BlogHer -Session #1 Political Blogging Grows Up

Moderator Courtney Lowery
Roxanne Cooper
Ambra Nykol

Courtney is a former AP writer and editor who's interested in the intersection of politics and environment and launched a network of blogs called New West .net to talk about growth and change in the Rocky Mountain West.

Roxanne writes at Rox Populi and is the director of sales and marketing for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

Ambra from Seattle works at Google and writes a political blog - Nykola.com  and wants to steer people away from the lemming mentality and encourage them to think independently.

Courtney.  We're still compartmentalizing political discussions and taking our talking points from the top political blogs.  How can we open up the discussion.

Amber.  I'm from the more conservative side and I find a lot of the political blogs very boring.  They're reporting, not opining.  I'm black, Christian, 23, and most interested in opinions, not what I can hear on CNN.  I

Roxanne.  People who repeat messages in the "parrotsphere" get links.  If you have your own voice, you don't get linked.  It's too much of an echosphere.

UPDATE 1

Courtney.  You can make politics sexy again by bringing the personal back.  The personal resonates.  What politics means in your everyday life counts. 

Amber.  People who don't vote because they don't see the relevance in their own lives.  Blogs have the ability to make it real.  I've gotten more understanding about social security by reading blogs than by reading any party's website.  People are numb to copy written messages.  Too many people don't  understand and are intimidated by complexities.

Q.  How do you break things down for your readers.

Amber.  I just write for myself, but what I can do is come at it from a philosophical standpoint.  What's the philosophy behind a proposed law And I like to critique political leaders' fashion.
I hear from my emails that people really respond to that.

Q. What can we do to write in a more common language?  As a librarian, we need to teach critical thinking.  We need to teach what are credible sources. 

Roxanne - Who are the experts?  I think that expertise can come from a two-way discussion

Q. Bill Clinton tried to start a discussion about race.  But it never happened.

Amber.  Don't be an anonymous blogger.  I emailed one and said you can't keep this up because what you think comes from who we are.
I put up my photo as a black woman and what I think for most people doesn't track.  I'm a deviant from black people, I'm a deviant from conservatives.  I'm a deviant from woman.  Or at least what most people think black, female conservatives should think.  I'm myself.

Roxanne.  Engage people more from the other side.  They're just yelling at each other.  I comment a lot on other blogs and ask them - respectfully - why do they think the way they do.

Audience.  When I read bloggers on either side, they're much too hostile to the other side. 

Amber.  If you think that yelling at people will convince them. There is too much mud-slinging.  I hate Ann Coulter. 

Audience member.  She needs a sandwich.  She needs a makeover.

Roxanne.  But people like conflict, they like drama.

Audience Matthew.  He's from England and sees America is a very apolitical country, apart from the 15% who read and write in the blogosphere.  How do you get people to get interested in politics?

Courtney:  We make it personal.  Isn't that what women are really good at.

UPDATE 2: 
Audience member.  Apart from making it personal, let's get more facts.  The news focuses on the polls.  Those aren't the facts that people need to make a decision.

Courtney.  Where do we want political blogging to go.  How do we break out of the echo chamber.

Roxanne.  It's marketing.  Give them sugar.  Weave politics into culture blogging.

Amber.  I don't think that people need sugar.  They need the truth.  I think you just have to be who you are.  I'm come across far more interesting pro-life blogs then any

Roxanne.  Blogging about Ann Coulter's clothes is the sugar.

Courtney.  Too much of the mainstream press dumbs down the issues.

Amber.  Everyone should understand politics if they're old enough to vote.    The black community often doesn't understand the issues.

Audience member.  I'm part of a group blog focusing on second generation South Asian Americans.  We have bloggers from all sides of the aisle.  It's a unique niche, a void that's become a gathering place for all sorts.  It's real, with a variety of voices.  Sepiamutiny.com. 

Roxanne.  You're providing a real service that the mass media isn't. 

Audience member.  I'm black, married to an Italian, just back from Kenya and I'm really interested in South Asian Americans.  Now I know where to go.

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Posted by Jill Fallon on July 30, 2005 at 8:19 PM | Permalink | TrackBack
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