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This weekend, I had the privilege of hosting 175 registered bloggers from 35 states in Washington for a weekend of training, networking, and insanity. It's always like herding cats to get blogger types to do things, but I had such a wonderful time schlepping around the city with some of my favorite people. Throughout the course of four days, FreedomWorks was able to provide opportunities for bloggers to meet House Communications Directors, attend training on blogger-centric topics, and most importantly, connect with each other. We've got a lot of work to do heading into November, and it is so important to develop a strong community of online activists and thinkers. I think those that attended can give everyone a better sense of the mood of the event.
From Dan Riehl, Riehl World View:
Seriously, I've been to several events and a couple held by Freedom Works. Of any group based in DC, they seem to be far and away the best at reaching out to bloggers on their own terms. They seem to understand us, in a sense. Perhaps that's due to Tabitha Hale being one of us, with the more casual atmosphere also flowing from the personalities of gracious hosts, Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe. They honestly have a way of making you feel you're among friends simply with the tone of their events.
The inaugural BlogCon was absolutely an incredible event and they went out of their way to make it blogger friendly, providing ample time for bloggers to connect and drive the event. Many thanks to Tabitha for what must have been a ton of work in pulling it all together for us. Unable to get there on Friday, I did on Thursday and Saturday and I can't say enough positive about the total feel of the event. I spoke with several bloggers Freedom Works helped get there, some from as far away as California. It's easy to take such a thing for granted, but Freedom Works didn't have to go to the extent it did as regards time, resources, dollars and pure effort it takes to hold an event like this.
From Jeff Schreiber, America's Right:
I assumed that everyone else felt the same way. We were bloggers, I thought. We were solitary creatures, left to our own devices in our parents’ basements or in our cubicles or on our laptops in Starbucks or, in my case, at the dining room table at midnight. There was no cohesion. There was no community. Community? Heck, you’re lucky if we were wearing pants. So, to a certain extent, I felt alone. And I was fine with it.America’s Right was reaching thousands of people every day. America seemed to be waking up. And, for whatever infinitesimal fraction of that increased awareness I could be deemed responsible for, it was enough.
But then, this weekend happened.
As it turns out, I was invited by the great folks at FreedomWorks to come up to Washington, D.C. for a few days and attend their first annual BlogCon blogger’s conference. Not only was it a chance to come to our nation’s capital at the same time as the 9/12 rally, but the instructional aspects of the BlogCon schedule really appealed to me – mini-seminars on things like “Twitter For Those Who Already Use It,” “Podcasting: Why and How You Should Use It” and “Maximizing Your WordPress Experience” addressed aspects of my work at AR which I really needed help with, while other talks on policy and economics just seemed interesting. And everything exceeded my expectations. Whatever the wonderfully nice Dick Armey is paying Tabitha Hale and Matt Kibbe at FreedomWorks, it isn’t enough. The success of today’s 9/12 rally, folks, is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything that group is doing to secure American freedom and ensure a return to first principles.
From Michael Bates, Batesline:
The first ever BlogCon, sponsored by FreedomWorks, has been a huge success. FreedomWorks new media director Tabitha Hale put together an event that was fun and highly worthwhile. On Thursday, bloggers had a chance to get face to face with congressional staffers -- how they can do a better job of working with us, which begins with understanding how we differ from traditional media.
Friday was packed with excellent seminars, many of which were more technological than political -- for example, how to make more effective use of Twitter, the role of humor in blogging, and the amazing capabilities of WordPress and its many plugins. (I'm now very tempted to switch, and it appears there's a plugin that makes it possible to migrate without breaking old links.) Matt Kibbe delivered an informative lunchtime lecture on Austrian economics. The day was capped off with a left-right debate at the Newseum.
From Dave Poff (Haystack), RedState:
I was intending to give a huge shout out to FreedomWorks, and especially to the inimitable Tabitha Hale (who was actually quite impressively successful at herding [like cats] 175 of some of the best bloggers in the country through a series of events collectively called “BlogCon”).
Ok, well I guess I just did…but more on the blogcon events and the march itself on another day… Having said that, I must be honest - I was a little hesitant to put this piece out there today because of 9/11 and wishing I could see the whole of the day reserved for focusing on its memory and reflecting on what happened to the American collective on September 11, 2001.
So, too, do I hope that we always honor the memory of those lives that were lost that day and in the days hence as we were put upon by Muslim terrorists to confront their hate and their radical ideology. I chose not to wait, however, for the oddest of reasons. I’m sitting in a hotel bar typing just south of Washington DC on the eve of the first anniversary of the 9/12 Taxpayer March on Washington , sponsored in part by FreedomWorks (with whom I am spending the weekend learning how to blog better and share valuable time and beverage and sustenance with today’s blogging rockstars).
As I was mentally preparing to join in the march on the Capitol, I looked outside to find a small group of people screaming at the top of their lungs at the Hotel entrance. With the calls of “BOY - COTT” and “DON’T check IN…CHECK OUT” ricocheting off the front walls of the Hotel, I was reminded that they are FREE to do this protest against some perceived unfairness…every bit as much as I will be free to do so tomorrow…and howcomforted we should all be that 9/11 did not cost us any of our freedoms.
From Skye, Midnight Blue Says:
I spent two busy days attending BlogCon a conference coordinated by Tabitha Hale and sponsored by Freedomworks. Outside of CPAC, this was the most informative blogging conference I’ve attended this year. This conference was created by bloggers for bloggers of the right persuasion. FINALLY. This type of conference way overdue on the right. Dems have been courting left-leaning bloggers for years and in that time have crafted a formidable online blogging network. We on the right have a lot of catching up to do in order to be competitive in this arena.
For great photo roundups see:
Javier Manjarres of the Shark Tank in Florida went home for a night and came back. While he was in Orlando on Friday night, he caught up with Marco Rubio who gave RedState and FreedomWorks BlogCon a shout out.
For more, read: