Blogging While Brown conference, in NYC for the first time, bridges the color barrier for blacks in tech

African-Americans have often been leaders in the online arena, trailblazing in areas such as blog creation and engagement with social media. Yet, when in comes to tech conferences that tout the best current and upcoming aspects of this field, most are famously lacking in people of color. Blogging While Brown was created to counter that trend.

Developed by Gina McCauley, the firebrand mind behind the blog What About Our Daughters, Blogging While Brown is now the premiere annual event for bloggers of color to connect, promote their brands, and get top-tier advice from thought leaders in the technology sector. I will be moderating a panel at Blogging While Brown on Friday called Blogs and Brands, and caught up with Gina to give theGrio audience a taste of what else is to come. This year’s conference holds much promise for those seeking to improve their blogging for professional reasons or personal pleasure.

theGrio: What inspired you to create Blogging While Brown?

Gina McCauley: At the time I was a new blogger and black bloggers were complaining about not being represented at larger technology conferences. So I said “Why not start your own?” — and I did.

For how many years have you produced the Blogging While Brown conference? What will make this year stand out?

This will be our sixth conference, which means we’ve been planning conferences for seven years.

What makes this year different from all the previous years? First, we’re in the media capital of the world. It will be our largest in attendance. We’re in Harlem, the cradle of black creativity with a bunch of technically savvy, digital media content creators. We have more participation from brands and agencies than we’ve ever had. We have more participation from black media groups such as theGrio, Interactive One and Black Enterprise. We’ve collaborated more than ever with other groups and have actively sought our strategic partners. I think we will have some of the most high profile bloggers to ever sit on one stage at the same time. Our closing keynote will be epic.

What value does the conference hold for the professional blogger, versus that for a professional from a different arena who might want to use blogging to improve his or her brand?

First of all, the most valuable currency as a blogger is your relationship with other bloggers. You need them to link to you. You need them to know you. This is a great place to meet and connect with those people all in one place.

In addition, the conference will basically be the center of the black digital universe. If you are in the digital space for whatever reason, you’re going to be one degree of separation from anyone you would ever need to meet at this conference. It has something for everybody, including outstanding continuing education opportunities.

Technical mastery is a major part of the mission of Blogging While Brown, and we’ve placed particular emphasis on technical sessions, as well as monetization.

What can people look forward to this year, particularly due to the event’s New York City location?

They can look forward to access to speakers and fellow attendees who are industry leaders and subject matter experts. This will be one of the greatest collections of black geniuses on the planet.

Does the venue city of New York offer special opportunities? Absolutely. For the first time ever, I didn’t have to explain who and what we were when we booked the venue. New York understands media. They get it. We have access to an amazing group of speakers and moderators that we might not have been able to get, if we were in another city.

What do you hope attendants will take away from the event?

I hope they learn a great deal, but most of all I hope they leave with strengthened relationships with each other and a firm understanding that they are not alone.

Blogging While Brown takes place in New York City from June 21-22, 2013.

Alexis Garrett Stodghill will be a moderator at the Blogging While Brown Panel, “Blogs and Brands.”

Grio readers will receive 25 percent off the registration when they use the code TheGrio.

TheGrio.com is a division of NBCUniversal, whose parent company is Comcast, a sponsor of Blogging While Brown. 

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.

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