Whew! That was intense!
28 hours of driving and over four days of intense networking and progressive liberal immersion later, I’m finally catching my breath from Netroots Nation 2012. This year my wife and blogging partner Anne joined me and was a staff photographer for the event. She took over 5,000 photos and we’ll have photoblogs rolling out over the next few days.
Here were some of the highlights for me:
- A truly enjoyable road trip with the esteemed Muskegon Critic, a whip-smart dude with an awesome sense of humor.
- Meeting up with the digital outreach team from Obama for America (OFA), based out of the main Chicago campaign office. This group, including Erica Sackins and Matthew McGregor that works with Deputy Campaign Manager Steffanie Cutter to make sure the OFA message is percolating effectively throughout the blogosphere and social media networks. We met for lunch and then later at a social mixer. I also met up with their counterpart at the Democratic National Committee, Greg Greene. It’s connections like these that allow me to bring cutting edge information from the campaign to our website. Other prominent bloggers like Jed Lewison from Daily Kos, Zerlina Maxwell from The Grio & Feministing (among other places), and David Dayden from Firedoglake participated, as well.
- A sit-down meeting with Karen Nussbaum, the Executive Director of Working America. I work closely with their Michigan Executive Director Fran Brennan and it was terrific to sit down with Nussbaum and her staff to get a better sense of Working America, what they have accomplished and where they are headed. Also at the meeting were Laura Clawson from Daily Kos, from Amanda Marcotte from Pandagon.
- A lengthy conversation with Jim Dean, chair of Democracy for America, about the situation on the ground in Michigan and what we’re up against. We also got to watch his brother, former Governor Howard Dean tweet for the very first time.
- Getting a chance to chat for a bit with Van Jones. I know him through a mutual friend who used to be his Executive Assistant. His keynote speech closed out Netroots Nation and you should most definitely check it out (HERE.) He is truly an incredible thinker and speaker.
- A fabulous Netroots for the Troops CARE package assembly event. We packed 150 boxes and had a fantastic time in the process. I’ll have post up about that with photos and video a bit later today.
- Reconnecting with some amazing bloggers and activists from around the country. Anne and I had a particularly interesting conversation with Marcy Wheeler from Empty Wheel and Adam Bonin from Daily Kos and the chair of Netroots Nation. We discussed the possibility of bringing Netroots Nation to Detroit some day.
- An intriguing conversation with Katherine Haenschen from Burnt Orange Report about more effectively monetizing Eclectablog so that I can make a bit of income from this whole thing. She has committed to mentoring me on this and I’m very excited about it.
- As you’ll notice from the recent addition to the sidebar on the site, I joined the UAW’s National Writers Union. This will give me access to some great resources and supports them in their work to ensure that freelance writers and bloggers are fairly compensated for their work. I am now a proud union thug.
- Caught up with the fabulous Lizz Winstead with whom I became friends when she kicked off her tour to promote Planned Parenthood in Michigan. We had a lengthy (and hilarious) chat and I scored an autographed copy of her new book Lizz Free or Die while I watched, amazed, as she ran my credit card using her Magic Iphone™ and a nifty card scanner dongle. Magic!
- Met both Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner, candidates for Senate and Congress, respectively. I’m hoping that Warren will someday be a candidate for president. Anne’s dream is to be her photographer.
Anyway, enough of the name dropping. Netroots Nation is the event I most look forward to every year. Next year, it will be in San Jose, CA (more info on that HERE.) It was nice to be recognized among some of the top bloggers in the country and made me realize just how far we’ve come at Eclectablog.
Stay tuned for Anne’s amazing photos from the event which we’ll post over the next few days. You can get a sneak peak by checking out Anne’s professional Facebook page HERE. Drop a like on her page while you’re at it. You won’t be disappointed.