When I told people outside of the new media world that I was headed to Charlotte, North Carolina for a few days, the general response was favorable. When I mentioned that the reason was for a blogger conference, there was a bit of confusion. You don’t even want to know what people thought when I dropped that it was a political blogger conference. “Why on earth would anyone go to that?” sums it up.
The fact is, being a hardline conservative in Canada gets pretty lonely. I don’t say that to invoke any sort of sympathy, but rather to illustrate that as a new media personality and blogger, independence breeds isolation. That’s why BlogConCLT very quickly formed itself for me as a conservative family reunion of sorts.
BlogConCLT is a conference for center-right bloggers, activists and new media people put on by FreedomWorks and the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. The workshops and seminars ranged from presentations on how to embrace different forms of media in our blogging lives to knowing about free speech protections for bloggers to how anyone can do investigative reporting.
The lessons learned through the event will, hopefully, influence my writing in the future, so in this post I’m doing a link-manic roundup of the extracurricular highlights of the event (or “dry runs” in GSA terminology.)
In no particular order:
- Getting frozen yogurt with Fox News contributor Steven Crowder, political Misfit Brandon Morse and YouTube superstar Lee Doren (with April D. Gregory chaperoning)
- The moving tribute to Andrew Breitbart, including the unveiling of this beautiful work by Jim Jamitis.
- Watching All American Blogger Duane Lester and The Black Sphere’s Kevin Jackson sing “Ebony & Ivory” at karaoke (honorable mentions go to vlogger Kira Davis‘ energetic “Proud Mary” and Red State‘s Ben Howe’s uncanny rap performances)
- Smoking fine cigars with All Patriots Media’s Tony Katz (while gleefully wallowing in the second-hand smoke of Smart Girls Teri Christoph and Kathleen McKinley)
- Bowling with National Center fellow Jerome Hudson. He dances.
- Recording an irreverent and wildly inappropriate Misfits Politics podcast with Steven Crowder, Brandon Morse, author Amelia Hamilton and Chris Loesch that covered Steven Seagal, Jennifer Lawrence’s breasts, Lee Doren’s knack for hiding in small places, the stink of Steven Crowder, and some unimportant political things
- 90 minutes beside Amelia Hamilton on a flight without her asking the air marshal for my arrest
- Experiencing the wonder that is Chick-fil-A
- 72 hours of ‘Obama eats dog’ references–most of which ended up with me showing this picture
- Serenading Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs with a rousing rendition of Michael Buble’s “Sway” at karaoke (she joined in)
- Meeting Sundries Shack blogger Jimmie Bise in person. After two years of tweeting, emailing and podcasting with the man, I finally got to shake his hand. One of the kindest, most generous, inspirational folks I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting
- 72 hours of receiving bigoted, insulting anti-Canadian Canuckophobic remarks, mostly from Caring Inc.’s Kurt Schlichter, Twitter’s Kevin Eder, and SeanPAC chairman Sean Hackbarth, all of which had me laughing hysterically
- Becoming the keynote speaker of SeanPAC
- Stephen Kruiser
- Protector of Partying and #KruiserKabana savior, Security Guard Aaron
- The singing, dancing, multi-tasking Dancing Dan, washroom attendant of Strike City
- Discovering, then developing an addiction to, Sweet Tea (and subsequently, Sweet Tea-flavored vodka)
- Having BBQ for the first time with Breitbart.com’s Dana Loesch and John Nolte, Kurt Schlichter and his (aptly nicknamed) “hot wife,” and about 30 other bloggers that showed up to a tiny restaurant without a reservation
- That time when Stacy “Stacy on the Right” Washington held me hostage in the restaurant while two worried moms were looking for me.