This weekend I have the privilege of representing Chapter Three at the Yearly Kos Convention, the mothership for progressive and Democratic online activists and organizers.
For me, it's not just a chance to hand out business cards and schmooze; it's also a chance to reconnect with old comrades. I came up in this industry through the Howard Dean campaign, and then Music For America and the general explosion of internet politics in 2003/04. That's how I met Zack, how we both discovered Drupal, and how I made the transition from a journeyman freelance web developer to a real expert with the ability to champion and manage large-scale project.
I'll post more thoughts from the conference as they settle in, but at this point the biggest things I've noticed are:
- It's a younger crowd. Still probably 35+ on balance, but there are a lot more people my age here than I saw in Las Vegas last time.
- All the campaigns and organizations are rapidly assimilating new methods: sending videographers along for YouTube compliance, looking at local bloggers as equivalent to local newspapers, etc.
- Older-line services such as broadcast email and CRM are becoming commodities, and the major players here are beginning to back away from trying to be the end-all be-all solution, and pursuing the ASP/API model.
- The cafeteria here is the most price-gouging I've ever seen. Worse than an airport. $14 for a hamburger!
It's interesting, because there's a lot of energy here, but it's a decreasingly insurgent atmosphere. The newness of things is wearing off, people and processes are becoming institutionalized, and the question now is what has really changed?
The revolution has certainly not come to pass, but things aren't the same as they used to be. I for one hope things haven't yet come to a point of stasis.