Friday, August 14, 2009

Old Netroots & New Sprouts

That's the title of the last page of the 1936 "Civic Pittsburgh" publication detailing reasons to rationalize local government (found on and originally contributed to the web for free download and perusing by - where they have archived a bunch of old Pittsburgh publications).

After attending
Netroots Nation today and pondering what Pittsburgh can learn from Netroots Nation, I thought of titling this post "The Alive Hand of Our Descendents Lies Lightly on Us" (and not just because I have been walking around the house holding my 2 month old son).

This was my first Netroots Nation, though I was an early member on Daily Kos back in 2003 (posting as
Chance the gardener) and involved in some of the e-mail discussions amongst the original volunteer organizers for what was first called Yearly Kos in 2006. Four years later, it's remarkable to see 2,000 bloggers of all ages convening in our fair city, and to meet in person some of those I admire greatly for their progressive voices (which are not so much in the wilderness anymore).

So, what can progressives in Pittsburgh learn from Netroots Nation? I think simply creating more opportunities to come together in person is a good place to start, both to create more of an actual community and to anchor ourselves in on-the-ground activities that reach folks who maybe aren't as plugged in (i.e., our elderly neighbors).

It's also worth remembering that at just 4 yrs old, the annual gathering known as Netroots Nation is still just a kid. You wouldn't know it though from the organization -- it has been very well run, and the Convention Center is a great setting. The city has gotten good reviews from those I have spoken with in the halls...

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