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First off this week, my fellow Politicos, I'd like to thank all of you who listened to my debut on A World of Progress online radio! Thanks to the generous spirit of my friend Kim, who is the publisher of the terrific progressive blog, A World of Progress, (follow her on twitter, too: @awopradio), I was invited to help her out and co-host her new weekly program. It all happened kind of quickly, but from the first time we spoke, I knew Kim and her AWOP family are my kind of progressives. She talked about how if everyone is doing what they can, whether it be blogging, tweeting, writing their legislators, what a huge difference that would make. Which is why she's doing her bit on progressive radio. We had so much fun on our test run, with Shelly, a great mom and liberal, just dishing the political dirt with like-minded progressives, that I couldn't wait for the show today. It was really a blast, and we actually had quite a few listeners for the first time out. We even had "Breaking News" from our friend Nunzia Rider, AWOP's executive editor and Queen of the AWOP Chat Room!
If you haven't heard of BlogTalkRadio, well, you're missing the best thing since Milky Way came out with the bar that's just chocolate, caramel and no nougat. Have you had that yet? It's fantastic. I hated having to eat around the nougat...
Anyhow, the BlogTalkRadio premise is that, using your computer and a phone line, you can host a radio show from your own living room. And I'll be damned if it didn't work! Check out our first podcast here (I'm on in the 2nd hour). Even the Little Politicos were cooperative and quiet, and The Hubby made room for my makeshift studio on the kitchen table - no wonder I love him! :) (And, no, I have not been paid by BlogTalkRadio - I was simply impressed with the ease of use and the fun we had.)
On the website, you have a full host screen in front of you - a switchboard for callers, a way to screen them, a place for sound bytes or recordings, and a way to tweet from within the screen. Another screen provides a chat room, which can be moderated or not as you wish. Even a countdown to air time and a cool "ON AIR" light, just like on WKRP in Cincinnatti! It was an easy interface to work and gave us what we needed to get the show on the air. Kim did make some herculean efforts, though - kudos, Girlfriend! She eliminated any audio delay, and conquered any tech issues like she'd been doing this thing her whole life. Impressive.
I was slated to speak on the GOP's attack on public education. Now, you know me, that means I spent a buncha time online doing my research. I had questions, and found some amazing, and some downright scary, answers. I was spread out all over the kitchen table, highlighter in hand and Sharpie behind my ear, pulling out salient points I wanted to bring out, typing up notes in Word, etc. Now I know why Rachel Maddow just spreads everything out on the floor - her "Paper Temple," as her staff calls it:
We met up online and found our way around the site: getting all of us connected, logged in, etc. We had done all we could do before showtime, so agreed to meet back in half an hour. Naturally, I spent the time revising my notes and research, labeling all the pages in Sharpie so I could see which pages referred to what, and just generally being nervous. Very nervous! What if we had no listeners? What if I blew it somehow in a public forum? I added a few extra water bottles to my kitchen-table studio in case of dry mouth...and before I knew it, we were listening to the countdown to air time. Kim cued up the intro music and off we went...
We did talk about the Rethug's war on public schools, and there were some great exchanges! But one issue led to others, and we talked about a myriad of issues. The first two guests couldn't hear those of us on the phone line due to technical difficulties...hey, what would a first show be without at least one little glitch? But Kim handled it beautifully, asking our questions about local North Carolina politics - it was interesting, and I learned quite a bit! The second hour was my segment, with a terrific mom and progressive named Shelly. The three of us spoke over each other a bit, but other than that, I think we did well. If you have a chance, please listen to the podcast and give us some feedback. We'd love to hear from you. We'll spit and polish things each week, as we refine the show and respond to listener feedback, so hearing from you, my fellow Politicos and loyal readers, is important!
But the hour afterward was what impressed me the most. I'd been tweeting all week about the show, and found out afterward a good number of my followers supported me by following @awopradio on twitter as well. If they didn't listen to the show when it aired, many helped by re-tweeting the messages I sent, and the link to the podcast, too. Friends from Michigan and Ohio tweeted me to congratulate us on the show, and added some of their own commentary - my twitter feed was hopping for a good hour and a half after the show ended. Several folks offered to retweet for us next week, and others wanted to follow me on Digg and StumbleUpon. And some went ahead and retweeted my last blogpost - so thoughtful. I had some great conversations with other progressives - some may call in next time, and others are happy to promote us. What was striking about the whole experience was how progressives from all over the country were able to have a conversation - whether via text, tweet, email or @awopradio - about what's going on in our country and were able to come together to support each other.
Social media can be isolating, at times, and even overwhelming. In this strange new world, how do I find time to tweet, text, Digg, Stumble, blog, Facebook, twitpic, Google+ or one of a million other new nouns that are now verbs??? But, at its best, social media can bring together the energy and intellect of progressives across the country, even the globe, to make a difference and band together to fight the good fight. And that's what it felt like happened today. And that's what we, as a progressive, left-leaning community have to keep in mind every day. That's the endgame. As Kim said, in her light little Texas/No. Carolina twang, "everybody doing the one thing they can" - that's where our power to change this democracy lives.
Loving the online radio, gotta say. And my undying gratitude to Kim from A World of Progress Radio for the great co-host gig - I am even more excited about the possibilities ahead! I had a blast today. Please do stop by A World of Progress - amazing blog, and some fantastic people like Nunzia onboard.
No worries, though, my fellow Politicos. I'll still be blogging and tweeting up a storm (all right, maybe just a light squall...I'm not that prolific!) and Momma Politico will continue to be alive and well. Hope to hear from some of you on what topics you'd like to see covered on the next show...and what you thought of the first one! And, as always, I'd love for you to put your two cents in: social media, blessing or curse? Isolating or unifying? You tell me, here at Momma Politico.