Continuing reporting from Greensboro...
Dave Hoggart, Ruby Sienrich and I had a great time in our session:
Dave was talking about the vibrant local Greensboro blogging community - the one that gave its city the nickname Blogsboro (by an LATimes writer). Dave's personal story is a great example of the way a blogging community can work. About a year ago, Dave's wife Jinny got diagnosed with breast cancer. Dave blogged about it. Suddenly, local bloggers decided to do something about it. With no prompting or prodding but anyone, local bloggers put together Hoggsfest downtown with good local bands and plenty of food and drink, raising almost $10,000 for Jinny's rising medical expenses. I am happy to report that Jinny looks and feels great - she is a wonderful woman!
Dave also mentioned that he started blogging when he ran for the City Council. He lost the race, but he acquired a community of friends and realized the power of blogging - a power he wields that is perhaps greater than if he WAS elected.
Ruby echoed the same sentiment. She also ran for local office in Chapel Hill and lost. Today, she has no intention of running again because she saw how much more influence she has on local politics by running Orange Politics blog - the real mover and shaker in local politics (I believe it was Dave Winer who gave Ruby the nickname "the blogging dynamo"). Ruby and Brian are also using a blog to run the first open-source wedding (theirs, of course).
As for my part of the session, you can check my spiel here. The response was great. I was approached by a number of people afterwards. Some have never heard of blog carnivals before, others misunderstood what they were, or had a negative opinion due to looking at the wrong ones. I think, judging from the responses I got, that I have changed quite a few minds on this. Carnivals, if done right, are a good thing for building both local communities and global communities, as well as the ideal starting point for extensive thematic blog searches in cases in which search engines hopelessly bring out millions of useless hits.
Billy, the Blogging Poet (who did NOT name his blog after Harry Harrison's "Billy, The Galactic Hero" although he is surely my blog hero), looking like a wise, bearded Buddha (or Santa Claus?!) started his comment (the unforgetable one about blogophere as a merry-go-round on which Instapudit stands in the middle with his hands raised while all the other bloggers do the pushing around) with "I am not a journalist...". He got addressed as "Professor" on more than one occasion after that. Ed Cone also finds that characterization fitting.
I am really sorry I had to miss the session on Katrina Blogging that was happening at the same time. Stewart Pittman was one of the session leaders there. I am glad to hear that he used this post of mine in preparation for the session. I am still waiting for someone to post a more detailed description of that session, as I was quite involved in Katrina blogging from the very beginning (Update: Here is one account).
ConvergeSouth - First Impressions
ConvergeSouth - Some Pictures
ConvergeSouth - International Coverage
ConvergeSouth - Blog Carnivals
Check the Technorati Tag: ConvergeSouth