bwb_2009groupphotoLast week, I spoke at Blogging While Brown. It was fantastic and I had an ever-better-than-expected time. It was probably twice as big this year as last year. It was cool to be a mentor to other bloggers while meeting bloggers I look up to like Afrobella and Concrete Loop.

You can see the slideshow presentations from the AT&T sponsored panel on “The Latest Tools and Techniques to Grow Your Blog” with Naoko McCracken, Happiness Engineer at Automattic (parent company of WordPress) after the jump. We focused on cutting edge stuff like mobile blogging and community building software. You can also watch lots of clips from this historic day at the Blogging While Brown website.

Below are a couple of recaps that you might find of interest from other sources.

From the Bay State Banner (fantastic summary, btw – read the whole thing):

One theme that ran through the two-day conference was the hope of many attendees that more members of the black community will embrace the Web in campaigns about important issues.

Gina McCauley, who writes the blog What About Our Daughters (, founded Blogging While Brown last year to build the network of bloggers of color and help them stay at the forefront of the new online frontier.

“There is so much to learn about the Web because it is changing so fast,” McCauley said. “There is so much potential on the Internet that the black community can take advantage of.”


“Our blogs are read all over the world,” Contee told attendees. “You would be amazed by who is reading you.”

While there’s room for growth, the black blogosphere has made significant strides. Cheryl Contee, a social media strategist and blogger at Jack and Jill Politics (, said that the online activism of the black blogosphere helped propel Obama to the Oval Office.

More and more, the impact of black blogs is being noticed by those in power. Contee and her fellow Jack & Jill blogger Baratunde Thurston were credentialed to cover the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, as well as the Inauguration Day activities earlier this year.

The popularity of the blog has made Thurston and Contee sought-after personalities. Contee recalled being invited to the G20 summit in London last March, where she mingled with world leaders and celebrities — including musician Bob Geldof, organizer of the famed benefit concert Live Aid, who said he was a fan of her work.

From Goddess Intellect:

One of the most controversial moments in the conference came when guest speaker Cheryl Contee, who blogs as Jill Tubman for award winning political blog, put Eric Easter of on blast. She asked the conference attendees, “By show of hands, who reads” There was maybe a show of two hands. Now her question definitely made the room as chilly as the Canadian winter, but it also sparked a heated discussion.

Most of us equate Ebony and Jet, to a cultural landmark; we grew up with that bold red/white logo, fashion fair, and popped that chest out when we read profiles of upwardly mobile blacks. But the ebony and jet magazine back in the 80’s and 90’s is the same ebony you will read today, with the exception of a few updated hairstyles and clothes. Cherly pointed out that the site and magazine was not relevant to young blacks today. The site’s blog hadn’t been updated in a minute and the whole Johnson publishing corporation was stale in comparison to the blogging scene. Easter argued that their stats were sufficient and that their audience was not the average young black person.

The debate came to a halt when Gina McCauley, conference head honcho and cool people, said, “With any problem there is an opportunity”.

She’s absolutely right! Okay so Ebony and jet are not bringing it, doesn’t mean that you and I can’t. I’m personally going to take advantage of the free wordpress space for as long as I can lol.

Jill Tubman Presentation at BWB 09:

Naoko McCracken of Automattic/WordPress Presentation:

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