There are hundreds (if not thousands) of recaps, reviews, etc of this weekends events at the NYC Hilton. I don’t need to tell you that there were thousands (I think) of women and a maybe a couple of dozen men sprinkled in, all with different goals underscored by the commonality of blogging. But even if you weren’t there, chances are if you are reading this, you know what it was all about. So, I will not rehash what really requires no rehashing.
Instead, I will share what I learned, because obviously being in the minority at this event, my perceptions and what I took away, particularly from the keynote speeches will be markedly different than those of the majority. In particular I took a lot away from the closing keynote, because while it was geared and spoke directly to the women of the crowd, the underlying theme is one that we all know but sometimes forget (or toss aside because of political use… but that is another story)… and that message is… “Yes, I can make a difference!”
Ever so often I tend to start shying away from posting here when I get too caught up in one of my phases. In particularly one of my ranting phases. ”Who wants to hear this?” I ask myself. ”Who cares?” and “What difference is it going to make?” During the Keynote it was asked if the sponsors were there “because they like us? No!” And it very true. We as consumers have a lot of power. We as voices on the Internet have even more power. We have the power to not only vote with our wallets, but to spread the word, not to mention the ability to do what PR people fear most… spread the word.
And oddly enough, just today, I saw on Twitter, a post that described this sentiment exactly:
@StephanieWDC: The era of effective consumer boycotts is over. Companies don’t change behavior, they just get better at PR.
And this helped gel my new affirmation I had pledged to myself. This is NOT true unless we allow it to be true. There are victories (albeit small at times) that are being won all over the place if you take the time to look. More and more milk companies are asking farmers to take “No bovine hormone” pledges and offering milk that is no longer tainted with this. Why? Because consumers demanded it. In many of the consumer products that dotted the exhibit all you were seeing the effects of the demands of consumers, items made with fresh ingredients, items that were now organic, or made with greener packaging. No, it is not every company, and some of the companies are being sneaky (but I will address that tomorrow) with their ingredients, but the effects are clear, they are real and they are tangible. And they are there because, “Yes… We CAN!” (please again, put aside your political ideology, because that is not what this is about)
You will see “experts” that will say bloggers are a bunch of egotistical beings that like to hear themselves talk (so to speak), and to some extent, there is probably a modicum of truth to that. I didn’t start blogging because of money, it is not my “job” it is a passion, and one I take pride in doing. So, yes if that is egotistical of me… so be it. But that doesn’t make my voice, my feelings, my opinions any less worthy. It doesn’t mean that if I want to help effect change by supporting the removal of rBGH from milk, or warning others of the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup that my sharing that information is just as valid as any other persons.
There is a great line in the movie, “National Treasure” where Benjamin Gates (Nicholas Cage) paraphrases something from the Declaration of Independence:
“If there’s something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action.”
If you liked nothing else about this movie, this is a great line, and one that is an excellent take away for every person. We as bloggers, whether the cause be big or small, whether we are trying to right injustices all over the world, or just in our own back yard, we have the tools… and I don’t mean the Web Server, or WordPress, etc. I mean we have a voice, we have a platform, we have the ability to affect change, whether it be fixing problems with food, seeking parity between men and women in elected offices, ensuring our children get the educations they deserve, or finding the best knitting needles to make a scarf, whatever it is you strive to do, to say, to acquire the knowledge to learn, you have the ability. Now it is up to you to go out and do it. say it. be it. Because, Yes… We Can!