" ring true as ways to serve readers, writers, or conversation in its entirety, especially in the forms currently being discussed. These means of constraint are American-Fear-Inspired, insulting, reductionist nonsense designed to quiet dissent, no matter how many euphemisms – like ‘civility’ -- the civilized West tries to color them with.

What works to keep blog writers, and their commenting readers, in line with the context of the blog? The blog writers and their commenting readers!

The bottom line is this: I don’t want the push toward mandated civility extended toward me, either by implication or by association.

Neither do I want the pieces of me that are less civilized and less acceptable – YAY PIECES! – to reflect badly on the group blogs where I participate. This is especially true for a business blog like BlogHer—especially when I’m participating not for money, not for ad revenue, not as part of my business, but for fun.

All of this discourse over behavior—it’s stupid. I’ve known how to navigate the Internet since I built my first website in 1996 and started the first women’s team blog on Blogger in 2001. Today’s A-listers need to stop talking about how to talk with their readers and how to ignore occasional trolls, and just fucking DO it.

Anyway, I have digressed to the point where I am losing my manners. That was not my intention. But it was fun.

This post is actually meant to thank the women of BlogHer, especially leaders Lisa, Jory, and Elisa, and say that I have enjoyed working with and writing along side of you since this baby got birthed. But it’s time for me to go back to my roots, to go pay attention to the group blogs that are home to me, maybe make new ones, to tend to Blog Sisters and my own blog. That's what I've been gravitating toward the last couple of months. It's time to make it official, for what it's worth.

Lisa and I have talked and she has graciously accepted my request for freedom. The decision is mine and mine alone, and I think it’s the right one.

Here’s to what’s next. I wish the BlogHers well in growing up and evolving their business, brand, and blog. Ladies, continue to name names and push the limits. Don’t settle. Look BOTH ways before you cross the hyperlink. And be well.