Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

New Media Journalist Sets Self On Fire To Protest Soul-Destroying Boredom At Netroots Session

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | July 25, 2010 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Netroots Nation, online activism

I'm in a session at Netroots Nation writing this. No New Media Journalists were harmed in the making of this post, but, boy, it sure feels like dementors are sucking my soul out of my mouth.

Omfg. as I write this, more meaningless, crowded slides scroll by, narrated in a perky yet boring drawl.

It's Ferris Buehler meets Netroots.

My one thought: Kill me now.

I don't want to use any identifying information about the session, and I hope they don't see this, because the moderators seem like really nice, sincere people, but they remind me of Mrs. Voynick, who tortured me in 2nd grade.

I went to the session instead of the pool because I was really, really interested in the subject. I wanted to learn the secret of online activism.

Unfortunately, I still don't know what that secret is. The only thing that keeps me awake is thinking of snarky comments to write here. Oh lord, here come more powerpoint slides advising attendees to "create your ask" and "set up an online resource center," and other simplistic obviousities. Maybe this is useful for people who've never engaged in online activism, but this is a conference for online activists, so....

Worst of all, they refuse to take questions until the end, so I can't even ask a question about information that might be interesting. You can't stifle your audience and expect their minds not to wander.

Oh, wait, they finished. Here's an interesting question... but the answer is filled with jargony insider acronyms. Sigh. Okay, they just mentioned two cool programs in passing that seem incredibly useful. I won't mention the programs now, because I don't want anyone to guess which session it was. But I suppose it was worth it after all.

Perhaps if I weren't "conferenced out," I would have absorbed more, but this teacup is full, honey.

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OMG you poor thing (HUGS) thank you for taking a conference meeting hit for us. I know the kind of meeting you were in.... I have like 3 or 4 of those meetings a week that I have to attend at work and honestly... its either take a nap, run out of the room screaming or just sit there while a fly crawls across my mind numbed eyeball sucking just that much more of my life from me.

I was going to say that I didn't see you when I looked around the room, but then I realized you were talking about another workshop!

As with almost every conference I've ever attended, the really good "stuff" at Netroots Nation happened in the halls, in the conversations before and after keynotes and in early-morning breakfasts and late coffee breaks.

Oh - and it was great meeting you!

Are you protesting again, Jillian?

Management experts say that the material presented at all conferences can be had at home and that the only reason to conference is to be physically close to associates known otherwise. It has something to do with the primal sense of smell and sight, and what we learn by those indicators. In some cases, taste and touch also come into play, usually after hours. Because the social (party?) aspects of these conferences are the real take-home, there is good reason to ditch the information-based sessions and to stay close to the coffee/muffins in the hallway, and to choose wisely your chair at lunch and your bar at night.

Omfg ... It's Ferris Buehler meets Netroots ... My one thought: Kill me now.

You better watch your step, Jillian ... GLBT activism, like American politics, can fold back on itself and make strange bedfellows.

Once upon a time there was a freshman senator sitting in a B-O-R-I-N-G meeting. After hours of torture, he passed a note to his aide, who read it feverishly. The note said: "Shoot me now. Shoot. me. now."

But hardly months later, the aide was White House Chief of Staff, the freshman senator and his family were the first African-Americans to live in the White House, and the main presenter in the boring meeting was Vice-President of the United States.

Jillian, be glad your workshop doesn't last four years.

LOL, do not burn your brain! Have some fun and make it back to NJ.!


This is one of the funniest things I've read in a while. Thanks for posting this!

Still, I wish I could have been there.