Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On the road to Netroots Nation 2011

Leaving tomorrow for Netroots Nation 2011 in Minneapolis. I've been blogging seriously (and not so seriously) from Cheyenne since 2006. But I'm just beginning to understand the power of blogs and social media. I also understand that I need to engage in more outreach. This is tough for a writer turned blogger. We fiction writers sometimes feel as if we exist in a vacuum. Combine that with the fact that I live in Wyoming where we all sometimes feel isolated -- that's a double whammy. Connecting across the blogosphere can be easy -- you just have to know who to connect with -- and why -- and how.

I learned from the big prog-bloggers at Daily Kos (posting as Cheyenne Mike) and Crooks & Liars. In the Rocky Mountain region, I studied the bloggers in Montana at 4&20 blackbirds and Left in the West. The sites have multiple authors and get plenty of comments from fellow travelers and their opponents on the Right. I've featured guest bloggers but never felt comfortable relinquishing control. There are some good progressive writers in Wyoming, but I haven't yet made the recruiting effort.

A few months ago I launched a blogroll of some of my fellow progressives, individuals and organizations. That's kept me up to date and helped form a community. In Cheyenne, there's Out in Wyoming by Jeran Artery and Blowing in the Wyoming Wind by Rodger McDaniel. Check out these active blogs. The Equality State Watch at the Equality State Policy Center site tracks the shenanigans of the energy industry and our Republican-dominated Legislature. This is especially helpful in our one-party state. Republicans feel as if they are entitled to their policies but everyone else can go to hell. Witness the latest legislative health care hearings tracked by me, the Equality State Police Center and Rodger McDaniel. Wyoming also has a loosey-goosey open meetings law that allows these sessions to go unattended and unnoticed. There are few newspapers and radio/TV outlets with the reporters to cover hearings. That's where prog-bloggers come in.

Check out the blogs on the sidebar. Comment freely. Start your own blog.

Browsing the Netroots Nation schedule, I realize that I need to be in two or three places at once. Here's a list of sessions that look intriguing:

Where Crazy Comes From: Reckless Republicans in State Legislatures
Getting Ready Now: How Progressives are Mobilizing Early to Support Bold Candidates in 2012
Managing a State Community Blog
Beyond Environmental Justice: Making Conservation Inclusive and Representative
Narrating the Nation: Creating Political Strategies and Poetic Stories for Powerful Effect
Bloggers Unite! How the Netroots Rallied in Wisconsin
Do It Again: Getting 2008 First-time Voters Out in 2012
Current Trends in Website Mistakes

Dozens more. Also a few social gatherings on the agenda. This NN11 scholarship attendee will see how he fares with violating physics to be five places at one. Stay tuned to this blog for on-site revelations and confusions from Minneapolis.

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