Archive for the ‘ Texas Bloggers ’ Category

CPAC News: Q/A with Houston Blogger Melissa Clouthier

I talked to top conservative Houston-based blogger and tweeter, Melissa Clouthier, from the Conservative Political Action Committee convention in Washington, DC. Melissa was a featured CPAC panelist for a breakout session titled “The Power of New Media to Change Things.”

WHAT’S DIFFERENT AT CPAC THIS YEAR FROM LAST YEAR?

The sheer numbers of young people here. There are 10,000 people at CPAC. Probably half of them are under age 25. So there’s a LOT of young people, and a lot of energy. And there’s more hope. Last year, I think everyone felt a little kicked in the gut.

WHAT WAS THE BEST MOMENT DURING DAY ONE (THURSDAY, 2/18)?

Bar none, it was the surprise of having Dick Cheney speak. The crowd went nuts. He was funny, snarky, and very loved by the crowd because he’s unapologetically conservative. And he’s a great speaker with a lot of presence. He’s been a successful politican for a reason.

Second only to Cheney, was the surprise of Scott Brown introducing Mitt Romney. Brown also brought down the house.

DO YOU SENSE THE GOP FEELS A POWER SHIFT TO GRASSROOTS MOVEMENTS?

There’s probably still a strain of denial among some. But I do think there are some others who are really excited to have this energy coming up from the bottom. They know people are paying way more attention to the issues. Thats’ a challenge to the GOP because everyone’s watching and determining whether they’re on the “right” side of an issue or on the “wrong” side of an issue.

WHAT’S NEXT AT CPAC THAT YOU’RE EXCITED ABOUT?

I’m interested more in the break-out sessions. The next important thing – and my question – is what are we going to do policy-wise to make a difference? There are some good topics and ideas being put forth in these sessions; for example,the California model of governance (what NOT to do, of course), and there’s a session on ideas for community development in urban centers that interests me.

WHAT ARE TOP CONSERVATIVE BLOGGERS TALKING ABOUT WITH EACH OTHER?

We had a “Blogger Bash”  dinner last night and you know, we’re just enjoying each others’  company. Bloggers are not the most loved people by some. So it’s been great to be able to be positive for each other. That doesn’t happen often. Most bloggers are self-employed and probably not making money. So it’s fun to be together. We’re less political with each other than you’d imagine and just having a good time.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE WILL COME OUT OF CPAC FOR 2010?

I’m hoping that the people who attend will feel more solidarity with like-minded people. Conservatives in particular, over the last 8-10 years, have felt like America has changed so much that maybe the “majority” really does want a more european style model of government. President George W. Bush’s domestic agenda – although I personally like him – but his agenda was more of a big government model. Now it’s encouraging to see there’s a lot of people who want something different, who are focused on less government and lower taxes. But let’s not forget how much Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, et al, have done for us as well. So it’s one thing to be negatively motivated but another thing to be positively engaged.

HOW ABOUT FOR TEXAS SPECIFICALLY?

For one thing, I’ve been asked here a million times, “What’s going on down there with that Debra Medina?” But the point to that is, people are really interested in what’s going on in Texas, because they know our state is doing really well. Conservatives are impressed. They want what we have in their states. Of course, there are people suffering in Texas from unemployment, mortgage foreclosures, etc., but when you start comparing the stories I’m hearing from around the country, we’re in relatively good shape. It’s such a different environment in Texas and people want it. That’s a big thing. So Texas is like the rock star right now in the conservative movement. Going forward this year, we need to preserve what’s been done right, and make it even stronger.

Learn more about Dr. Melissa Clouthier at www.melissaclouthier.com

Follow Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaTweets

This interview is also published online at: http://www.austincapitaltimes.com

Follow The Austin Capital Times on Twitter: @atxcaptimes


Blog Summit Quotes Part 2: Patrick Ruffini, Jim Eustace (Session One)

More Naked Quotes and Paraphrases from Perry Blog Summit, Austin, TX     1-23-2010

SESSION ONE: TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION

@PatrickRuffini: You need a message, a cause, a sense of urgency to rally behind. What’s the call to action?

@PatrickRuffini: People blog because they care. They are not shills of a political party. But don’t ignore the parties.

@PatrickRuffini: Use facts and analysis to report; translate those into action. Lay out a narrative that’s evidence-based then tell what (readers) can do about it.

@VMFounder: There are no limitations on bloggers.

@VMFounder: Use analytics. Be intentional and strategic with wording. Be creative. User-generated content is key.

@PatrickRuffini: You have an opinion. You want to motivate. Give thoughtful, original information to move the story forward and translate to action.

@PatrickRuffini: During the online “wilderness” years for Republicans, we got to practice. Now it’s coming to fruition and we need to be on our game.

@VMFounder: Apply targeted content strategies to blogs. “Delicious” feeds to Twitter. “Feedburner” and RSS give analytics. Create content categories.

@VMFounder: (Social media) opens up information. Campaigns should be open, receptive, and oriented to bloggers.

@VMFounder: Activists act. They need to have information to act on.

@Patrick Ruffini: Ideal for Twitter – use a colorful word, follow that with “awesome link!”

@VMFounder: A great example of a grass roots success through social media is the Ron Paul “Money Bomb.”

@VMFounder: Focus on the content people are coming back to see, the most popular views, what people are taking the most action on.

Blog Summit Quotes

Naked Quotes and paraphrases from the Perry Blog Summit, Austin, TX     1-23-2010

@GovernorPerry: When government doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, people revolt. Social media is a revolution.

@AndrewBreitbart: I’m the only middle class ‘media mogul’ I know (not in it to build a personal empire).

@AndrewBreitbart: I believe the next five years will be a disaster for the statist media by courageous conservatives on social media.

@MelissaTweets: We have to get used to the idea of a certain level of discomfort as we move toward ideas we can agree on.

@RogerLSimon: I don’t call liberals ‘liberals;’ I call ’em ‘reactionaries.’

@MattKLewis: Don’t just become proficient technically. Bone up on conservative thinking and philosophies. Know why you believe.

@MelissaTweets (Dr. Melissa Clouthier): This work can be tiring. There’s a lot of criticism. It’s difficult to sustain. (so encourage each other)

@MattKLewis: If you find an opinion maker who says something you like, let them know it.
@AndrewBreitbart: calling on conservative social media to write about “hero” Brandon Darby http://bit.ly/4yN24U

@AndrewBrietbart: This is our media. We’re going to use it to save our country.

@AndrewBreitbart: We’re screwing with the future is what we’re doing right here (conservatives using social media)

@GovernorPerry: gives a brief Alamo-era frontier TX history lesson as a parallel to today’s social media revolution while showing off his cowboy boots, engraved with a picture of the historic flag picturing a canon and the sentiment “Come and Take it!”

@GovernorPerry: I love the competition of social media. The media monopoly has gotten lazy. We’re revolutionaries!

@AndrewBreitbart: “Media Matters” is there to be a firewall and protect the mainstream media (from us).

@AndrewBreitbart: The left defined the narrative. It’s our job to redefine it and destroy them for the sake of western civilization

@AndrewBreitbart: If these people (the media, Hollywood) won’t correct themselves, it’s our obligation to destroy them.

@AndrewBreitbart: Thanks to The Huffington Post, the NYTimes is exposed. My goal is to destroy the (bias) of the mainstream media.

@AndrewBreitbart: I get ribbed for creating the Huffington Post for Ariana, but it was meant to be mutually beneficial.

@RogerLSimon: You can be one of Glenn Reynolds’ ‘Army of Davids’ in 12-seconds (carry a camera – something amazing might happen!)

@MelissaTweets: GOP politicians who still believe role is make our lives better? No! Get outta the way. WE make our lives better.

@MelissaTweets: Old guard ‘compassionate conservatism’ killed the Republican brand.

@MattKLewis: You guys all have a megaphone. Get a laptop, iPhone or Blackberry, a camera. You are now the media!

@MattKLewis: Become part of a community. Follow opinion leaders, even journalists. Do not yell at them. Interact with them

@MelissaTweets: on generating populist activism through social media: Context is everything!

@MattKLewis: Mon’t get mad except on purpose – a maxim for populist activism.

@MattKLewis: Moral outrage is the #1 motivating force in politics – quoting mentor Morton Blackwell

Notes from Blog School for Activists

So I went to a Blogger Summit this morning in Austin, TX, sponsored by the office of Governor Rick Perry (R-TX). Did I already have a blog? No. Had I ever even visited the blogosphere? Frankly, not really. Why did I go to a summit of bloggers as if I were one of them? Because my husband signed me up. As is so often the case in marriage, my spouse was right in insisting I go (and since he won’t likely get around to actually reading my blog despite his passionate conviction that I should have one, I’m OK with admitting he was right because here I am)

Now I’m not a complete social media moron. I do tweet. I’ve had my @FreemanTweets account for – oh, about a week now? I’m getting the hang of generating 140 character commentary. But I haven’t quite gotten the hang of retweeting and hash-tagging….so off to the Blogger Summit I went, hoping to at least understand more about those two things. And maybe get some inspiration for a blog. Because we all know why tweeters tweet: So everyone will read their blog, right?

But here’s the thing; I definitely did not want to launch my words and thoughts into the blogosphere without shape or form. I’m sure plenty of people are already filling up plenty of blog space with mindlessness. But I want to have a focus and direction. Since my fallback position as a journalist is to interview people when I want find out something, I interviewed myself while driving into town:

Me:  Who are you and what do you have to say to the Blogosphere?

Myself:  I don’t know.

Me:  What do you bring to the table?

Myself: Usually, an appetite. As for focus, I could go in a couple of different directions.

Me: Like what?

Myself: Journalism. Media bias. Conservative women. Surviving the Obama administration?

Me: Just go in there with an open mind and heart. Keep a low profile. Observe, take notes, analyze.

Myself: OK, I’m going in. Wish me luck!

So in I went, to a nicely appointed learning center conference auditorium on the University of Texas campus. A young, attractive black woman introduced herself to me during the pre-mingle. Turns out she’s attending the same grad school I attended a couple of decades ago (she’s studying government; I got my MA in journalism). We sat together. So far, so good!

And it just got better from there. The speaker lineup for the three morning sessions was excellent. They did not disappoint but it was a different experience to see and hear them, rather than just read their twitter bursts (does that mean flesh-and-blood is to social media as brick-and-mortar is to online shopping?).

The morning’s three panel sessions were titled: Turning Ideas Into Action with Jim Eustace and Patrick Ruffini, Setting The Table (aka “Keep ‘Em Coming Back For More”) with Dr. Melissa Clouthier and Matt K. Lewis, and Growing Influence with Roger L. Simon and Andrew Breitbart. In a word, they each said:

Content! – Jim Eustace @VMFounder

Call to action! – Patrick Ruffini @PatrickRuffini

Context! – Melissa Clouthier @MelissaTweets

Cultivation! – Matt Lewis @MattKLewis

Cameras! – Roger Simon @RogerLSimon

Courage! – Andrew Breitbart @AndrewBreitbart

Come and take it! – Gov. Rick Perry @GovernorPerry

Governor Perry was passionate and enaged; his quick Alamo-era frontier Texas history lesson was awesome (could the Alamo ever not be awesome?!). Something I found equally cool – neither the Governor nor I were the oldest people in the room. It was gratifying to see so many “mature” people at a social media conference on a college campus. But whether older or younger, these were all people of substance with a shared passion for Texas, for America, and for genuinely conservative principles and values.

I’m guessing most of those in attendance are already publishing a lot of social media content (except yours truly) and yet there was no evidence of superstar mentalities, not even from Andrew Breitbart – one of the key people behind the 2009 ACORN expose. Breitbart said of himself during his keynote talk that he’s “the only middle class media mogul” he knows. So much for social media big-headedness (and wealth).

My only complaint? The summit wasn’t long enough. But are 140 Twitter characters ever enough from any of these folks? No doubt there will be more summits and, if the response from today’s attendees was any indication, the next one will be longer and provide more opportunities to get either get started in social media usage or refine what you’re already doing. I, for one, left there and just jumped right in here, thanks to the summit.

My task now is to start refining why I’m here. Many thanks to Matt K. Lewis and to Andrew Breitbart for their specific encouragement. Also, special thanks to Will Franklin, Director of New Media and Research for Governor Perry’s campaign. Well done, Will and team!

Also, please take a moment to check out my young, black, conservative new friend, Hannah Bell, at her blog for Young Minority Conservatives:  http://youngminorityconservatives.blogspot.com. I also met an impressive young lady named Kelly Hoag, who’s working for George Morovich, the Republican candidate for Texas 25th US Congressional District. Kelly just returned from her second tour of duty in Iraq, where she served on the front lines. So many impressive people at the Blogger Summit, both participants and speakers. I wish I could have met them all and heard their stories. I’ll bet there’s not a boring one in the bunch!

Before I forget, one more thing – a call to action! See? I was paying attention today. So:

GO HERE: http://rickperry.org/blog/find-your-e

DO THIS: Scroll down for free tickets to the upcoming Sarah Palin rally in Houston, for Gov. Perry.

In the meantime, I’m not yet sure where I’ll go from here.  But wherever I do land in the blogosphere, hope to see you there!