July 20, 2008
Armstrong & Klein Talk About Their 'Blogging Lives'
BlogHer's Elisa Camahort Page moderated the last panel at BlogHer yesterday. It was essentially a fireside chat with Stephanie Klein and Heather Armstrong. Elisa asks them what their lives were like 'before blogging.'
They largely talked about how their blogs impact their lives today as a way to demonstrate the difference. Blogging (and writing in Stephanie's case, who is also an author and journalist), is clearly a substantial part of their lives.
Heather says, "if i stopped my website, I'd probably sleep for three weeks. There's a lot of stress that goes into maintaining a website every day. If I miss a day of blogging, people email me or post comments as if 'how dare you for missing a day.' Sometimes it makes me think 'walk away woman, walk away."
For Stephanie, its also a personal outlet. She says, "I write for TV, have written memories and books, but its not the same feedback as getting feedback right away from your community. I need to get it out there, particularly to people who don't know you personally. It's great to get feedback from people other than your close friends or your husband."
Heather talks about the impact on her husband, particularly when she writes about an experience they both shared. Its from her perspective, so often, he may not know how she really felt about it until he reads it on her blog.
Stephanie talks about life before blogging. Back then, she was married to a doctor and lived in New York. She went through a divorce. Now, she lives in Texas and has two children. At the time, she wrote about sex, break-ups, her divorce, her son's operation -- sharing her most personal details with the world. More recently, she was on the front page of the style section of the New York Times. Having known others in a similar place, that kind of media exposure changes everything.
Someone from the audience asks, "why leave negative comments up there. "Its not your audience," she says. "Why not delete comments that are hateful? Most of them are made up and not true. Why give them that kind of power?"
Says Heather, "people want to report me to child services because I did x or y with my daughter...this is what goes on behind the scenes. Everyone thinks its glamorous. They think, 'oh, she gets up, blogs every day in her pajamas and gets to stay at home with her husband.' Behind the scenes, people are threatening to take my child away, they're threatening bodily harm to me, I have to deal with hate mail and hate comments."
Stephanie doesn't stand for really negative crap that comes in, particularly stuff that isn't true. She says, "I do have the power, I just delete it or if I think a comment could bring about an interesting discussion, I'll leave it up."
Someone else asks, "how often is there a correlation between when you express yourself really well and negative comments? Are you surprised which posts generate more commentary?" Heather says that she was surprised that people were so upset about a recent diet she did. It's amazing what people care about and devote their attention and time to.....
Stephanie pipes in, "don't give too much authority to the amount of comments on your blog. You never know how one thing you write will affect a person. You shouldn't let one or two negative comments impact you one way or the other. Some people don't comment at all and email you instead or simply don't engage."
A female attendee asks, "what makes people go back to your blog again and again? Your interests?" Stephanie responds,"I'm into technology, Photoshop and scrapbooking," but it sounds like she has multiple interests.....she adds, "what I write about depends on what I'm interested in on a particular day."
Says Heather, "when I go back to a TV show or blog, its about the characters. I go back again if there's a tug at me around a particular character I read about or see."
Another attendee adds a thought for the entire room to think about: "when you write about women and care about women, it can be threatening to our culture. We're pushing the envelope and as a result, we're going to get hate mail, death threats, etc. so we really need to support each other."
Stephanie says, "blogging gives us a voice and sometimes its a voice we don't particularly don't want to hear. If someone is writing about a child and making money off writing about her child, she'll likely get hate mail and make people upset. If someone is doing the same thing on a TV show, book, etc. you're not going to hear as much backlash about it there as you would on a blog. Blogging is more accessible and available to people." And it's obviously more immediate.
Adds Heather, "commenting and engaging also feeds people's ego." Yup, even if they're doing it anonymously which a lot of people do, those who have a grudge, feel insecure or are jealous and just want to see a successful person fall.
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Tracked on Jun 10, 2009 2:31:21 PM
That's a beautiful pic of Heather.
Posted by: Éireen | Jul 22, 2008 1:06:01 PM
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