Blogs United in Hampton Roads wrapup

Blogs United logoLet me start by thanking Jim Hoeft and Jay Hughes for the heavy lifting of putting together this conference. Yesterday was packed with topics in a great location.

Secondly, let me thank the speakers, electeds and candidates who came to the conference: LG Bill Bolling, AG Bob McDonnell, Senator Creigh Deeds, House Democratic Caucus Chair Delegate Brian Moran, Delegate Kris Amundson, Delegate Bob Brink, Delegate John Cosgrove, candidate John Miller (Senate 1st), candidate Craig Hudgins (Senate 8th), DPVA Communications director Danae Jones, RPV Communications director Shaun Kenney, The Virginian-Pilot’s Don Luzzatto, the Daily Press’ Hugh Lessig, BNN editor Dave Mastio, attorney Kevin Grierson, and from the office of the Secretary of Defense, New Media Operations chief Jack Holt. In case you haven’t seen them, the Daily Press writeup is here and the Virginian-Pilot is here.

Finally, kudos to the participants themselves. I’m not even going to try to list them all. It was good to meet some for the first time, see others again, and chat with folks who are not even bloggers but who are interested in this new horizontal media. I have to admit that I missed parts of the various scheduled workshops and presentations because I was outside talking to folks, which was my primary reason for going to the conference in the first place 😉 The interaction was, shall we say, interesting.

Some of the rancor leading up to the conference carried over and made for some uncomfortable moments. On the whole, though, the gathered group did a decent job of being on “good behavior.” Planning for next year’s conference is already underway. Dates and locations were tossed around along with the appointing of a committee to move forward on getting Blogs United set up as a nonprofit organization.

I have to say, though, that I think this year’s conference will be the last one that will be bipartisan. And that is unfortunate.

Senator Deeds’ remarks last night speak to part of the reason, the whole “us-versus-them, left-versus-right mentality where voices of moderation from the center are drowned out by voices of extremism from the margins.” Add the egos of the bloggers into the mix and you have a combustible combination. The truth is, though, that the blogs are not the only culprits here. The electeds have to share in the blame. They are willing participants in this charade, pandering to bloggers who demonstrate the very behavior that they disdain, never holding them accountable — in essence, rewarding their “bad boy” behavior.

The electeds are complicit in their failure to “elevate those voices that speak with mutual respect and sincerity and marginalize those that only seek to poison the debate.” Yes, there are exceptions. On the whole, though, the electeds speak privately about these things but never publicly. But if they want to raise the level of discourse, they have to do so by modeling the very behavior they wish us to demonstrate.

Until and unless each of us recognizes our own role in adding to the pile of manure, the aroma emanating from the blogosphere will continue to be one that smells. And the public will continue to be turned off by politics and politicians. I don’t think that’s what anyone wants.

The internet presents us with a unique opportunity, a new way for candidates and voters to communicate and interact. It’s a chance to build a new community, one where we can discuss and debate the issues of the day, not only between those with whom we agree, but also those with whom we disagree. Because at the end of the day, we all are Americans, we all are Virginians, and we all want what’s best for us.


24 thoughts on “Blogs United in Hampton Roads wrapup

  1. Kilo, Mad, Bunky, Matt – it was fun meeting each of you and having a bit of a chance to chat with you.

    My assessment that this was the last attempt at a bipartisan conference really came in the period leading up to the conference. While I was hoping that the conference itself would change my mind, that didn’t happen.

  2. Well now, Isn’t it interesting that Mad Hatter is concerned about his first blog conference being the last bi-partisan one…

    Let’s put this in perspective, this was my fourth conference if Bill Bolling’s day on the hill also counts… I have never brought my blog wars into those conferences because it is more than rude to go some where in a bi-partisan atmosphere and intentionally try to provoke people.

    Witness the DWJ crew that was on the ‘steering’ committee itself. Their first conference, and they do what? wear stickers of a smiley face with a black eye and label themselves ‘SWAC Beaters’? Interestingly enough Kilo, who has never had a problem with anyone at other events get provoked into a shouting match with another blogger… It takes two to tango…

    Throwing myron into this mix, who was well behaved at Blogs United in Martinsville last year interestingly enough, but then all of a sudden you have what played out at our ‘giving faces to bloggers’ conference”… to promote bi-partisanship? Does this group of people seriously want people to believe they had a positive impact on bi-partisanship at that conference?

    That is called ‘projection’ people… accusing others of what you fear most about yourself… You see it was us Conservatives that ’caused’ all that trouble, broke up the bi-partisanship of it all.

    On another note, when I look at those stickers, I think of domestic violence, and that is no laughing matter, and should not be dimenished in any way.. You can think of a whole lot better themes to use to needle someone than that… victims of domestic violence sure wouldn’t think it funny, I bet.

    However, it can be noted that the Wendesday and Thursday before my conference I had anonymous commenters on my blog threatening to “knock my teeth down my throat” because I dared to challenge another blogger for talking about how they got a ‘tiny little tear’ when they saw that a bridge in our county was dedicated to a fallen area Marine… Wonder who was behind that? A anonymous commenter named Cletus Jones… never heard of him/her… That commenter hangs out almost exclusively on myron’s blog… Coincidence right?

    Furthermore after the conference myron & the DWJ ‘Crew’ went to great lengths to put up posts further meant to further provoke the people they ‘beat up on’ ? & now they have the gumption to lament the ‘last bi-partisan’ conference?

    Am I the only one who see’s this? Or does anyone else want to step forward, and see this for what it is….

  3. Mr. Donkey, The Daily Whackjob only has positive post up about BU. No one should be held responsible for comments made by anyone other than themselves and none of us (or Myron) are Cletus Jones.

    Most of us at the conference enjoyed each other’s company regardless of their political leanings. There were two tense moments and one of them involved two Republicans. That was not at all a partisan squabble I don’t think any of us at DWJ approve of physical violence or the threat of it.

    Since you feel so strongly about the stickers, I apologize for wearing one. I should have know things were still very unsettled between us after our conversation Friday night. I’m sorry.

  4. Partial nudity, fart jokes, bipartisan conventions – There things we hold in high esteem at DWJ.

    STD.. we had fun. The guy Kilo pushed had nothing to do with beating SWACs and everything to do with Kilo being absolutely sloshed. Pretty much everyone got along well, actually.

    VJP – Please don’t give up hope for future bipartisan conventions. If there is a liberal and a conservative convention, DWJ will attend them both unless banned. Hopefully you will do the same?

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