The organizers of a conference I’m just leaving mentioned to me a curious fact: they invited 6 prominent bloggers — not to be named here (and I am certainly not including myself in this category) — to attend the event, called The Leaders Project. Not a single one responded, not even to RSVP “no.”
I was astonished. The group had fewer than 40 attendees, each of whom apparently had responded to the invitation: famous columnists, editors of major publications from around the world, generals and admirals, news anchors, presidents of major news networks, executive producers of shows everyone watches, members of Congress, leading activists from around the world, and even a few lowly academics. It was at an amazing venue, hosted by a former cabinet secretary and US Senator, and an unexpectedly rich, varied conversation. The topic was on the changing global media landscape, a topic that ordinarily would appeal, I’d think, to the serious blogger.
Why would bloggers be the one category not even to *reply* to the invitation? It got me to thinking that perhaps these bloggers are so sought after for conferences of this sort at the moment that they are overwhelmed with travel and the gab-fest circuit. Possible. But unfortunate if that’s so. This moment strikes as just the right time to be talking up the citizen-generated media movement, helping opinion leaders to understand and working through the issues and problems it raises or unearths. The blogging world has the attention of decision-makers everywhere. Now’s not the time to be too big for one’s britches — it’s the time to seize the moment. I suggested that maybe there are others to whom such an invitation should be extended next time. Maybe someone will set up a little speakers’ bureau for bloggers.
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I’m at the Charlotte-Douglas airport, en route to Oxford Internet Institute for a research meeting with others from the OpenNet Initiative. Charlotte-Douglas has won my heart (as far as airports can win a heart) with free wifi in the main concourse. Very nice.