There is no panel for this year’s Type-A Conference Blogger Town Hall Meeting. The session is being moderated by Kelby Carr, with questions and comments made in open mic fashion. Anyone at the conference can get up and bring up industry issues that they would like to discuss in a public forum.
Here we go. (Photo credit to Kelby Carr, who offered this above pic with a Creative Commons license.)
Julie says that there is a lot of bullying going on in our industry, and it’s difficult to draw the line between bullying and constructive criticism. We need to define it. What is acceptable on forums, on YouTube, on Twitter? Some people have thick skin, but not everyone does. And it’s much easier to say horrible things when you don’t have to look another person in the eye. Always remember that there is a face looking back at the other side of the screen whenever you want to make one of those snarky comments.
Some blogger love from a Type-A newbie who is very excited to be here, and excited to have met everyone. A little bit of resentment against veteran bloggers though, the people who have been there, done that, and are tired of some of the less beneficial opportunities out there.
Amy likes paying bloggers, working with brands to give more money to bloggers instead of inviting a small number of bloggers to an event that isn’t a “fan tour” and experience in itself.
Sarah Pinnix on bullying: Are you talking TO a person or ABOUT a person? What is your intent behind your words? As for the new bloggers and the veteran bloggers, there should be a better dialogue with less resentment. New blood and new energy in the blogosphere is great, but sometimes the people who have been around the block have tried to same things (to no avail) that every new blogger seems to think will work for them.
Kelby warns us against “carrot danglers,” brands that say that working for free for them “may” lead to a paid opportunity “sometime” in the future.
Ellen wants to remind everyone about civility. Keep the bad-mouthing and the jealousy to the minimum. The bad apples probably aren’t in this room, but we should be building each other up, not tearing people down.
Kelby says it’s different when the bad apples cross the line into REALLY bad behavior, like plagiarism and content theft. Stealing hurts everyone. It’s not a gray area. It’s not being upset that you got an opportunity that I didn’t get. It’s actually wrong, and Kelby (and many others) will NOT shut up about it.
Kelly wants everyone to be earning money here. But what she wants to talk about is the criticism and bullying, people who take things to far. Yes, we’re putting ourselves out there and talking about our families, but that doesn’t make it open season for bullies. Blogging does not give bullies a free pass to track down our addresses, harass us, make horribly judgmental comments about the decisions we make every day.
Saying sorry does not cost you anything. It doesn’t hurt your reputation. Pay your stupid tax. If you mess up, it’s okay to admit it, apologize, and be better next time.
GET YOUR JUDGY PANTS OFF. Be aware of how you sound. We are professionals. (And P.S. none of us here go to conferences because we want to abandon our children. We are here for business, as part of our jobs as bloggers. Going on a business trip is not neglect.)
Robyn wants to talk about the money and working for free. Sometimes one brand is reaching out through ten different marketing agencies with ten different goals. If you see someone working for a brand whose opportunity you turned down because it was crap, it doesn’t mean that they got the same exact opportunity. Also, you can make a counteroffer if a brand pitch isn’t in your ballpark of acceptable compensation. The worst thing they can say is no. JUST BE NICE TO PEOPLE. Don’t let jealousy or resentment, your own insecurities, get in the way.
As a community here, we’re not really cliquish. We all have fears and insecurities, and we can tend to gravitate toward the people we are comfortable and familiar with. But we’re nice. Some of us are awkward and shy and would totally like to welcome you, and all it would take is coming up and saying hi.
YOU ARE AWESOME.
Bullying affects people even when they aren’t the ones being bullied. Seeing the viciousness of the bullies out there can silence people who fear being torn apart and judged in a very public manner. We are bloggers, and we shouldn’t have to fear blogging. Writing is therapy for many of us.
Because there is so much turnover in PR. Don’t assume that every email you get is an experienced PR rep. You can send people an email to ask if they’ve worked with bloggers before, and help to educate them about how to communicate better. It can lead to opportunities, and it can help communication in general between PR and bloggers.
Cecily says to remember that blogging is a very generic term with many different niches, people with different goals. Personal blogging and product reviewing are completely different animals.
As a community, we’re changing. It can be hard to take blow after blow. Cecily almost quit blogging last week because of the hate some people have spewed against her.
Fadra doesn’t mind being addressed as “Dear mommy blogger” as long as there is a big fee attached in the body of the message. Topic shift to Facebook groups, as they have changed the tone of many conversations. Take a look at the groups that you’re in to determine their value to you. Is it a positive thing for you, or is everyone just bitching all the time? Let’s go back to Twitter for a big open conversation. Let’s talk on Twitter again! We’re going to start that revolution.
Amanda is thanking everyone for being a community of some of her best friends. She doesn’t need the haters. She appreciates the people who find value in her, and she finds value in them. Ignore the losers. We are powerful women. Never feel like you have to justify yourself. You are who you are, and never apologize for that.
Remember that when you’re talking about someone in this community, you’re talking about someone who considers you a friend, a colleague, a valuable relationship. Consider the words you write before you write them online.
Thank you to Kelby, the sponsors, and the whole Type-A team for bringing us all together. And all of the attendees. You all are the rest that people like me come back each and every year. Thank you!