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.