We're at the first session, which began with Ed Cone and Dave Hoggard leading (?) the crowd in a rendition of Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Be In Carolina. This was not good, but it confirmed Ed's theory that group humiliation is a bonding experience.
Right now we're listening to Elizabeth Edwards, author and wife of John Edwards, former Democratic presidential candidate and vice-presidential nominee. Topic: building communities online.
On their early attempts at creating an online presence for their political campaigns:
"We were told that there was no point in being on the Internet. There were only conservatives on the Internet."
This got laughs.
Blogger Will R. asked a question about the difference between building communities and activating them for specific purposes (selling things, raising political funds, getting votes).
On political discourse and a question about net neutrality: This is the last town square.
On the power of community: "If you have 15 watch lists and you want one? Give to any PTA in the country."
Ed Cone's formula for making a good blog: "Have a take, and don't suck."
Billy Jones, Billy the Blogging Poet: You create your own blogosphere. He agrees that about 150 people is the best, largest size for a community. He's got about 400 poets in the community that surrounds his blog. "I can't manage 400 poets." Hell, I couldn't manage two...
On the topic of politics, etc., corrupting the blogosphere... EE thinks the Web will do a better job of outing phonies than newspapers do. Janet whispers: "True that."
Sandy Carmandy, Greensboro City Councilmember and blogger on why she started her blog: "I did it because I was frustrated by the media reports." Too short. Too filtered. Too shallow.
Tom Lassiter: "When she wrote about canning beans, I knew this was my person."
Michael Christopher: "To what extent does a blogger who forms a community take responsibility for that blog?"
Communities can be self-correcting. Ed Cone: "You have to own what you say."
A woman asks about how to help companies begin to open themselves to internal communication via blogs. Ed Cone directs this to "The Scoblizer."
Robert Scoble was the first blogger at Microsoft, which had a famously closed corporate culture. But Microsoft has changed -- it now has 3,000 bloggers. Here's Scoble: "Corporations are still very scared of talking openly with the public... but I was pretty lucky because I had written a blog that was pretty out there before I joined the company... so when I got hired I figured I should just continue to do that kind of blogging, to be a 'ship disturber.'"
Ed Cone: How do people get permission to think?
On the future, here's EE: You've got to get out and try some silly things. Because it's moving so fast.
That's the wrap up. Janet and I are splitting up now as the
conference moves into a general track and a journalism track, and of
course she gets the fun stuff...