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.
Alternate. One year work, next participate as attendee. Unless you – like me – decides that it’s not being done as well/efficiently as you decide it should be, at which point you then step back up to the plate and give up the chair. (I’ve been a volunteer coordinator for many an event – it’s challenging, but fun, too. I think the “roll up your sleeves” coordinators can ask for – and then get more – from the volunteers than the “radio contact only” ones. I’m sure you are a sleeve roller……..)
Nice to meet you, and welcome to the Planet. Lucky you – meeting AdLib, who sometimes blogs for God. And you thought Ed Schultz and Al Franken were somethin’……………..
That sounds like a plan. I am a sleeve roller and a bit of a control freak. But I’m working on it.
it’s the A++ personality type. I long to be a B+, and do try to take time to mellow every now and then, but nature runs its course and the “People! Let’s go”/ drill sargent in me pops up sooner or later. I’m trying to learn balance now, and hope you can find some in your life, too.
Trouble on the horizon. I hope this isn’t Internet 2.0
As a tired telecom technician I have been on the inside of the system. Now I’m on the outside. This is the start of the era of the toll keepers.
This is a top priority for anyone who wants to protect the only remaining venue that citizens have to communicate and organize nationally. If we are left with an internet that is a mirror of the MSM, democracy will have a hard time ever replacing the strengthening corporate plutocracy.
Google is apparently denying that they have made a pact with Verizon to create different tiers, build walls and require additional tolls for using the internet (over and above your ISP costs).
Let me add another hearty welcome to the Planet, TakeInaPlay! I’m so glad you introduced yourself. Would you consider writing a bit more about your experiences over the last 5 years of NN? I have a bunch of questions; and please feel free not to answer them if you’d rather not! 😀
How did you originally come to be involved on the ground floor of organizing the Yearly Kos? What goes into organizing and getting something like this off the ground? How many hours of preparation? How are decisions made as to whom to invite as speakers?
What were your impressions of Ed Schultz and Al Franken (and any other notables you’ve been in contact with)? What would you say was the mood of the speakers/attendees this year?
Okay. I’ll stop bombarding you now! Let’s just say we’d like to hear more from you!
As for Minneapolis and what to do there: that’s a tough call. Any positions in which you can work up to opening day and then shift into “audience member” mode? Didn’t think so… That would be ideal…
Hey, j’avaz!! Your camping trip sounds amazing. I hope you’re taking lotsa pictures.
And, hey, b’ito! Where are you?
Let me see how many questions I can answer. I became involved because I’m a compusive volunteerer and I kept seeing ads asking for people to volunteer. I have event planning experience so I sent an email offering to help and they took me up on it. Because the convention is organized by people all over the country it takes endless email discussions and conference calls. The speakers are suggested by the online community of bloggers and the staff send invitations to the potential speakers and see who replies. I was very impressed with Ed Schultz, (he opened the door for me), and Al Franken who is very personable.
And I’d say the mood this year by the speakers and attendees was frustration. The politicians are frustrated by being blocked by the Repubs and being criticized for not getting more done by the voters, which means they’re getting it from both sides. The activists are frustrated because they expected more progress by now. Yes, Obama has let us down on some issues, mainly the healthcare sellout and the continued existence of don’t ask don’t tell, but on the other hand, he bit off some huge issues from day one. And, as Van Jones said, Obama agreed to steer the ship after it hit the iceberg. So I think he deserves a little slack.
I could give much longer answers but that’s it in a nutshell. I’m happy to answer any questions you have.
Thanks, TIAP! Only one more question: how did you happen to discover the Planet?
I met TIAP at Netroots at a caucus…ah, the many benefits of attending NN!
A member of my local Dem club told me about it and asked me to start posting here. Then I heard someone at the CA caucus at Netroots Nation mention they posted on this site so I decided to take the plunge and jump in. So far I’m really impressed with the site. I participated in my first Vox Populi last night and had a blast. It seems like and very fun and well informed community and I’m happy to be a part of it.
That was great to have you at the live chat VP!
You were a seasoned pro !
I am a CA resident also, there a quite a few of us here.
What is interesting is that you can get a bit of flavor from many areas around not just this country but the world!
I look forward to more of your work.
TIAP, so sorry I missed your debut on Vox Pop. It really is fun. I try to be there every Friday when I’m not working. Unfortunately, last night was not one of ’em! (I work 3-11 shift at a local hospital.)
Look forward to more of your comments!
Welcome to the Planet!
The thing that always gets me, is that we know what the problems are, but we don’t have an answer.
I am so tired.
That does not mean that I’ll sit out on voting.
I know that you will disagree with me, as will most others, but there really is no difference between the Dems and Reps.
Yes, I know that you hate me for saying that, but they are all crooks as my beloved departed mother used to say, and she was a child from Hitler’s Germany.
You have to be me, when it comes to that.
My father was an illegal from Canada, and he came over illegally from Canada when he was 10 years old, and it’s a long story, but I cherish it.
My father served in WWII and even got a purple heart, silver medal and other awards for bravery under fire.
He had a bullet wound in his arm.
But like that generation, he never talked about it.
It f+cked him up when it came to us kids, and I can understand it all now that I am older.
IMHO, there really is no difference between the DEMs and REPs, as they are the best politicians that money can buy.
Hey javaz, nice to see you and the camping trip sounds like it was fantastic.
As you know, I strongly disagree with your POV on this. Would those 8 years have been the same if Gore had been President instead of Bush?
Sharron Angle and Rand Paul are identical to Al Franken and Nancy Pelosi?
I’m sure you wouldn’t generalize about any race, religion, gender, nationality, or any other profession, so doing so about this one would be just as mistaken.
I know how frustrated you are with what’s going on in our politics but the truth is that we have many principled Dems in Congress, the problem is that we don’t have filibuster proof majorities of them in the Senate.
There are huge differences. Consider the country under Bill Clinton and a Dem Congress. Then Bush and a GOP Congress. Then Obama and a Dem Congress. The differences are stark.
I get that, AdLib, I really do.
I can’t verbalize correctly what it is I’m trying to say.
Yes, I always vote Dem, except for one time when it came to the governor’s race in AZ and then both my husband and I voted for Symington and then he was forced to resign!
I’m a believer in that corporations rule and lobbyists are buying our politicians left and right.
There are exceptions – Franken and Grayson stand out in my mind at the moment.
I love Obama so do not get me wrong.
I get the differences in the parties so when I say that Dems and Reps are different sides of the same coin, it has to do with the corporate control.
Does my believing that corporations rule the world make me a conspiracy person?
I truly believe that corporations are running the show – G-8 and what are we up to now? G-20?
When world leaders gather and decide how the world is to be run?
And here’s another thing that I believe and hell, I don’t know what I’m talking about half the time –
But the right has people fired up about Socialism and Marxism and reverse racism.
Meanwhile, the left has us fired up about “fearing” the hate groups and their talk about a race war, civil war and whatever.
Do you ever think that we will ever unite again as we did for a short time after 9-11?
Somehow, imho, we as Americans need to UNITE and stop the insanity.
This is all a game for the corporate masters and corporate media – somehow WE THE PEOPLE must find common ground to fight what is really going on.
Am I wrong about that?
Believing that corporations are running everything isn’t a conspiracy theory, it’s reality. And I agree that we need to restore the people power in this country, What fuels the right-wing hatred is pure fear. Mostly fear of losing things that don’t even have, like job security or personal freedoms and privacy.
It comes from Bush who told the public that he was fighting the terrorists to protect people’s freedom but at the same time he was pushing the patriot act that allowed the gov’t to look even more closely into our private lives. Bush was smart to create the boogie man that he himself claimed he was protecting us against. He built up such a wave of paranoia that there is no trust between the parties anymore. It’s like the 60’s all over again, (so I’ve been told), when it was common wisdom not to trust anyone over 30, only now it’s don’t trust anyone that isn’t on your side of the aisle. Until we can get over that fear and prove to the entire voting membership that we can work together, we will never achieve the kind of unity we need.
I think your concern is justified but so is your thinking that we really need to work together to dig ourselves out of this hole. And I happen to have a spare shovel for anyone who needs one.
I do disagree with you for one reason. We can’t expect there to be a difference until we participate in the decision making and demand there be a difference. I am active in the Dem party here in CA so when the party decides what it’s platform will be, I’m there to add my opinion to push the progressive agenda. Participation is the key. If you want one party to follow your standards you have to let the leaders know what your standards are by participating and becoming one of those leaders. Saying they are all crooks is like using the “that’s the way it’s always been” line as an excuse to maintain the status quo. God knows I know how frustrating it can be. I’ve spent many a day banging my head against the wall. But I’ve also celebrated major victories, like the recent ruling on Prop 8. And the victories make it worth the fight.
So hang in there, it works!
A warm welcome to The Planet, TakeInAPlay!
Must’ve seen you with out knowing it was you, I was bowling as well and it wasn’t that big of a place!
Very cool and thanks for all your wonderful work to help make NN a bigger success, year after year. This was my first NN and it was great, so much going on and tried to keep up with all the great seminars and speakers (Franken, Pelosi and Warren were my favorites).
As for whether to attend as a staff member or an attendee, as cool as it is to attend the panels in full, it does sound quite a bit cooler to be behind the scenes.
Amazing how NN/Yearly Kos has grown over the years…and no tea bags were harmed in the making of this movement!
I saw your pics and I think we were there at the same time. I thought I saw Justin Krebs in one of the shots. I was in the group at the very last lane by the food. Justin was hanging around us as well.
I was right near you! Bowled a couple of frames in the 3rd lane away from the food then settled in on the fifth lane.
Well, at least next time we won’t be strangers!