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09/04/2012

'Oh you're a blogger'—a shift in intonation #DNC2012

by Jeremy Hooper

Img 3459For seven years now, I've heard any number of variations of the quote in the above headline. That being the case, I've become quite adept at reading the implication based on where the speaker places the emphasis.

In the early days, the emphasis was more on the word "blogger," with the person on the other end most confused about what exactly that meant. Are you a journalist? Are you a commentator with a point of view? Are you an activist? Are you a rainmaker? Are you a tech geek? Are you strategist? Are you an opposition researcher? Etc, etc. In my case, the answer to all of those questions is yes. However, that mixed bag was not always so easy to explain.

Then, a few years in, I felt a little shift. People started hearing the blogger label bandied about in various ways in a multitude of venues, giving them their own bloggy impressions. Some were skeptical. Some were concerned. Some were downright worried about what a fly-by-the-seat media world would mean for the message. Even among the less consternated, many were doubtful about the difference a blogger could make. "Oh. You're a [pause] blogger," said the less-than-thrilled voices.

But then a funny thing started happening. As news cycles came and went, familiarity bred understanding. When an industrious blogger proves his capability to turn one story into a major national conversation, one can write if off as a fluke (of the non-Sandra variety). When blogger after blogger proves his or her media mettle, it's hard to deny that the game has changed. For me, that change meant meetings. And access. And brain-picking sessions. And contracts. And punditry. And a book that's topping the Amazon G&L nonfiction ratings chart. The shift, so sweeping in such a relatively short period of time, has been pretty damn cool to experience.

Which brings me to Charlotte, 2012. Not only am I fully credentialed with the top level green pass, I actually feel incredibly respected by all involved. I'm not feeling a separation between "real" media. I'm not seeing a separate line for those who seem to feed off their laptop's glow. I'm not hearing condescension. I feel welcome. Courted, even.


Last night, I was sharing a cocktail and equally spirited conversation with a major power player—the type of person you see on the big shows and whose chess moves you read about on A1 of the Times. She was familiar with my work and extremely eager to bounce off ideas—ideas that transcend new media or LGBT rights and focus on larger coalition building.

"Ohhhhh. You're a blogger." Indeed.

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