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Modern Media Man Summit: A Male BlogHer?

Modern Media Man Summit: A Male BlogHer?

The first predominantly male parenting blogging conference, the Modern Media Man Summit, is scheduled for later this week in Atlanta, and damn if I’m not curious to see how it works out for them. As far as I know, this is the first time a predominantly male group of bloggers has attempted to carve out a defined space in the conference space of the parenting blogosphere; though male bloggers regularly attend and even speak at the established conferences in the parenting blogosphere, those conferences are ordinarily rigorous about maintaining some form of “Mom” in the nomenclature of the conference — if for no other reason than because I suspect it makes big corporate sponsorship easier to pitch and procure. Even if the conferences are oriented toward a gender-neutral discussion of blogging about parenting, the “Mom” name is a big advantage because of the statistics that suggest that “Moms” control the largest portion of a family’s disposable income.

The Modern Media Man Summit is bold to divorce themselves from that typical association, even though they are clearly targeting the same market (the speakers’ lineup includes some of the more well known old guard daddybloggers (e.g. Jason Avant of DadCentric and Danny Evans of Dad Gone Mad). A cursory review of their sponsors’ page is interesting in a sociological kind of way: the menz seem to have procured sponsorship from some large corporate heavies (Chevrolet, Nintendo, and T-Mobile), the well-known tech site Mashable and the Proctor & Gamble-run promotional content engagement site, ManOftheHouse.com, for which Avant is listed as a featured contributor.

More interesting: this was put together by a woman. Listed as the head of the M3 team is Debbie Lawrence, who serves as “Founder/Conference Management/Operations, Logistics & Finance” for the M3 Summit. Lawrence’s background appears to be in marketing, and she is the CEO of We Speak Media, a PR company. It appears that most of the founders of the Modern Media Man conference have some kind of background in marketing or PR, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, given the fact that it’s dealing with blogging and how to turn a blog into a business (presumably). But it does strike me as unusual, as does some of the choices for the speaker list and the fact that I cannot find anybody who is actually planning on attending this conference (other than people whom I suspect were specifically courted/paid to attend like Liz Strauss or Danny Evans). The material that is being covered is pretty standard BlogHer type fare, and I cannot imagine that there is going to be a ton of information about innovative business techniques that are *currently being used in the parenting blogosphere* only based on who they have invited to speak. I could be wrong about this — I’d be happy to be wrong.

In short, what this looks like to me is a smaller, regional version of BlogHer but with the benefit of being marketed to male bloggers — so they don’t feel stupid about going to something called “BlogHer” or Mom 2.0. I suppose that is viable gap in the market, so maybe this will succeed as a conference; I have to admit, though, that I’m a little skeptical about whether or not they’ll be able to build it up in the way that BlogHer has grown, given advertisers’ reliance upon the archetypal Mom as consumer that drives the business of the mommyblogosphere.

Am I wrong? Anybody going? Do you think it’s going to work?


A little birdie sent me this link to an article by somebody initially involved in the organization of the Modern Media Man Summit. The post alleges that, among other things, Jim Turner contributed substantial work to procure sponsors and get people interested in the M3 Summit, and was promised some kind of ownership interest in the conference, and then was completely shut out by the organizers. Interesting backstory, if true.

Comments (13)

  1. Sep 7, 2010

    First off Debbie Lawrence is apparently good at her job. The amount and weight of the sponsors say vs. Mighty Summit sponsors, is pretty impressive. Very impressive actually.

    Secondly P&G after something like 54 years is canceling” As the world turns” a soap Opera that it sponsored. The reason being more moms are having to work out of the home, and so the ratings have dropped. They’ve realized that their target market isn’t just moms any more. Its dads & men, men who blog or are present on the net too. I think this realization about the women working outside of the home also translates to men & women are making joint decisions about what to purchase. The car & video game sponsorships, pure testosterone aimed.

    Some dads/male bloggers have been vocal that they wanted their own “blogher” version, and so it looks like they got it. I wonder if having a male only blogging conference has to do with the image sometimes that some of the mom bloggers put out there at some of the conferences. It has been a big cat fight with swag bag issues, and hash tag fiasco’s, trying to ruin corporations, just to name a few. Also I don’t see the dads/men getting away from their kids & wives and having some drinks at this conference and then making out/tonguing another man and then posting on the net for their kids or family or business connections to see. Ya not gonna happen.

    But then there’s a part of me that says you already have so much in life that is male centered, that you HAD to have your own conference too. Just an opinion. Honestly good for them.

  2. Sep 7, 2010

    That’s a hard comment to follow, so I’ll just say: It will be interesting to see if this happens more than once.

  3. Sep 7, 2010

    The Mighty Summit has actually added quite a few sponsors, though, and that is only a conference of (tops) 30 people. Their sponsor list looks more impressive at present, IMO, than the M3 one — though I have no way of knowing what dollar amount any of these sponsors are contributing.

    While it may be true that many women are working, I don’t think that it’s a foregone conclusion that the men are somehow now controlling expenditure of money. For example, my sister in law is the major breadwinner in her household, but most of the domestic purchases still fall to her. But in any case, there would have to be more data to support this YEARS before anybody in the advertising industry would change behavior.

  4. Sep 7, 2010

    I remain skeptical — if for no other reason, then because none of the usual fixtures of these kinds of things seems to be in any way involved. The speakers list does not even demonstrate an up-to-date familiarity with what daddybloggers are active in the community at present, for the most part.

  5. I would love to go!
    1. Because it would be lovely to be at a conference with no cleaning supplies.
    2. Perhaps the topics covered would get more involved rather than skim the surface and I’d leave with some hard knowledge and a game plan.
    3. As Michelle said, it would be nice to have a drama free weekend.
    4. I wouldn’t have to bother with makeup or Spanx. 😀
    5. Nintendo!

  6. Sep 7, 2010

    I’d like to go to see all of those questions answered. BlogHer does not have good information, for the most part, but there are other conferences that do (Mom 2.0) within the mommyblogosphere. So even if this conference covers that material (which again, I’m skeptical about), it’s not doing anything new other than making it about men. Which is fine, I suppose, but I don’t know how far that is going to go with advertisers.

  7. I have a prior family commitment this weekend otherwise I would have gone to the M3. Provided My Love didn’t need me to detail her convertible for her. Again. Regardless, I’m interested to hear how it goes from the people I know who are going (I know four – all either speakers or advisers, though).

    You might want to check out The Type A Mom Conference later this month, which has a dad track. Maybe that will finally be the start of a gender-neutral parenting blogger conference.

    I believe Dad-Blogs.com tried to hold a conference last year in Chicago but it fizzled for what I believe was lack of all-around interest. The few times I checked the agenda they had for it, it was always blank, which may have had something to do with no one giving it any real thought. Athomedads.org does something most years, but it sounds more like a “go to the woods, beat drums and find our inner child thing.” With drinking. And chainsaws.

  8. Sep 8, 2010

    Why must all of these conferences be so far away? Have you people heard of the West Coast? We have sun and agreeable weather. Think about our conference venues.

  9. Sep 11, 2010

    Thanks for the update Anna and I would be happy to answer any questions from anyone interested.

    @Michele you should know that I procured Chevy and P&G before I left.

    I have started a new venture now with some of the Dads that are more community driven. We will see if we can continue to foster the growth we are seeing in the Dad Blogger market.

    We are loving DadsTalking.com and we would welcome you interested to follow along and keep us in check.

  10. Sep 11, 2010

    Now that M3 has finished it be interesting for you to interview everyone and hear how it really played out!

    I’m hopeful that the Dad Community is now stronger then ever…

    🙂 well there is a always a small chance for the flipside of the coin right?!

  11. Sep 12, 2010

    I thought the M3 Summit was a good idea until I heard what had been done to Jim. That turned me completely off toward it. Then I started hearing people talking about it at other conferences, and it was never positive. I put up a tweet about that, and got a Skype call from the M3 “head marketer” unlike anything I’d ever gotten before. Honestly, nobody had ever been so rude to me. That’s why I occasionally put up a tweet about how if anyone says “it’s not personal, it’s business” people should run away and never look back. (That was a direct quote I got from the person who called me that night.) I guess she did not understand that ALL good business is personal.

    Oh, and the #DadsTalking conversations are awesome! No bile or betrayal there!

  12. deb@birdonawire
    Sep 15, 2010

    Because I have more ethics than Mr Turner, I cannot and will not speak to his ‘procurement’ of anything.. This public forum is not the place for discussions of a business nature that are clearly no one’s business but the business associates within it.
    This event was not built to compete with blogher or mommy bloggers on any level. its sad indeed that its been thought of that way. I do hope, Anna, that at some point you’ll come to the source for the details and set aside speculation and rumor. Thanks

  13. @tshaka_zulu
    Sep 15, 2010

    Very interesting article! And the comments…. I too would love to see something on the West Coast, and if I have anything to do with that, we (Family bloggers/Dad Bloggers) will at some point. I’m happy to see events like this happening. I’m always hopeful that things like this go VERY well because many men think and feel like they’re an island unto themselves and therein lies our weakness as men.

    We need to connect, respect and communicate because “this ain’t ya daddy’s father life.” I’ve cut umbilical cords, changed diapers before there were changing stations in the men’s stalls and sought to take everything my father taught me and amp it up ten notches and there are other men out there like me who proudly wear the papa badge and couldn’t think of anything more worthwhile than raising healthy, strong, children and fostering powerful families which are unlike what the media so disparagingly represents. Men who don’t need a pat on the back for just doing what they ought.

    I’m sorry to hear that there has been drama and I hope that this event will move past its growing pains as all events must do (I remember when my non profit held our first seminar and no one showed…no one. Oh wait, there were two people) to be viable and serve their intended purpose.

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