Last week I was surprised to learn that L Word showrunner and former OurChart.com CEO Ilene Chaiken was scheduled as a keynote speaker at the 2009 BlogHer conference, which took place July
Last week I was surprised to learn that L Word showrunner and former OurChart.com CEO Ilene Chaiken was scheduled as a keynote speaker at the 2009 BlogHer conference, which took place July 24 – 26 in Chicago. Focused on female bloggers and those blogging for a female readership, the con’s website touts the gathering as bringing together “bloggers from every corner of the blogosphere.” Chaiken’s inclusion as a keynote speaker was curious for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that she has made virtually no public comment about OurChart.com since it abruptly dumped its entire staff late last year, and a month or so later, was unceremoniously wiped off the face of the interwebs — an ignominious end to what had been, up until then, a vibrant and highly successful blogging and social-networking site.
As a former blogger for OurChart, and someone who had been invested in the online community there, I was wildly curious to hear what Chaiken had to say about the state of social media and the blogosphere to a group of female bloggers from all over the country. Heck, I was also eager to learn if bloggers could actually afford to shell out the $600 a pop (!!!) to attend. Certainly, I couldn’t — which means I’ve been forced to rely on media coverage of the event and the lesbian phone tree to slake my curiosity. And from what I can tell after a thorough scouring of Google, Twitter and YouTube, as well as a judicious shaking of said lesbian phone tree, it seems Chaiken didn’t even mention OurChart in her keynote remarks, speaking instead about her experience making The L Word series and product placement and advertizing in relation to film and TV. She also announced that she has begun work writing an L Word movie script.
While her co-speakers engaged with one another about blogging and social media in their roundtable panel discussion, Chaiken related every question back to making a TV show. As far as I’ve been able to discover, she said not one word about her experiences as the CEO of a ground-breaking blogging and social-networking site for women, excepting an oblique reference to being “moved” by online fan participation in terms of the decisions she made about the direction of the show. And all this at a women’s blogging conference. A peculiar and puzzling omission, don’t you think?
According to AfterEllen.com’s Trish Bendix, Ilene did promise we’d find out who killed Jenny in The L Word movie-to-be. But as fans, after being jerked around for so long by a show that made increasingly little sense, do we even care anymore? I can’t say I do. But I still miss what we built together at OurChart. I’d still love to know what in the frilly heck happened to it and if it was ever more to Ilene Chaiken than a means of acquiring fan input about her intended franchise, if she had even the slightest inkling of what a rare and wondrous thing she held in her hands before she threw it away without so much as a backward glance.
“Opportunity is often missed because we are broadcasting when we should be tuning in.” – Anonymous