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Yes We Did? How Blogging Can (and Can’t) Support a Field Campaign

This is the title of a panel being held at 1:30 this afternoon (eastern time) at Netroots Nation that I am moderating. For those of you in Pittsburgh, please come. For those of you elsewhere, there is a liveblog at Calitics and some live twittering, or, as Larry David would say at Starbucks, just give me a vanilla bullsh*t latte cappe thing.

The title is pretty explanatory. The panelists are people who know a lot about writing about elections, encouraging people to get active, and there are a lot of experienced offline organizers who have worked election campaigns and issue campaigns, and we’re discussing how this relationship does and doesn’t work effectively. How could it be improved?

Our panelists are: Pamela Coukos, a blogger who became an Obama regional field director in Northern California; Karl Singer, a 15-year old wunderkind who raised 65k for Obama through his online and offline activism, Janice Caswell, a super-volunteer who we interviewed in October in our travels through northeast Philly because she’d organized weekly canvassing trips from New York; Katherine Haenschen, a blogger whose work in the field generated 30,000 new voter registrations in Texas; and Jeremy Bird, current Deputy Director of Organizing for America and State Director for Obama in Ohio for the general election. Bird is there because we needed more guys who grew up in St. Louis besides me on the stage.

All of these people inspire me personally, and they’re all friends. They all have a lot to say about their experiences with the way they see blogging about elections and issue campaigns interacting with and supporting (or not supporting) field organizing. We have some questions to pose and answer, and we also hope our audience will interact with us and ask good (short, ha) questions. Please join us if you can.

A quick housekeeping note. I’ve gotten a few “hey where’ve you been hiding?” questions because I haven’t published here in a while, so let me give a blanket “personal reasons,” as in, unrelated to Nate or the blog. Everything is fine, and I probably won’t comment further. Instead, I have a much better story.

So – and this is just about the greatest thing ever – file-able under “late night Netroots Nation confessions,” the young Nate was quite the intramural basketball force of nature. Think: Ron Artest. I never got an actual statistic out of him, but from the sound of it, he may have set the technical foul record for his league. He apparently was a fan of throwing elbows, and at least once threw the basketball at the referee. That’s right. You can now picture wild man Nate Silver bullying referees and getting T-d up, kicked out, and overall hurting his team (as he freely admits). Knowing Nate as I do, hearing this story would be like having Sarah Palin relate to me her coming-of-age stories of how she used to be a community organizer in Alaska, going doorknocking to protect women’s reproductive rights.

Speaking of organizing, join us now if you can.


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