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Righting the Online Imbalance

To Twitter, or not to Twitter? What about LinkedIn? And YouTube? Track blogs through Technorati? Or Google?

These were a few of the questions raised at today's Modern Media Strategies conference, attended by the leading online political operatives from presidential campaigns (Mindy Finn, chief strategist for former governor Mitt Romney, gave a talk); representatives from conservative groups (Jason Mattera of Young America's Foundation); and a sizable young Hill staffer crowd.

And, of course, there are bloggers such as J.P. Freire of Brainwash. It's a day-long event at the Heritage Foundation's auditorium, co-hosted by Heritage and Google. (Yes, Google, whose growing Washington presence is effectively reaching out to Democrats and Republicans alike.) About 200 GOPers showed up, the largest gathering yet for a new media workshop for conservatives, organizers said.

Today's meeting, organized by the young turks of the online conversative sphere, is the answer to the perceived dominance of the left's netroots and an attempt to close a gap between the GOP and the Democrats online. Cyrus Krohn, a veteran of Yahoo! and MSN, recently joined the Republican National Committee as its eCampaign director and won't concede defeat. Not yet, at least. He's one of today's speakers.

It's a somber, serious, quiet crowd. A rare moment of laughter filled the auditorium when Matt Lewis of TownHall, the popular conservative jokingly introduced himself by saying: "Thank you for coming out today. I am not gay." Lewis, director of operatives at TownHall, said that he's "not a techie" and considers himself "a reformed Luddite."
"The reason I do tech is because I have to," Lewis said. "If you want to be successful today, you have to work with the Internet."

That seemed to be the message of the day.

-- Jose Antonio Vargas

By Washington Post editors  |  August 29, 2007; 3:50 PM ET
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