At one thirty this afternoon, I left the first ever Blogger Conference with the Mayor's Office. I feel like this day should be noted, because it is the first such official recognition of the online media to ever be held in the City.
Jonathan Bennett of Jacksonville.com, the online version of the Times Union was the sole representative from the traditional media, but he is the handsome young editor of social media, and a true delegate from the blogosphere, as the Times Union is struggling to move into this new century.
Joey Marchy from www.urbanjacksonville.info was there, as was Tony Allegretti from theurbancore.com.
Also present was Abel Harding, the semi celebrity blogger whose unintentional posting of a nazi symbol at the local teabagger rally made it to Huffington Post and then the Keith Olbermann Show. (funny for a fairly starched young conservative blogger)
Others were invited, although schedules did not permit them to attend.
We discussed how best to share information, and I was really impressed by Adam Hollingsworth's ability to think outside of the traditional box and how fully he has embraced the idea that online, interactive media is the new mainstream.
Adam was joined by the indefatigable Misty Skipper, and the lovely Renee Brust. They were brimming with ideas and questions.
I was also struck by how often they referred to the comments and input of posters on the various blogs.
(Apparently, Brainstormer, your list of questions has merited a serious and methodical response. As soon as they have completed an answer to all of your points in full, they will post it here)
We talked about formats in which to communicate: A video conference. A youtube question and response. A live blogcast. The Mayor himself came in. It was encouraging to find that they actually read and consider what is expressed on our forums and in our articles.
On the budget crisis, its apparent that they are genuinely seeking input and public discussion.
They are preparing a daily blog. They have started twittering, they have a new facebook page.
Most awesomely, the Mayor has authorized City Planning employees to respond to questions from our readers directly, and to post upcoming projects.
The meeting, though casual and informal, full of laid back chatter amongst well acquainted people, still felt momentous. Maybe even historic with a small 'h'.
I was also thrilled to see the thinking and input of the other people in the room. All of them young, smart, sincere, and very dynamically creative and out of the box. For example, it is impossible to get how incisively focused Abel Harding is until you see him in action.
This was one of those moments where the City was well served and represented. Both by an Administration opening up to the new times, and by the representatives of those New Times themselves.
Im sure you will be hearing more about this at a later date...there are all kinds of events, live blogs, and webcasts etc that got discussed and planned. But I just wanted to note the date on the grounds that this is when it all officially began.