AUSTIN, Tex. — Anyone who follows technology and politics knows the narrative: The right is lagging behind liberals online. Whether it’s breaking news on blogs, raising money on the web or mobilizing activists, liberals claim to hold an edge. It’s a story that has been told for nearly two years. And finally, it’s getting old.
At a gathering here Friday and Saturday, attendees at Americans for Prosperity’s Right Online conference will show they are active players with a passion for technology. After months of planning, the two-day conference has arrived — with workshops on everything from online fundraising and social networking to reputation management and web video. Blogging will be a key component.
The conference coincidentally falls at the same time and same city as Netroots Nation, formerly known as Yearly Kos, which attracts some of the biggest names on the left. Only this year, liberals will have to share the spotlight.
While the Right Online organizers have dismissed any comparison, it’s evident that conservatives are eager to show their progress. For years at technology conferences, liberals dominated the scene. That began to change last year and was clearly evident at last month’s Personal Democracy Forum in New York.
The fact that Heritage is sending five people to Right Online illustrates its importance. I will be moderating the opening panel about how Web 2.0 is connecting people. Bill Beach, director of our Center for Data Analysis, will teach a class on Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting to nearly 20 professional and citizen journalists. The others include: Todd Thurman, who joined us from Yahoo! last month and oversees online marketing; Alex Adrianson, editor of the comprehensive InsiderOnline.org website; and Mark Kelly, who is connecting conservatives every day in our coalitions office.
As a leader on the right, Heritage has always taken technology seriously. We’re encouraged to be working with so many friends and allies — both at the national and state level — who are just as committed.
(For updates about the conference, follow @Heritage on Twitter. In addition to getting updates about Right Online, you’ll be among the first to receive our new policy papers, learn about Heritage-sponsored events and keep tabs on The Foundry.)