Not surprisingly, Washington's finest — it's only been a few years since Senator Ted Stevens told us the Internet is a "series of tubes" — have been a little slow to catch on.
"They could so much more authentically engage — and use — women online as promoters of their message," says Joanne Bamberger, better known as PunditMom, who will be appearing on a Thursday morning panel titled "Women Rule: Keys for Social Media and Electoral Success."
It's not as if Washington is entirely blind to the possibilities. New York US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's "Off the Sidelines" initiative, designed to get more women involved in politics, has a strong online presence. And just last week, the White House hosted a summit for Latina blogueras.
But for the white guys who dominate the capital, it seems, reaching out to women on the Web still means tweeting a picture of your bulging Weiner.
DRAFT WARREN Only at Netroots Nation can you hear US Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren talk
about the GOP's war on women, and then go out and get piss drunk afterward.
POLITICS IS LOCAL
John Boehner's permatan was fun for a while. And finding new ways to brand President Obama a horrible disappointment had its pleasures.
But if national politics has been the netroots' fixation going back to the Days of Dubya, the importance of state and local politics cannot be ignored after the events of the past year.
In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker went apeshit on public-employee unions. In Mississippi, pro-life activists sought to make fetuses people — just like corporations! And the business-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which drafted voter ID and "Stand Your Ground" bills for use all over the country, emerged as the new Beelzebub of the right.
Trouble was, says Mary Rickles, communications director for Netroots Nation, many of the local bloggers who had sprung up during the excitement of the 2006 and 2008 election cycles had faded away; state-level bloggers, unable to make a living on blog posts and charticles, weren't there when they were needed most.
But there are blogs that persevered: BlueMassGroup in Massachusetts and the Burnt Orange Report in Texas among them. In Rhode Island, blogger-reporter Bob Plain is reviving rifuture.org. And he he'll be among those appearing on a Saturday afternoon panel titled "Revitalizing State and Local Blogging."
Other panels, such as "Taking the Offense in State Elections" and "Victory in Ohio: How Senate Bill 5 Was Defeated," will focus more generally on state and local politics.
GET 'ER DONE
If the Senate Bill 5 win somehow escaped your notice, these two high-profile victories probably did not: the Internet's stunning defeat of online piracy bills known by the acronyms SOPA and PIPA (see "Game Change?," page 14) and environmentalist McKibben's remarkable inside-outside push to delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.
A couple of panels will try to divine any lessons to be learned from these fights: "Organizing Lessons from SOPA and PIPA" and "Handcuffs, Conventional Wisdom, and Dirty Oil: Activism's Big Win Against the Keystone Pipeline," both on Thursday morning.
After all the bits and blogs, you'll probably be ready to get blasted. There are plenty of gatherings shaping up. But a few stand out.