Ilene Chaiken and Paula Gregorowicz
Ilene Chaiken and Paula Gregorowicz

I couldn’t resist using this as the title of this post only because after musing upon it for a while while kayaking the other day I wondered if it was the pursuit of money, the subsequent corruption by power, and then losing it that caused Jenny to snap.  Our house is still voting that she either killed herself on purpose or by accident.  Of course no one knows for sure, but when Ilene Chaiken spoke as part of the keynote panel at BlogHer ’09, she did attempt to reassure the fans in the audience that she will resolve the whole conundrum if/when The L Word movie is made.

As a side note, I think Zoe Gaymo had the funniest title of a post/photo caption in her post “Me & the only woman who knows who killed Jenny”.  Thanks to Zoe for taking this photo for me.

You can catch some Twitnotes of the session courtesy of Lesbian Dad.

While I would’ve liked to hear her talk more about the lessons learned and future possibilities from the now defunct online community of OurChart.com rather than The L Word, overall I found the discussion very engaging.  In addition to Chaiken on the panel were Tina Brown of The Daily Beast and Donna Byrd of The Root.com.  The session was moderated by Lisa Stone, co-founder of BlogHer.

The name of the game when it comes to marrying sponsorship with social media and blogs,  according to all three women, is transparency.  All three have dealt with varying sponsorship and advertising online and off and it is simply a fact of life.  Yet, audiences can be very forgiving of tastefully, clearly identified paid-for content.  Chaiken shared how back in the early L Word days, not a single corporation would agree to be an on-air sponsor when she was looking for someone to sponsor Dana.  Subaru stepped up as it has done a great deal for the LGBT community.  Brown explained that sponsored content on The Daily Beast is clearly identified.

All agreed that the key to success online is to clearly identify your audience and then differentiate yourself from other blogs/companies.

Perhaps the most striking comment from Chaiken was one that I have intuitively agreed with for years.  As lesbians, do we have more in common with identifying primarily with our sexuality and the LGBT community or, with large groups of women of similar interests, professions, etc.?  As a company, which demographic do you then align yourself with?  Based on her experience, she has found that in many ways we have more in common with large groups of women.  This is not to say to ignore or discount the commonalities with the LGBT community but more-so as a primary identifying factor when it comes to advertising, demographics, etc.

I walked away from the panel far more enlightened about the state of making money via social media and the importance of always staying true to your integrity in a way that is authentic and transparent.  It might not be the road to quick riches but is the only approach sustainable in the long run.

Now you can watch the keynote presentation with Ilene Chaiken, Tina Brown, and Donna Byrd via video.