Blogging from Boston

Image: Blogging from Boston

By Biz Stone

Bill Clinton, Ben Affleck, Janeane Garofalo, and (insert record scratch here) Jason Shellen? What kind of freaked-out politics are happening at the Democratic National Convention in Boston this year? Oh yeah, I remember now. They invited bloggers and gave them legitimate credentials. In this insane new world, you'll even be able to catch your favorite bloggers on television during the event. Dave Sifry will be on CNN providing regular on-air commentary on what bloggers are saying about politics and the Wonkette herself, Ana Marie Cox, will add some of what she's got to MTV News. We've been saying it for years folks: The Revolution Will Be Bloggerized.

Following the Action

My former nemesis and current coworker Jason Shellen is going to be at the convention with another Blogger employee, Jason Goldman. Are they going to be covering the convention with the best of the bloggers? Perhaps. Will they be handing out t-shirts and partying up Blogger-style? You bet your Ass.

The convention will of course be covered by throngs of traditional reporters, and you can tune in to the idiot box any time to see all the balloons and whatnot. But producers tend to keep a close eye on the talking heads and print reporters are subject to an editorial process. Embedded bloggers will be tapping away on their keyboards, snapping digital pictures, and beaming all that good juice straight into the blogosphere where we can tune in and catch the post-by-post action. Not everyone is part of the few, the proud, the "Jasons." So how do the rest of us get plugged in?

David Weinberger, one of the credentialed bloggers, was kind enough to point me in the direction of what is thought to be a fairly accurate partial list of all the bloggers who will be covering this year's convention as it happens. I'm reprinting it here for your edification and amusement but keep reading to learn of an easier way to track the blog coverage.

Bloggers At The Convention

Alan Nelson Dave Winer
Dave Weinberger Taegan Goddard
Jay Rosen Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
Jerome Armstrong Aldon Hynes
Jeralyn Merritt Tom Burka
McCullum, Oemler, Grady OxBlog
Rick Heller Matthew Gross
Byron LaMasters Jessamyn Charity West
Dave Pell Natasha C.
Jesse Taylor & Ezra Klein Michael Feldman
Gordon Joseloff Christopher Rabb
Kirk W. Johnson Bill Scher
Stephen Yellin Peter Rukavina
Joe Rospars Allen Larson
Matt Stoller Alison Teal
Nathan Paxton Christian Crumlish
Michael Andrew Dave Johnson
John Burns Ana Marie Cox
Talking Point Memo Atrios of Eschaton
Zoe VanderWolk Steve Safran
Susan Epstein Zephyr Teachout
Dave & Todd Jeeni Criscenzo
Politics Online James Kirkchick
Lauren Shannon  

To make things even more legit, possibly too legit, perhaps so legit that there will be no quitting, a number of official democratic delegates will be blogging. Check out Cate Read (TX), Jenny Greenleaf (OR), John Howes (WA), John Burns (NC) and many more. For more descriptions and photos of bloggers at the convention, check out The Wall Street Journal's article, Meet the Bloggers.

Meet the Aggregators

Dave Winer and Bryan Bell have set up Convention Bloggers, a really nice site that automatically displays recent posts by bloggers at the DNC. The site is set up in such a way that it essentially becomes a big group blog. You'll also see the occasional Boston weather update and some related NPR stories as well. Dave has explained that this site is not merely an aggregator but a curated art project.

"There are enough different feeds, different points of view, that it's possible to be artistic." —Dave Winer

Although it's not expressly for the convention, "World Live Web" site Technorati has just launched a new political coverage sibling that will "make it easy for bloggers, journalists, and anyone interested in politics to see the postings of the most linked-to political bloggers, to track the ideas with the fastest-growing buzz, and to monitor conversations in thousands of other political blogs." That will likely be a good place to get both the convention buzz and the reaction of the blogosphere at large.

A different sort of aggregator created with more of an interactive feel lives at Blogger Live. We have something similar rigged up in the office and it's maddeningly addictive. Load the page, then sit back and watch as the newest posts by convention bloggers flash one at a time before your eyes. It's like hitting "seek" on your car radio. When a particularly engaging post appears, you can pause the scroller or just click the link and go to that blog. If you check out Blogger Live, don't forget to get up and pee. Three out of four doctors agree, it's medically bad to hold it.

If you're more of picture person then you'll want to check out PBS filmmaker and photographer Chris Tragos' photoblog. He will be posting digital photos throughout the convention. The Convention Bloggers site is also attempting to centralize images—any images the bloggers post (so keep one eye closed). And the camera phone community Textamerica is hosting the Wireless Election Connection Moblog.

Boston and Blogging

The Boston Tea Party, The Boston Massacre, the Siege of Boston, Paul Revere's Ride, and The Democratic National Convention of 2004; Beantown knows how to throw a party. Sure, the largest art theft in US history happened in Boston and there was that strangler, the Big Dig, and The Curse of The Bambino. Whatevah chief, we all have problems. The thing to remember is that Boston played a huge role in the American Revolutionary War and it's reprising that role for the Blogging Revolution. It's fitting that Boston hosts this historic breakthrough that will potentially enlighten millions of people to the truly democratic power of blogging.

Biz Stone works at Google on Blogger and writes books about blogging.

Published: Monday, July 26, 2004, 11:12