How to Get Naked

BlogHer 2005
42 minutes, 19.3mb, recorded 2005-07-30
des Jardins, Armstrong, Bennett and Bremner
Blogs can be many things, but for some readers and bloggers, they are a way of revealing thoughts and secrets. Many of the more popular blogs are "identity blogs" - diaries or articles about the author, often including information that many of us would keep private.

This panel discussion/question and answer session from the BlogHer conference delves into the issues that bloggers who share personal information face. From concerns about personal and job security, issues of self-esteem and how to balance blogging and relationships, the panelists share their experiences getting naked in their blogs. While the speakers agree that there are pitfalls from too much information, sharing intimate details may be more beneficial to readers and writers than one may have thought.

Organizer Jory des Jardins led this discussion with Ronni Bennett (who blogs about aging), Heather B. Armstrong (also known as Dooce) and Koan Bremner (who blogs about transgender issues). The attendees of the BlogHer conference engaged these women bloggers in enlightening discussion about the line between public and private.

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Jory des Jardins is a freelance writer and media consultant who is involved with a number of blogging initiatives, working with businesses on communications strategy and with media companies on enhancing communications through blog content. Her personal blog, Pause, provides the basis for many of her writing projects, including her book on leaving the corporate world, From Here to Autonomy, and an essay on authenticity in business in More Space: Nine Antidotes to Complacency in Business, a book featuring the work of nine business bloggers. Previously she headed up marketing and business development for a boutique executive development firm and was a senior producer at a new media start-up in San Francisco. She's been an editor at Time Inc. and The New York Times Syndicate and has written for such publications as USA Today Magazine, The New York Times, and most recently for Fast Company Magazine.

Heather B. Armstrong was born and raised in Memphis, and moved to Utah to attend Brigham Young University. In 1998 she moved to Los Angeles where she began work as an art director for several Internet start-up companies and advertising agencies.

Heather started her website in the spring of 2001. After publishing several stories about co-workers at one of her jobs she was one of the first people to be fired for what she had posted on her website. In the following year she married a fellow art director and moved back to Utah where they bought a house and began a family. Heather's website now chronicles her struggles with the daily intricacies of parenthood which have included an acute bout of post-partum depression and weekly physical therapy sessions to encourage her daughter to crawl, and eventually to walk. She would ultimately like to make a career out of writing stories about motherhood.

Ronni Bennett was born in Portland, Oregon in 1941, and moved to New York City in 1969, where she produced an anti-Vietnam War, rock-and-roll radio program that became the number one talk show in town. She left radio for television, producing 20/20, The Barbara Walters Specials and writing documentaries for CBS-TV News and A&E's Biography. In 1996, she leapt to the web as the first managing editor of where she helped invent some of the content display standards still commonly used.

Ronni began wondering about aging in a culture that actively denies it and could not find good, popular writing not focused on disease, decline and death, so she decided to do it herself. Blogging turned out to be the perfect medium to carry on a dialogue about what it's really like to get older. Time Goes By was launched in March 2004. Although her intended audience is 50-plus, Ronni is surprised and proud that she has many 20- and 30-something readers.

Koan Bremner is a blogger, a podcaster (with two shows, "VoiceOver" and "CrossOver"), a geek, a motorcyclist, a music fan and a Buddhist. Professionally, Koan designs data warehouse, database and analytical systems for clients in the telecommunications sector. Her career has included spells as an information technology consultant, technical trainer, in software and office equipment sales, and as a fund manager. She holds a Masters degree in Mathematics from King's College, Cambridge University.


This program is from the BlogHer Conference held in Santa Clara, California, July 30, 2005, and was recorded by Susan Kitchens.

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This free podcast is from our BlogHer series.