On the Sorensen Blogging Summit (Updated II)
Wednesday, May 10, 2006 :::
There's been a great deal of back-and-forth over the Sorensen Institute's 2nd blog summit. There have been some good questions raised -- such as hotel accommodations (which can be found here), who the speakers might be (I'll ask this weekend when I'm at the Sorensen gathering in Staunton) and, perhaps most of all, the timing.
And it's here that some explanation is in order.
Perhaps most important is that this event did not simply appear out of thin air. The June meeting has been in the planning stages since the previous summit last summer. I even recall seeing it listed among the upcoming events the Institute puts out for new members of the Political leaders class in March. Not everyone saw that, of course. But for anyone to suggest this was hatched "in secret" is just wrong. In fact, it was fairly common knowledge at the last event that there would be another in the future. But you had to be there to know that, I suppose.
The content and structure of the June event reflect the comments and blogger evaluations provided after last summer's meeting. I strongly suspect that's one reason it will be held at Darden (where there will be no bank of windows looking out onto a pool...or the rather ample bathers hotel pools attract). Therefore, to charge that this event was created without "blogger input" is also wrong. It reflects exactly what bloggers said they wanted after the first meeting. But again, I guess you had to be there.
As for the unknown identity of the speakers...relax. If there is one thing I have come to realize from the Sorensen Institute so far, it's that they are able to land top-notch folks to address their events. This weekend, for example, the Political Leaders class will hear from Pierce Homer, the Secretary of Transportation, Sen. Creigh Deeds and Del. Chris Saxman. That's a pretty good agenda. And it's the same sort you can expect at the June conference.
There are other questions and concerns...why C'Ville being the biggest. For anyone who has planned a major conference, it is no mystery why the event cannot be moved: the cost would be prohibitive.
Personally, I'm not keen on long, conference-style events. I left the first meeting early because it seemed to wander aimlessly, at times, in fields that really had little to do with blogging (that and I can only sit in a butt-numbing hotel chair for so long). That criticism has been addressed, and I look forward to seeing how the new format works.
My tastes run to more informal gatherings where people can mingle, talk, spill their drinks, graze at a buffet and generally make noise. An event just like this will be happening here in Richmond on the 20th at Gallery5. If you're around, I urge you to go. And if you're not in the area, then consider starting an event like this where you live. Spread the wealth, expand the community.
The Sorensen meeting's other strength is that it provides perhaps the only opportunity for bloggers to see not only their philospophical allies in person, but it also gives us a first hand look at the other side...and a chance to engage them away from the keyboard.
And the people watching is quite good. You realize Lowell is not a tall man...that Mike Shear looks like he fell out of an Abercrombie catalogue...that Jeff Schapiro is as frosty in person as he is on the page...that Jim Bacon seems perpetually distracted...that Chad has a thousand yard stare...that Steve Minor is as gracious as he is witty...and that Waldo's pretty damned funny.
I'll attend the June conference. I hope you will, too.
And I already know what my suggestion for the 3rd meeting will be: drop the "summit." I hate that word.
Waldo says two of the speakers will be Bob Holsworth and Mike Shear. That's worth the price of admission right there.
Another Speaker announced
Danny Glover from the National Journal and Beltway Blogroll will also be speaking on "Blogging and Journalism."
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 5/10/2006