The Amazing YearlyKos Convention

The author of today’s post, Sheryl Canter, is an Online Writer and Editorial Manager at Environmental Defense.

I attended the YearlyKos Convention in Chicago last week, and what an amazing event it was! I expected to learn ways to blog more effectively, and to meet some of my fellow bloggers. All that happened. The sessions were great, and I met many people I’d previously known only by their writing.

But I didn’t know when I signed up that I’d also get to interact with the Democratic presidential candidates.

One of the panelists at the Global Warming session was Grist’s David Roberts. There’s been a lot of debate on Gristmill about cap-and-trade versus carbon tax. (See our cross-posts on the topic from last February, and again in May.) So I was pleasantly surprised to hear David say that climate change legislation is going to happen, that it’s going to be cap-and-trade, and that we need to push hard for good cap-and-trade legislation now rather than wait for a new administration.

The thing that’s so great about blogging versus conventional media is that people can talk back, respond to what you write. In true Web 2.0 style, the "right to respond" prevailed in our sessions with the presidential candidates. Unlike televised debates, we were not asked to keep our reactions to ourselves. We freely cheered and booed the answers the candidates gave.

The questions had been submitted in advance by conference participants, and selected by the DailyKos people. One asked if the candidates would appoint a White House blogger, which all said they would. After the debate, we attended a break-out session with the candidate of our choice, and there we could raise our hands and ask our questions directly. It’s the first time I had a dialog with someone who might well end up being our next president.

Web 2.0 – and blogs, in particular – empower people to engage with those sharing information and opinions, rather than just passively take it in. What a great thing this is! Do you agree? Disagree? Exercise your power to tell me what you think!

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