...to a presidential primary.
The podcast for the Lexington Forum event can be found here. (the panel discussion starts 20 minutes into the podcast.) Listening to it I think I came off as an Obama supporter; that really wasn't my intent since I haven't declared support for anyone. I do think his success is the reason we're having important discussions about politics and social media, however.
I thought Ryan Alessi and Scott Jennings were smart and I'm very pleased that we didn't descend into the arguing you hear on the talking head shows on cable tv. It was an inherently "political" discussion, but we spent a significant amount of time talking about the impact blogs social media has had on the election and the tensions between online and traditional media. I even let a sarcastic crack out about bloggers being "basement-dwelling, pajama wearing, cheetoh-eating folks who rant" - but remember, I'm a blogger too, and I did it really to note the irony of how to this day these stereotypes exist and yet we gain influence daily. Honestly, all in good fun - no hatemail, please... ;)
Scott Jennings (former deputy political director in the WH under Karl Rove) made some comments I found interesting - he essentially thought that blogs and social media really aren't that relevant in Kentucky. Listen to the podcast to get his thoughts directly, but basically he thinks that blogs talk only to "the base" and very few people actually pay attention to them in the state. He did, however, volunteer the "Macaca Moment" as an example of why they have to be taken seriously.
Hey may be right - Kentucky is one state where change comes much more slowly than elsewhere - though I tend to think that the online channel's influence is increasing, even here in the Bluegrass State. The state has its share of political bloggers, and they're honing their craft. I think when Mark Nickolas left (and took Bluegrass Report with him) the state lost its major online political hub, and no one blog is filling the void, at least on the left.
Ryan Alessi (Political Reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader) discussed how Sen. Obama's "bitter" remarks were actually first reported by a blogger, and how blogs are now attending the same conferences and events he is. Ryan is one of those guys who still sees himself as a mainstream media guy, but he's young and he gets it.
Again, the panel discussion starts about 20 minutes into the podcast, but if you live locally I think the brief remarks by Mayor Jim Newberry before our panel were important - he's focusing on STEM education, and I personally think his idea is critical for Lexington's long-term success.