Monday, July 10, 2006

Blog conference set in August

On June 16th and 17th there was a bloggers confab in Charlottesville. Next month there will be another bloggers confab, this time in Martinsville. So, it seems as blogging becomes more popular, there will likely be more away-from-the-keyboard activities out there, having to do with blogging.

One reason for these get-togethers is surely the curiosity bloggers must develop in the process of exchanging views over the Internet with a person they don’t know. Like, will the blogger who calls himself “NotLiberace,” turn out to be a 15-year-old girl, or a 55-year-old man, or maybe even ... Liberace?

The Blogs United in Martinsville for free Speech in Martinsville, Aug. 25th and 26th, is being promoted by its blogging organizers, and by its supporters, using what else? Their blogs. As far as I could see, the Sorensen Blog Summit in Charlottesville, which I attended last month, was promoted much the same way.

Popular blogs have what admen call “reach,” just as television shows and newspapers do. How much reach such a vehicle has determines how much it costs to buy an ad. But political blogs, now boosted by aggregators like Virginia Political Blogs and LeftyBlogs, have the power to reach hundreds of other bloggers/readers in an hour. Then, if the message is interesting/righteous, those hundreds can spread the word to thousands in another hour. And, so it goes...

This phenomenon is putting power into hands that -- before this startling breakthrough -- could not have gotten it in conventional ways over five, or ten years, of working one’s way into such a position of influence. Of course, along with this new tool comes a cacophony of noise that will drown out most would-be promoters, before they even get started. So, there are certainly no guarantees, but when a blog -- such as Daily Kos -- is getting 600,000 hits a day, that’s a lot of reach, noise or no noise.

Still, as a guy who’s spent many a year promoting movies, Rock ‘n’ Roll shows, various stunts, my alternative magazine (SLANT), my local broadcast ventures -- as well as my sundry opinions -- this breakthrough is mind-boggling.

As an observer of all things political, I have to shake my head and say -- uh, oh, this won’t last long. The powers that be will surely try to stop it, and probably soon. People who have power generally don’t like to see it watered down. So, bloggers, enjoy this era while you can. Politicians are surely going to try to take control of the political blogosphere.

Meanwhile the mission statement of the Blogs United in Martinsville for free Speech is as follows:

“The mission of Blogs United in Martinsville for free Speech is to provide a forum to assess the state of the Virginia blog community, discuss its future, and explore ideas that utilize free speech to foster innovation, connectivity, and influence. To this end, Blogs United in Martinsville for free Speech is dedicated to enhancing personal relationships and respect among bloggers, journalists, and public figures, regardless of partisan affiliation, through both the formal agenda and informal socializing opportunities offered in a casual, fun atmosphere.”

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