Autostraddle Live! Come See Me at BlogHer 2011 Talking About How You’ve Driven Me Insane

What is BlogHer 2011?

BlogHer ’11 will bring over three thousand attendees together from all over the world to share hands-on learning, rich discussions, opportunities to meet with the brands that support them and plentiful networking opportunities.

Last year Alex Vega, our design director, was a panelist at BlogHer 2010, which was held in New York City. She schooled a room that was probably 75% Moms on how to enhance your content with graphics and pictures and so forth and I snuck into the gay cocktail party and everyone had A Time. See:


This year, BlogHer is taking over San Diego from August 5th-6th and apparently it’s my turn to wow the crowd of people who’ve never heard of Autostraddle with my incredible expertise in the following topic:

How Do You Sustain an Online Community and Keep Your Own Sanity?!

This is a funny panel for me to be on, because I have definitely gone completely insane and I’m 75% sure it’s your fault. If I wasn’t on this panel, I would go to this panel:

Among the top reasons that bloggers blog, according to every social media study BlogHer has ever conducted, is to create and be a part of a community. But make no mistake: building, nurturing, and sustaining community can be as draining as it is bolstering. It can pump you up anddrag you down. Your community can be there for you when you need them… and sometimes they can be the last thing you want to deal with! If you’re in it for the long haul, if the long-term gains far outweigh the occasional unwanted drama, how do you take care of your community and yourself? How do you enlist deputies? How do you recognize when there are elements, topics, or members that need to go? Some community-builders, such asEden KennedyElisa BatistaJulia RobertsMarie “Riese” Lyn Bernard, and moderator Maria Niles, share their insights and concrete tactics.

Will there be other gays there?

YES DUH. Our friend Vikki from Up Popped a Fox will be on a panel called Peer Networking: Working ToI'll be Geeking Out at BlogHer '11!gether To Help All Boats Rise, which is probably about boating and our friend Polly of Lesbian Dad is on a panel called The Write Brain: Essential Writing and Editing Skills, which I believe is about brain surgery. Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend will be lending her expertise to Old-School Bloggers: Beginner to Big-Time to Burnout and Everywhere in Between.

Autumn Sandeen, a transgender woman who blogs at Pam’s House Blend, will be speaking on “Cyberbullying Isn’t Just for Teens: What to Do if You’re the Victim of Trolls, Haters… and Worse.” Barb Dybwad, who got a free t-shirt from Taylor at Dinah Shore 2010 and now runs Tecca (which Taylor now writes for), will offer expertise on “How to Pitch Freelance Editorial Work from Some Busy Editorial People.” And also Mombian will teach you why diversity is “good business” and also probably all these lezzers will be at Deb on the Rocks’ Queerosphere Party.

You can buy tickets at the BlogHer website.

If any of you, members of my online community, have any insight to how I’ve apparently been keeping my sanity while managing you people, please do share in the comments!


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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3225 articles for us.


  1. my humble opinion is that all sane people are sane in an authentic way because they have learned how to go insane and keep perspective simultaneously. ie, ya been there, but you figured out how to get back again. AND, Riese, you got real heart. The AS has not somehow been robbed of its heart, ie, you have not been robbed of yours despite a slew of crazy bananas. So AS remains a place of heart (and mind and body). Tres humaine. Will there be a telecast of the panel?

    • no but it will be live-tweeted and also transcribed in its entirety by some intrepid transcriber being!

  2. I can tell you that Vodka is what helps me keep my sanity. Maybe a little bit too much vodka since for a second there I went “OMG Riese and JULIA ROBERTS! Pretty women!”
    Maybe I’ll drive to San Diego for this. It would be fitting.

    • IKR. I totally thought the same thing OMG JULIA ROBERTS and then the question came up and I was like….drugs Riese. Drugs. Drugs are awesome, tell your Tinkerbell.

  3. Hey, lj. I can actually kind of answer that question, since I also now work for BlogHer. We’re in the process of figuring that out (videotaping all the sessions, which number over 50). Video, if we can swing it, might be available as a live feed, or maybe after the fact as something you can watch. For a modest but definite fee, however, since this whole shebang is not run largely on donations, like some awe-inspiring, community-driven websites I know of (*cough-AS-cough*).

    You can find out about getting access to live & after-the-fact video feed by noodling around somewhere near the page Reise has linked up there, certainly by mid-late July.

    Meanwhile & regardless, every panel is live-blogged & there’ll be a written record of Reise’s brilliance in matters regarding both sanity preservation & sanity pickling (again, will be a link offa the pages.

    Cultivating, nurturing, and holding together a meaningful, heterogeneous,self-challenging community is both the most important and most difficult thing feminists can do. It’s heavy heavy lifting and distance running and alchemy all together, and the community here at Autostraddle is one of the finest examples of this online. I really can’t wait to hear Reise schoolin everybody about how she & her minions pull it off, with or without the sanity.

  4. I wish I could go ’cause Riese I wanna see you on stage being brilliant. Someone should film this and post it on autostraddle.

    I think the reason you’re not currently in an asylum wearing a straitjacket (would you call that lesbian chic?) is because you have so much passion and you’re keeping the content fresh and different. I mean, AS covers all kinds of stuff, you don’t limit yourself or the team.

  5. Hey, I nominate Pam or Autumn as flipcam operator, or better yet, Vikki. She’s referred to herself as the Autostraddle Den Mother. I’d gladly volunteer myself but as StaffHer I am pretty sure I’ll be runnin back & forth between panels in a spastic blur. (Deb Rox (Deb on the Rox) & Dana Rudolph (Mombian) will be chit-chatting in another room at the same time, alas.)

  6. YES. My home county! If anyone needs any bar/food recommendations, I’m here. Also, word is that I’m fucking charming.

    • [brace yerself! post-length comment! a specialty, whenever I come out from under a rock!]

      After my first BlogHer, at which I spoke in 2008, initially quite expecting to be freaked out by what I expected to be an overwhelming # of ladies & an underwhelming # of women (accounts here & here), I came around to thinking (a) what’s wrong with me that I mistook the ladies as barriers or threats rather than allies, and (b) hello, fox in the hen house! (visual aid illustrating a body part of a famous Tennesee “mommyblogger,” from backstage at a reading).

      But also: I submit that the term “mommyblogger” is a misogynistic reduction of women who are parents, writing online, period. When we repeat that term we repeat its misogynistic dismissal of women as writers and thinkers, which we’ve seen before in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s notorious rant that “America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women.” Scribbling, posting, whatever.

      When one of us womens says we’re posting but the other women who are different from us are scribbling, we’re the ones being duped, & doing The Man’s work for him.

      As a female parent who writes online, I’ve found it eye-opening to look at other such women and actually see them, the whole range of them, and consider the work we can do together as allies. Granted, some of the more visible women parents writing online confine their words & “beat” to commercial, consumerist, domestic issues. Consider, however, that the very reason they are visible is that their message is easily telegraphed by the interests who either profit from them, or profit from exploiting/ caricaturing their impact.

      Right there next to them, equally dismissed/ reduced by the moniker “mommyblogger,” are those who write political commentary from within the category “mother” (e.g. Mom’s Rising, founded by’s Joan Blades, Viva la Feminista, & Pundit Mom, to take just three).

      Liz Henry, a colleague and a queer woman whose blogging includes reflections on her parenthood, among other things, was among the trio of folks who unmasked the straight dudes masquerading as lesbian bloggers (here, on Amina and here, on Paula Brooks). That’s one “mommyblogger” whose work online just rocked all of our worlds.

      Last note: when you presume heterosexuality in “mommy” then you invisibilize the queer ones. Which of course doesn’t help any of us.

      I know, I know: a lengthy, humorless reply to a lighthearted jest. But AS is a fantastic place for actual political discourse, too. And as one nearing the end of her 3rd decade of lesbo activism, it’s hard to see opportunities for coalition-building work squandered or even just misunderstood.

      • I just got took to school.

        I haven’t done it here but I’ve used mommyblogger elsewhere and hadn’t thought twice about the implications. So thank you, really.

  7. How you’ve kept your sanity?
    Supportive family and friends, exercise, and prescribed meds, (taking as prescribed).
    I could throw in a few comments about upbring, etc., but I’ll refrain.

  8. This maybe isn’t constructive, but I think kitten pictures actually do help make everything better. As a kitten graphic was second in this post, I think you agree. :) You and the whole team have managed to build an amazing community that really works like a family. Given that relationship, I think it’s perfectly acceptable for you to tell us to chill the fuck out sometimes & I think you have before. My point here is don’t be afraid to take time for yourself and communicate that with your readers. That was possibly a roundabout explanation. Whatever. FYI – my heart swelled with pride when I read this. :)

  9. This won’t help you explain anything I’m sure, but Autostraddle is my favorite online community. You guys (the staff) are all really approachable and you are super honest about personal stuff that I think all of us can relate to, and it helps the rest of us to feel really comfortable here. Also, I love that this isn’t just some gossip site, you guys talk about real shit that’s affecting us and help us find new ways to relate to it. I just feel like there’s so much more personal investment in this site than any other online community, and I’ve been a part of MANY of them. <3

  10. Why does this have to cost so much money?
    I mean…I’m IN San Diego for the week of the conference and can’t fucking afford to go. That is annoying.

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