I was clueless.
I had been blogging for one week when I arrived at BlogHer ’08. I didn’t understand the terms describing the sessions, didn’t know I needed a ticket beforehand, didn’t know that even banging on the door wouldn’t get me in.
I also didn’t realize I was an outlier. Not just at BlogHer itself, but in the world of blogging. Though I discovered some other bloggers considered “mid-life”– I thought I might be the oldest person in the entire blogosphere.
That was four years ago.
I didn’t think much about the age thing, as I went along blissfully blogging. Though people blog for many reasons, there seemed to be so many young moms with blogs. For my generation, sharing on the internet wasn’t in our comfort zone, but still, I would sometimes wonder: why are young moms just listening to each other? Don’t they realize that the best people to teach them about raising children are people like us, who have already done it? And why aren’t more of us blogging?
That was four years ago. Since then, so much has changed.
Blogs are everywhere; written by everyone, every age. Baby boomers are online like everyone else; even Facebook is dominated by an older demographic.
Some things haven’t changed, though.
For all we might be able to teach younger women about life, there’s plenty they could teach us. The mom bloggers became a powerful force using the power of their numbers—they banded together, they bonded; connecting and supporting each other.
Women our age, who do those same things in our real lives, haven’t really done as much of the same things online.
And there’s another thing that hasn’t changed. I don’t feel invisible; but many women do as they grow older. And the business of blogging, like everything else, has an age bias.
The business side isn’t something I know much about, but I do know that companies and sponsors who court mom bloggers inadvertently or intentionally ignore our demographic.
Which is confounding since our demographic has the most money.
And we buy many of the same products as younger women, the same products we bought when we were younger. (Seriously, Hershey’s, do you not agree that a woman any age makes a great brand ambassador?)
I brought up those issues in a post that I read onstage at last year’s BlogHer. So I was kind of surprised—and satisfied– to see that at this year’s BlogHer, suddenly Age was on the agenda.
Here’s the first thing that greeted everyone entering the exhibit hall with all the sponsor booths. (Note to Pfizer: Get Old.com? Next time you might want to consider asking how we feel about getting Older, not Old. You also might want to staff the booth with people old enough to know how that feels.)
There were parties – specifically for baby boomers (not that we don’t also love the parties everyone else does!)
There’s the new Boombox network, formed to bring together “older” (cough, cough) bloggers with sponsors interested in marketing to them.
There’s a Facebook group for Bloggers over 45 that just formed to connect with and support each other.
There was a session on the BlogHer schedule called Blogging into Mid-Life, filled with fabulous women who engaged our panel with a lively and honest discussion.
Small steps, maybe, but significant—like Lanvin, which is using older women in their advertising.
So hopefully Age has Arrived. Or at least, we’re banging on the door.