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BlogHer Coverage 3: Saturday Late Morning
Monday, 2005 August 1 - 3:19 pm
This is about the birds-of-a-feather meet, and the political-blogging breakout session.

Saturday 10:15 a.m.
We have a birds-of-a-feather session about singles and dating blogs, and it seems funny and appropriate that there are just three of us, sadly hoping people will notice us. It's me, Everyday Goddess, and Zoe Tales. People who notice us aren't sure whether to make fun of us, or to try to avoid being seen with us.

It's too bad, though, because we have a really good discussion about personal blogging, the appropriateness of blogging about dates, and various risks and dangers. There don't seem to be any established rules about this: we're making it up as we go along. But we seem to agree that we have to be careful about what we say about a budding relationship, and that blogging doesn't let us be any more indiscreet than we would be in person.

Saturday 11:15 a.m.
Political Blogging Grows Up
I'm in the political blogging session. There are about fifty or sixty of us in the room. Our panelists are Roxanne Cooper, Ambra Nykol, and moderator Courtney Lowery.

This session talks about how bloggers can break out of the political blog power structure that's been created, the "parrotsphere" (great word) where each party simply sits around echoing their own talking points all over the Internet.

Ambra makes a point that many of the existing political blogs are uninspired, because they simply report and do not opine. (I would say that other political blogs are not worthy of being read because they're uninformed rants, with too much opinion and not enough fact.) But all those uninspired blogs are getting hits, because a lot of people just want to read stuff that stays within their zone of comfort and agreement.

Perhaps we should change blogging so that it becomes an informational force, putting politics into terms that people can understand? The panel seems to be suggesting that political bloggers need to be responsible for presenting accurate and level-headed information and arguments, and improving the dialogue of the political process. Traditional media outlets don't do this because they're more interested in ratings.

(The issue of credibility comes up briefly: how do we make sure the information on the blogosphere is correct? Roxanne suggests that the blogosphere is self-correcting: I'm not sure I agree with that. But the topic gets dropped before it's fully explored.)

There's a debate on how to get people to read blogs if they don't use the same sensationalist tactics that Fox News uses. I hear two excellent suggestions get made. Roxanne's suggestion is to use "sugar", mixing in non-political posts with political ones, to draw people into topics even if they don't normally go around reading dedicated political blogs. (Yay! I totally agree.) A person in the audience (maybe Anna John? I don't remember) suggests we use the social networking power of the blogosphere to bring people into civilized debate. The theory is that the tone of political discourse will be better if it's held between blog-friends.

It's another good discussion, cut short by time. It's not a women's issue in particular, but I think that's okay.
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Posted by Ken in: bloggers


Comment #1 from Wag (Guest)
2005 Aug 2 - 12:50 am : #
Hey Ken - it was great to meet you and I really enjoyed our wee but mighty BOF discussion with the Everyday Goddess. I am so bummed that I didn't invite myself to tag along with you and the MB's 'cause y'all definitely had more fun than I did at dinner.
Comment #2 from Nicholas (Guest)
2005 Aug 2 - 11:12 am : #
Most of the political blogs I've seen seem to be ideologically leaning one way or the other. Not really reporting of news. There is a definite slant. People keep talking about how blogging is reporting and will replace mass media news. It seems more like spin to me. Spin by the blogger based on his/her politcal slant.

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