Thursday, April 24, 2008

BlogLeft's Next Big Action

First, I wanted to issue a big thank you to everyone who came to last Saturday's event - and all those who were in there in spirit. We definitely represent some of the most active, hardcore citizens in the state - and it's that 20 person dinner and a discussion in life that so often is the catalyst for change. I apologize that it's taken me a few days to get this info and wrap-up out, but I've been waiting to hear about exciting news that I'll detail below.

First, however, let's give a brief wrap-up for those who were there in spirit only, or who had to leave early. It was big (22 people!), it was messy and it was fun. It couldn't have turned out better, from my view, because it accomplished all of Lynne and I's goals: it was a great opportunity to match names (and screen names) to faces, meet up with old friends in the community and, most importantly, to see where we're all at. Now we know what people are interested in doing both short term, medium, and maybe even long.

Saturday was step one in reaching our community's promise in the effort to create a better Massachusetts, and since then step two is well on its way. The basic gist of what most people were interested in last week was creating more events across the state that would expand and empower the grassroots and netroots to those who'd like to be involved, but aren't. Specifically, most people were interested holding forums that would teach people the blog and netroot ropes. To that end, many of us who attended the meeting have been very busy since: last Saturday, it was the group's wish to hold its first such forum at the State's Democratic Party Convention. It's not official yet, but it's looking like that's going to happen (still ironing out some details).

So that's the short term goal. The medium term goal would be to take the first forums we hold at the convention as a concept test run and create a version meant specifically for local communities, where any blogger would be able to host a small group and show them the ropes. For example, if there aren't any blogs in your community - and you think that's a bad thing (it is) - why not talk with the Town or Ward Democratic Committee, or another local activist group, and see if they'd be interested in a how-to-blog event? It may be enough to kick start a new town blog, or to bring that citizen base and grassroots talent to already-existing local community blogs like Below Boston.

If anyone is interested in this, please let me know. We're still looking for a few volunteers to give the group input and insight on exactly what to talk about - both in terms of blogging in general, as well as the technical side of blogging - and there's still talk about whether or not to hold a booth at the convention, which would take even more volunteers as well as a small fundraising effort, since booths do cost money (not too much though). I hope people enjoyed themselves last Saturday, will be looking forward to our future meet-up events and, most importantly, are excited for all the focused, organized, efficient and effective work ahead - I know I am.


Anonymous said...

It was good to meet more people — I hope there will be many more such meetings forthcoming.
One thing I didn't have time to bring up at the meeting: I think there's a lot of potential to be found in hyper-local blogs. My canonical example is usually h2otown, but it's been down for a while, unfortunately. But I've learned far more about the culture, political climate and day-to-day workings of Watertown from h2otown in six months than I ever did about Waltham in five years living there; it's a fantastic resource. The owner of h2otown, Lisa Williams, also blogs at PBS's MediaShift IdeaLab and, probably of more relevance here, at PlaceBlogger. From a political perspective, I think it's clear that getting people involved at the "lowest," most local levels is absolutely crucial if we want to build a strong, lasting grassroots movement. Involvement at the town level lets people see how, as simply as showing up and caring, they can have an impact; some of the people who show up to town meetings today will be running for Congress in ten years.

Ryan Adams said...

I completely agree!

Extremely local blogs have the largest potential for serious impact. It's my hope that having some regional "how-to" blogs will be a catalyst to directly create more of them. Heck, if there's wifi where we hold these events in the future, we could even build a freebie starter site for the locals at these kinds of things...

Ryan Adams said...

regional "how to blog" forums, I meant

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