I've always been interested in politics, but have been a political blogger for less than two years. So when I heard about this thing called Netroots Nation, it piqued my curiosity. So in 24 hours, I flew across seven time zones, from a vacation in Europe to a convention in Minneapolis. And after a half day here, I am still a bit jet lagged, but it is well worth it.
Just to be in the presence of thousands of liberals and progressives is a breath of fresh air in a world filled by mean-spirited Republicans and turncoat Democrats (in name only.)
The day started with a lighthearted look at the news from some of my media heros – Lizz Winstead, Sam Seder, Pam Spaulding, Shannyn Moore, and others. They got the progressive adrenaline running to prepare the group for the breakout sessions. And with eleven parallel sessions to choose from, it was difficult to pick which one to attend.
Since I'm involved in a political campaign for a great state assembly candidate, I decided to attend a presentation entitled “How to Get Your Candidate/Organization Organizing Online Cheaply.” Surrounded by activists with more iPads, Nooks, laptops, and other tech goodies than you would find in a well-stocked Best Buy, the panelists ran through a seemingly endless list of tools – some free and some for a price. They discussed the pros and cons of using these tools in political campaigns of various sizes and scope. In addition to specialized tools, the panelists and participants had quite a lot of good advice on using e-mail and social networking.
As we have seen in today's news from outside the Trenton State House, Progressives and Unions are notoriously poor at getting their message out. So this panel was important if only those leaders on the left can learn from these techniques and have the discipline to stay on message and refrain from name calling.
The second session I chose this morning was “Managing a State Community Blog.” As a writer for bluejersey.com, this session was also very valuable. And while I passed on some of the hints to Blue Jersey's Rosi Efthim, it was good to hear that New Jersey's premiere liberal blog is held in high esteem by peers around the country.
For the rest of today, there are two more parallel breakout sessions to choose from, and then tonight's keynote speech by a true patriotic American, Senator Russ Feingold. And of course, I visited the exhibit hall and scooped up several more bumper stickers for my car.
Look for another post tonight if jet lag doesn't get to me first.