Call them equal opportunity bloggers (Contra Costa Times)

Word to the wired: Don’t ask the founders of where the women bloggers are.

You see, a hyperbolic debate is raging in the blogosphere: Why is this supposedly democratic medium recreating real-world inequality?

After all, anyone with an Internet connection can start a blog and potentially reach millions of readers. Blogging software and hosting are as free as the opinions expressed. So, theoretically, blogs (short for Web log) should be judged by the quality of the writing and ideas. Yet, not all blogs are created equal.

A blogarchy has emerged from the Internet equivalent of an “American Idol” popularity contest. This elite clique of bloggers — the so-called A-listers who get checked out more often than Lindsay Lohan — attract the largest online audience. All those eyeballs can deliver cachet, cash and the coveted contract for a blook (a book based on a blog).

What’s perplexing: Nearly all of these Web celebs are men even though more women blog than men. How do men leverage their laptops into giant soapboxes when hordes of women type away in digital obscurity?

There are no easy answers. But the plugged-in posse tends to agree: Blogging was invented mostly by men, so they defined how it’s done (posting blurbs with links to other blurbs versus other popular styles of blogging such as online journals

. . .

It’s still early going, but BlogHer has taken off like Carrie Bradshaw in pursuit of a pair of Manolo Blahniks, kicking off with last year’s sold-out conference attended by 300-plus women bloggers from around the country and supported by such major corporate heavyweights as Yahoo and Google. More than double that many women bloggers plan to attend BlogHer’s second annual conference this July in San Jose.

“As our network grows, no one can say, ‘Where are the women bloggers?'” Camahort says. “Hopefully, we can provide each woman with the tools to raise her voice.”

Consider the digital decibel level now: A few months ago, the trio launched an embryonic yet fast-growing online community by women bloggers for women bloggers. Even with no official launch and no marketing campaign, BlogHer.org already has some impressive stats thanks to word of mouth.

Nearly 2,500 women have registered for the site, which contains nearly 2,800 blogs managed by 60 contributing editors in more than 20 categories from race and ethnicity to religion and spirituality. And BlogHer has attracted major bloggers from conservative commentator La Shawn Barber to Dallas mom Jenn Satterwhite, the infamous author of the blog, “Mommy Needs Coffee.”

(more…)

[via Susan Mernit]

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