Yesterday, a friend asked me what I thought about the conference apart from the town hall. Here are my thoughts on the subject.
What were your impressions of Netroots? I thought some of the trainings were really worthwhile!My thoughts:
Key word in your statement -- "some." I agree.
The first one I went to was a complete waste of time. It was on the new
model of digital organizing. The message of that session boiled down exclusively to "send more email." No mention, at least before I left which may have been a few minutes before it finished, of the fact that saturating email inboxes with requests for donations turns off a LOT of people.
As much as I'd love to see Ann Kirkpatrick beat the pants off of McCain, her campaign last year got a lot of feedback (that people complained about on facebook) from people disgusted with getting several emails from her EVERY day asking for money.
I loved sessions on energy policy; turning young activism into policy; on what happens when people write to their Congressional reps; and harnessing the power of narrative.
Though I write most days, I got a lot out of the session on the power of narrative.
Arizona House Minority Leader Eric Meyer did great in the Saturday afternoon session on Education in Arizona, handling the stream of consciousness flow of the discussion with grace and insight.
The panel on how Progressive Arizona became Tea Party dominated was very interesting, as the panelists shared deep and long experience and wonderful insight, but it really did not unify around the stated topic. Dan Shilling spent years as head of the AZ Humanities Council. Shilling, Alfredo Gutierrez and Jon Talton are all truly Arizona treasures.
The panel sponsored by the DLCC on redistricting was good and bad. The moderator did a fine job. All three elected lawmakers did great (Sen. Martin Quezada, Rep. Charlene Fernandez (both are AZ Latinos) and state Rep. Dan Pabon from Colo). But the DLCC executive director seemed profoundly unprepared for this audience having any understanding of redistricting. I wasn't the only one to call him out. There's a video of that session on the nn15 website.
The NN15 organizers had an impossible task... they did a great job
in spite of the challenge. I've blogged
twiceTHRICE now about the Saturday morning townhall. The organizers share a large part of the responsibility for the confusion. But really, it must have felt like they were trying to herd cats much of the time.
The session immediately prior to the town hall, on the subject of creative disruption, was all but a direct invitation to disrupt the town hall. That said, overall I'm not upset with how the town hall turned out. The only after effect that concerns me is that a certain corporate Democrat is exploiting the situation when she doesn't really have a right to do so, since she failed to even enter the arena.
Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
My friend shared a strategy that worked for her. Get several friends to divvy up the sessions for each time slot, then let the others know by text message which ones were worth the time, which ones were boring, etc.
That's a great idea. Next time I go, that's what I'll try to do.