New media folks are the cool kids of the TDP
This was my first Texas Democratic Party State Convention since I started blogging over a year ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect but knew it would be a different world. I was ready to go with a netbook and a convention center covered with wifi access. I had my blog, Twitter, and Facebook accounts at the ready for posting the latest information. What I found at the convention was even better than I expected. I wasn’t the only one. In fact, the convention had a new army of people just like me hitting the convention – the New Media folks.
Some were bloggers I’ve come to know and appreciate. Some were folks with Twitter accounts. Finally there were delegates armed with their smartphones and Facebook accounts. Thanks to all of these folks covering the convention, we all stayed connected and communicating the business of the convention. Every sound bite or action in almost every session was captured in a tweet or a Facebook status. From there others would react or take action if needed.
But what really set this convention apart was the realization by others of the power of New Media. More and more candidates and elected officials now have Twitter or Facebook accounts and use them actively. During the week those of us on Twitter stayed connected with the hash tag of #TDPSC. In fact you can follow the link and recreate the events of the week.
Friday at noon Rachel Farris, otherwise known as Mean Rachel, and Rep. Aaron Pena hosted a Tweetup where bloggers, tweeters, and Facebook folks gathered to talk about New Media and hear candidates. The room was packed in an informal setting with lunch catered by AT&T (thanks!). Farris tried to create an environment where candidates and officials could drop their message for others to hear through the cyberspace. “I would have liked to have seen some of the candidates and elected officials take advantage of a powerful group of people held captive, smartphones at the ready,” said Farris.
We heard from a variety of candidates that visited the room including Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, and Lt. Gov. candidate Linda Chavez-Thompson to name a few. As Abby Rapoport of the Texas Observer said “Call me a marshmallow, but, I say it’s fun, and potentially powerful in letting people feel connected, personally, to their candidates.”
During the drama that played out about the possible change to the prima-caucus rules several of us tweeted about the proceedings, including the debate on the floor and the procedure of voting. As one Twitter follower said “stefanwray @RBearSAT thanks for your updates I feel like I’m still there. What about rule? #tdpsc” It’s like we pulled them into the mix.
Finally the party that everyone wanted to be at Friday night was the Bloggers Party sponsored by the TexBlog PAC at the Bourbon Pub in Corpus Christi. When I finally got back to it with Sen. VDP and my friend Ann Marie Schroeder it was going full force and showed no signs of slowing down. Everyone wanted to party with the cool kids.
Yes, the New Media folks are the cool kids of the Texas Democratic Party.