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Why I Need To Go To A Blogging While Brown Conference

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016

I’d like to share a couple of mentions I got this week, both on the same day. The first was from a post by my buddy Steve Borek, who credits me for convincing him to start blogging, titled The First Step Is The Hardest To Take. The second is from Ileane Smith‘s site Basic Blog Tips, where Lisa Sicard wrote a compilation piece based on advice as to why Twitter is great for marketing titled Twitter For Blogging – 15 Reasons It’s Proven Powerful. Go check them both out, as both articles are excellent.

Street art: 1968 Olympics Black Power (human rights) salute
Melbourne Streets Avant-garde
via Compfight

This coming weekend I’ll be going to my first ever non-medical billing conference. It’s called the Blogging While Brown, and it’s a conference for people of color who blog, this year being held in Washington D.C. I’m hoping it’s a lot of fun and educational at the same time, and my buddy Yasmin Shiraz is the only person I definitely know who’s going to be there.

Some of you might ask why there’s a need for a specific conference for people of color. After all, aren’t we all supposed to be one with each other?

Actually, that would be very nice, but unfortunately it’s still pretty much a pipe dream in America. This past week was more proof that there’s a problem with race and that each side blames the other, to the point that I’ve changed my overall outlook on life as I know it and can’t see any time in the near future where we’re all going to get along with each other.

This isn’t a new thought that’s just come to me. After all, I wrote this post back in April on my business blog and created the video below yesterday:

I also created this video in April asking if we could all get along… y’all know that answer…

I took a tough position on the blog post and kind of a tough position in the second video but not in the first. With the second video I took the position where I said that if we ever hope to overcome the issues we have with race, the police and anything else we can’t agree on we’re going to have to sit down and have a legitimate conversation with each other.

I’m of the opinion that there are really only two ways to solve issues permanently; one is by talking to each other, the other is by totally eliminating every single person who’s unwilling to try to find common ground so all that’s left is a lot of people who agree with each other. However, I’m thinking that second idea is fairly problematic, probably unattainable, and pretty much horrific so I’ll stick with the talking option. 🙂

Unfortunately I don’t see it happening any time soon. I’ve had to block or move a lot of people around who don’t seem to understand the issues or feelings of people like me. People who want to blame President Obama for a mess that’s been going on for almost 400 years are clueless. People who want to blame the Black Lives Movement are clueless. People who want to post stuff like All Lives Matter are pollyanna.

I know the question those who visit this blog want to ask; what’s this got to do with blogging or social media? Everything!

The posts of mine that get the fewest views or comments on my business blog are those that talk about race or diversity issues. Unless I’m addressing freedom of speech, the articles on this blog that get the least amount of traffic are those on social issues. I know few people who write on topics like these when mixed with other topics like those I write about. I’m kind of an anomaly; as if y’all didn’t already know that.

I’m not close to the radical some people might think I am. What I am is someone with a social conscious on a few issues that I feel the need to bring up from time to time. True, it might not necessarily always be good for business, but if that’s the only thing you care about then you’re not really a blogger but an entrepreneur.

Nothing wrong with that because not everyone is expected to stand up for something they believe in. After all, if you don’t stand up for something you’ll fall for anything, and it’ll probably be something negative.

Christoph Boecken via Compfight

That’s why I’m going to this conference. I don’t expect the topics to have all that much to do with race and I’m good with that; heck, I might be elated if none of it comes up. I’m even expecting to find people who don’t agree with a lot of other things I happen to like.

What I do know is that, for once, I won’t be an “only” at a conference, or one of the “chosen few” who shows up and spends most of my time alone because I didn’t fit in. Sometimes you just want to feel as though you’re part of a crowd where you actually possibly belong.

Four and a half years ago I started a series that I ran for 19 Fridays in a row called Black Web Friday. My intention was to bring websites and blogs that were created and written by black people into the public conscious because I’d been to too many sites that talked about the top 25, 50 or 100 whatever and never seen a single black face on the page. When I asked one writer about it she said ‘I don’t know any black bloggers.”

I felt it was important then to try to help bring some publicity to people who deserved it. I still think it’s important to do while acknowledging that it’s more difficult to find these days. Goodness, it’s difficult to find people in general who are creating new content on their own; even I can’t find that many anymore, which is another great reason to go to this conference.

If you’ve made it this far into the article, I first want to thank you for that. However, I’d like to ask a favor of you, if I may. If you know of any black bloggers you’ve found on your own, please share their name and link in the comment section of this post.

I have to warn you, if you post a link like you normally would your comment is going to spam. Please leave off the “http://www” part of the link so you won’t go to spam, because I think my program sometimes totally bounces some folk who try to post a full link. I’m curious to see who others might put down who I might not already know or who I might not have highlighted before. This could be an interesting experiment; I’ll hope to be pleasantly pleased. 🙂

If you don’t know any don’t fret; I’m sure I’ll be able to share a lot of names and folk with you after I get back next weekend. In the meantime, let’s try to be nice to each other for a while… please?

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Well, Mitch. I totally understand the “wanting to belong” thing. I live in an area that in which every brown face shines like a beacon of difference. Many Latinos, some Asians who are seldom out and about, it seems, and very few blacks. This morning I said something to a young man who was walking along a street with me and I think I scared him a bit at first. And I don’t blame him in these scary times. Sad!

The one blog that comes to mind that I follow is I don’t know why I came across her…probably the health interest. I certainly follow more people other than old white ladies, who might qualify as “of color” but not as black. If blogs I follow don’t publish a photo (like me) then I wouldn’t know the difference.

Just a side question…what is taking the place of blogging if no one is putting up new content? Is the world of ideas just morphing into shorter bytes – like Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram?

Enjoy your conference.
Mother recently posted…Acknowledging and Owning TragedyMy Profile

July 11th, 2016 | 4:28 PM

First, you might have seen Evelyn commenting on this blog and followed one of the links back to her blog; she’s great!

Second, you called it pretty much. Not Twitter as much as Snapchat, Periscope and Instagram, although even that’s dwindling a little bit. People seem to like putting out a live presentation no matter where they are with the intention that it’ll disappear within 24 hours, as if they never did it at all. Some people are saving them but the overwhelming majority are happy they’re gone fairly quickly. After that, it makes it easy for them to share other people’s content because all they have to do is find a few people who are still producing the content and share whatever’s previously being shared. It’s amazing how many people I see sharing the same stuff all day.

Third, thanks for the understanding about wanting to be with some hopefully like minded people; at least we’ll look more like each other. 🙂

July 11th, 2016 | 9:52 PM

Hey Mitch,

Sounds like a great conference. I’ve never been to one of those blog conferences but I do hear good things. When it comes to what is happening in our world, I agree, it’s been happening for quite some time. Our political leaders have done a rotten job at trying to UNITE Americans, and I’m not just blaming the current. I believe uniting needs to start at the top to really put things into perspective. Personally, the labels that people have is part of the issue. Why can’t we all be American’s?

I follow several bloggers that you can check out, depending on the type of blogs you’re looking for:

There’s just a few to get you started.

I look forward to reading about your experience at the conference. Have fun!


July 11th, 2016 | 5:52 PM

Hey Bren,

First, I know 4 of the six you mentioned, but are you sure about that last one? The thing about dogs licking you; oy! lol

Second, when it comes to corporations I believe it all starts at the top. As far as our country goes, it’s not only too big but too regionalized and fractionalized for it to start at the top… at least at the very top. Mayors have an opportunity to be those types of leaders but I tend to believe that in this case it’s either community leaders or organizers who are the first step towards bringing people together in multiple ways.

Unfortunately, I also believe that more of us are unwilling to interact with our neighbors today no matter what; that’s me in a way. I only know a few people in my neighborhood (although the entire neighborhood seems to know who lives in my house) because I don’t get out much and I travel a lot. I’m a member of the local chamber of commerce but I don’t see those folks all that often either. I’ve found that civilian life is a much different venture than when I was a military kid, even after all these years.

This conference should be eye-opening for sure. I hope it’s also fun and illuminating; we’ll certainly find out.

July 11th, 2016 | 10:00 PM

Hey Mitch,

You pretty much know my thoughts on race in America so I won’t comment here. But have fun at BWB and I’ll be looking for your tweets this weekend.
Marcie recently posted…My Experience at the ATTSmallBusiness RoundtableMy Profile

July 13th, 2016 | 8:39 PM

Yes I do know. lol This should prove to be interesting…

July 13th, 2016 | 9:37 PM
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