Politics at BloggerCon

As an optimist about the power of blogging and other user-led tools to create positive change, I’m excited that I’ll be leading the discussion on politics at BloggerCon IV on June 23-24 in San Francisco. I had a fascinating time at the first BloggerCon, but geography and other commitments have conspired against me for the succeeding two. With BCIV just a Bart ride away, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Dave Winer and I had a discussion this morning about both the role of a discussion leader and how we might frame the politics discussion. I agree with Dave that the primary role of the discussion leader is to keep the conversation vigorous and on target, to ensure that everyone can be an active participant and that everyone comes away feeling they have both enjoyed the conversation and learned something.

In the nature of an unconference like BloggerCon, the approach to the topic will be protean, not fixed. But I think the starting point for the politics discussion will be to examine whether and how blogging and other new participatory media can make a positive contribution to the 2008 national election in the US. There’s a real risk that these great tools will just make negative, attack politics more potent. I don’t think it has to be that way.

The other foundation of the discussion should be understanding what the next great shift might be. I recently had a discussion with a leading political consultant who said one very perceptive thing: “The Dean campaign did something truly innovative and new in 2004. But if anyone thinks the next step is to do that, only better, they’re missing the real opportunity.” What’s exciting is that I don’t think anyone has a clear idea yet of what that next revolution might entail. BloggerCon IV will be a wonderful platform for that discussion.

6 thoughts on “Politics at BloggerCon

  1. Pingback: Scripting News Annex » Scripting News for 5/30/2006

  2. Charlie

    It is a fascinating question as to what role blogs can and will play in the 2008 presidential election. There are already numerous blogs out there dedicated to both the race itself and to various potential candidates. It also frequently comes up as discussion on all sorts of blogs, but what role that will play is the big question.
    At this point there are many out there that are proponents of particular politicians, but there is a strong element of the negative, bloggers attacking potential candidates.

  3. Pingback: TISCAR ::::: Research on blogs » BloggerCon IV en San Francisco

  4. Robert Cox


    I am excited to be heading out to SF from NY tomorrow evening and looking forward to this session.

    Some folks might be interested to listen to Ed Cone’s session from BC III at Stanford Law School which sought to focus on Local Politics. I say sought because the session was four days after election day in 2004 and folks naturally wanted to talk about what happened in the ’04 presidential campaign. Ed also ran the politics session at BlogNashville in ’05 and covered some similar points.

    Here is the audio:

    For who want just the highlights, here are some good notes from the session:


    I spoke this morning with Pat Ruffini at the RNC about the event. No one from the RNC is coming (as far as he or I know). One point that I raised last time was that the discussion tended to focus on politics from the perspective of the Dems which tends to be more bottom up.

    Before anyone tried to throw me out 🙂

    I want to be clear that I was a registered Dem but went independent between voting for Clinton in 1992 and voting against Clinton in 1996. I voted for Bush twice but I am hardly some GOP operative. At the same time, I have had the chance to talk with Pat as well as Chuck DeFeo and Michael Turk who ran the RNC/Bush-Cheney ecampaign and if no one else is there to do so I will try and challenge some of the grassroots orthodoxy by putting forward what I understand to be there more top down approach to grassroots organizing.

    If I could sum it up in a word, they are more inclined to be conservative (surprise!) about adopting new technology including blogging, podcasting, social networking, web2.0 stuff but once they do they go all in.

    I hope we can touch on the merits of bottom up/top down styles in campaigns and the application of blogging technologies.

  5. DidNotMakeTheCut

    Did anyone attend YearlyKos(.org) in Las Vegas (June 8-11, 2006)? Many of these issues were discussed there. It was a really fantastic convention.


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