I recently attended my 5th Netroots Nation Convention. I was on staff with the convention for the first two years when it was the YearlyKos Convention, then I stepped down after Chicago and have been on the advisory board ever since. I went to Austin and Pittsburgh with no responsibilities whatsoever, which was great. This year, I was asked to coordinate the Exhibit Hall with my good friend Linda Lee so I was on staff again. Having experienced the convention from the staff and attendee perspective has been quite interesting.
Being the Volunteer Coordinator for the first 2 conventions allowed me to meet and work with some of the most talented, dedicated, professional and committed individuals I’ve ever met. But it prevented me from attending any of the panels and only part of the keynotes. Being an organizer, I enjoy making an event like this run smoothly, but being removed from the actual programs doesn’t allow a clear picture of the event as a whole. Being an attendee put me on the floor and gave me a first hand view of the convention. That means I attended panels, parties, keynotes, unofficial gatherings and yes, I even went to Markos’ Daily Kos party.
So, here we are at the 5th anniversary of the convention and I’m back in the staff room. Working behind the scenes gets me places most attendees can’t access. Like backstage after the keynote speeches, and sitting at the table in front of the stage. But it prevents me from participating in the panels or the Screening Series and I’m often too exhausted to go to the unofficial events. Although I always find the energy to humiliate myself at the Pub Quiz, (“We’re #10!”), and the AAM has sponsored some very fun events so I did take the time to continue my personal humiliation at the bowling lanes. But it is strange when Nancy Pelosi is answering questions 2 rooms away from me and I’m watching her on the live stream in the staff office. I got up close and personal with Ed Schultz and Al Franken but I missed the panel on Warming up the Cold Call which would have been helpful in my campaign work and I missed the Screening Series completely even though I’m on the Advisory Board for that as well.
So next year we’ll be in Minneapolis and my question is should I go as a worker or a player? What would you choose?
This is my first diary for Planet POV and I’m very happy to be here.