Anyone who thinks bloggers aren’t apart of the tech community are sorely wrong, according to Gina McCauley, 37, an attorney who traverses the blogosphere as the Blogmother, Godmother to one of the country’s largest and most influential Black blogging conferences, Blogging While Brown.
“Black bloggers are the on-ramps to the information superhighway for their families, friends, and communities,” says McCauley, who teaches a blogging 101 course at a local university in Austin, Texas, where she lives. “They are this vital connection between the Black community and the digital age. Blogging While Brown’s goal is to be a strategic social partner providing the networking, education, and professional development that Black bloggers need.”
McCauley began blogging in 2007, launching “What About Our Daughters,” a blog she describes on the site as “unapologetic, uncompromising and unbowed in defense of Black women and girls.” From there she went on to launch “Michele Obama Watch,” a blog dedicated to reporting and celebrating news surrounding the first lady; her daughters, Malia and Sasha; and her mother, Marian Lois Robinson.
The BWB founder grew tired of seeing Black bloggers’ voices overlooked and taken for granted, so she used her own money to fund the first conference, which was held in Atlanta.
This week, as she prepares for the sixth annual Blogging While Brown Conference in New York, we honor McCauley for committing her time to creating a supportive network for bloggers. McCauley’s team expects over 200 bloggers to attend this year’s conference. Speakers include Angel Laws, founder of Concrete Loop.com, Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of BlogHer, several corporate executives from TV Land Communications and AT&T, and a keynote address delivered by pioneering blogger Markus Robinson, co-founder of Black Web Media, the parent company of BlackWeb 2.0. Robinson now leads the Innovation Team at Interactive One, the nation’s largest network of sites targeting African Americans and Latinos.
Black Enterprise caught up with McCauley to talk about BWB, navigating the black blogosphere and the key to securing relationships with corporate sponsors.
What can we expect at Blogging While Brown this year?
This year we’ve gotten major support from Colgate-Palmolive and AT&T. They are hosting our opening and closing parties. TV Land is providing subject matter-expertise in strategic partnerships between bloggers and brands by having three of their executives speak. In addition, TV Land is offering our attendees an opportunity to become paid ambassadors. We worked really closely with them to develop the criteria and expectations for their inaugural ambassador program to promote The Soul Man. The John S. Knight [Journalism] Fellowships continually recruit applicants to their program from Blogging While Brown, and I’m excited that several attendees and speakers, such as Latoya Perterson of Racialicious.com, have gone on to be fellows. And of course BlogHer is back again to provide guidance to our attendees about how to carve out a path as a professional blogger.