Bloggers convention hits McCormick Place

Friday, August 03, 2007

Right now Chicago's McCormick Place is the meeting site for the who's who of people who write weblogs -- or blogs. They are essentially online diaries and conversations on just about any topic under the sun, especially politics. Their power to influence the vote has been duly noted by those who have or want power.

It's being called the largest gathering of people who know each other, but haven't met -- and it's not just younger net-savvy types who are connecting at the second YearlyKos, the place to be for people with something to say on the internet.

"I feel like it's the true voice of the people coming out," said Dave Johnson,

Johnson started blogging five years ago when the technology was in its infancy. Meeting people with whom he has only chatted and argued is oddly refreshing.

"You find out who you agree with, who you feel comfortable with, and you spend time with them later, it is a wonderful human thing," Johnson said.

Natasha Chart hosts chats on agriculture and values encountering those who have shaped her left-of-center politics.

"You've already established this dialogue with them whereas otherwise you would have thought, well, would they want to talk to me? I don't know. You have something in common that transcends your offline identity," said Natasha Chart,

This is primarily a progressive, Democratic crowd who former Vermont governor Howard Dean first recognized as builders of political power during his presidential run for years ago. He said they've re-democratized America.

While mirrored on the political right, these bloggers are here to make connections, and push those in power to listen.

"It is the difference between top down and bottom up ... so they have the top down where they are telling us what to think, and this is the bottom up with us all saying, this is what we think," said Roy Sekoff,

Despite all the talk of human connections, ABC7 saw a lot of people in the convention hall buried deep in the blogosphere on their laptops -- and criticizing the mainstream media at several policy sessions.

But they are anything but marginal. Saturday, the leading Democratic presidential hopefuls will be addressing them separately through the afternoon.

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