Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Freewheelin Blog Goes Legit (OK, not really)

Much ado has been made this week about the two-story tent that Google has provided for bloggers at the Democratic National Convention. While 120 bloggers were issued press credentials for access to the convention floor, FAR more than that applied . . . and Google is there to accomodate them. Google's tent at the Alliance Center has become the magnet for new media in Denver. Bloggers with millions of readers are rubbing elbows with those who have dozens . . . but it's still the coolest place to be.

As an amateur in social media, I've had a lot of fun talking to people about what was happening at the Big Tent, as it's lovingly referred to by its denizens. But I never thought that I'd have a chance to enter its hallowed halls (ok, it's a tent - use your imagination). So I was pretty thrilled to have a friend offer me a pass - just for a little while - to go and check things out. I approached the tent with some trepidation, knowing that I didn't really belong there. But the bouncer (there's probably a better word, but they guy reminded me exactly of a bouncer at a club) let me right in.

Right away someone approached me and asked me if I worked for Bikes Belong (I was wearing my Freewheelin shirt). Now I was on the defensive. Was my cover blown? Would I be exposed as a fraud? I told him that I worked for Humana, and he shook my hand eagerly, explaining that he was with an organization called Bike Denver. Bike Denver has been a huge supporter of freewheelin from the beginning, and he just wanted to thank me for bringing the program to Denver. Whew!

When I moved into the tent itself, Google had an area set aside to promote itself, including a YouTube photo booth for bloggers to do instant production and posting of convention videos. But when I entered the real tent, I was pretty surprised at what I saw . . . its pictured above. The only thing this image conjured up for me was a 19th century sweatshop, instead of having sewing machines, the poor souls in these long, uncomfortable rows were hunched over tiny little laptops, blogging away. Kind of amusing that so many people were fighting to get into a place that didn't seem worth getting into! It's all about the cool factor . . .

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