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Monday, April 30, 2007

Blog Summit wrap, and so on

by folkbum

I don't think I have that much to add to what everyone else has been saying: For bloggers themselves, the panels were not the attraction, but rather the people and the chance to get to know them better. I took notes, but didn't find all that much to be noteworthy. However, here are a few things that stood out to me:

During the first panel, about the effects of blogs on campaigns, Mike Plaisted made an important point, one that I have made repeatedly: In Wisconsin, Southeast Wisconsin, in particular, conservative blogs occasionally get the advantage of the talk-show megaphone. Charlie Sykes, he of the biggest megaphone, laughed it off, but Jessica McBride, one panel later, affirmed exactly what Mike was saying.

That first panel also provided the most important line of the day: John Kraus noted that the true effectiveness of blogs will be measured by how well they do two things: accountability (for media, politicians, etc.) and action. I don't do enough of the latter, I know.

In the sceond panel, the Journal Sentinel's Tim Cuprisin--who I really enjoyed listening to, by the way--broke the news that the Journal Communications blogging software, which he agreed was terrible, will be updated soon with the ability to comment. Charlie Sykes later confirmed on his blog he'd be adding comments, too.

I didn't pay a lot of attention to Jennifer Peterson's presentation on legalities, which, when I get sued, as is almost ineveitable, I will undoubtedly regret.

The fourth panel, about the lack of diversity in political blogging, was the most interesting of the panels I wasn't on. All the panelists, I thought, handled the question and the comments well. Dasha Kelly and Jennifer morales made the valid point that for many people in the non-white, non-middle-class, non-male demographics, spending a lot of time in front of a computer is a low priority. And even among those who can and do, politics is often not what they want to spend time on, as opposed to connecting with friends, pursuing other interests, or networking. It's true that the technological barriers to entry into the political blogging world may be whittling away, but not everyone thinks, as we do, that this kind of blogging is the best use of their time.

That said, I would love to see more different voices among the bloggers I read who write about Wisconsin politics. Whenever I invite guest posters, I always try to identify people whose voices haven't been heard, people without their own blogs, potential bloggers of color, and women. It's hard to get some of those people to say yes--as evidenced by the lack of their appearance here despite my invitation--with the usual reason being that they don't have time.

The final panel was a lot of fun, as I knew it would be, as was the hanging out at Caffrey's afterwards. There are pictures around on flickr and elsewhere (click that top link to find some), and, eventually, Marquette will host the webcast. There was apparently also a Fox6 news story, which you can find linked on everyone else's blogs, too.

This begins the busiest part of the work year for me, so I'm really, really going to be slowing down, I swear. I'm hoping those guest bloggers can pick up the slack.

In the meantime, don't forget to come out to the Coffee House this Saturday for my songwriters group's annual new song show. It will be a good time, I assure you.

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