Before I met Elisa Camahort Page, I had thought that BlogHer was an initiative that was more closely allied with the idealistic ("hippy") roots of social media. True enough, the ideal of promoting women's creativity and natural connectedness has been realized with BlogHer's hugely successful annual conference and website. But what struck me about Elisa in person was her keen business sense - along with an ability to see how blogging -- by, for, and about women -- could be used to create business improvements: for better customer interaction, for better product development, and for promoting entrepreneurialism in journalism.
Elisa and Jory DesJardins founded BlogHer with the first conference in 2005 (funny, how many critical events in social media took place in 2005?) It's clear that the success of BlogHer's many conferences (there's now a BlogHer Business, BlogHer Food, and others) could not have been pulled off without tremendous organizational ability and dedication. But it also strikes me that they have tapped into something uniquely valuable... that combination of mission and pragmatism that draws so many entrepreneurs to social media.
BlogHer has just published a preliminary agenda for their big conference in San Diego in August, and it reflects both sides of social business. Hope I can attend this year.