YearlyKos Convention: Building a Netroots Nation

YearlyKos Convention - n. yier-lee-KOS k&n-'ven(t)-sh&n An annual convention gathering people from all walks of life who belong to the Netroots community, the US-based (but globally focused and inclusive) non-partisan grassroots political action community that uses the Internet and blogs as primary tools for: expressing viewpoints, building consensus, acting to change the status quo, mobilizing huge numbers of people and informing each other and the world about current events, grassroots actions, networks, meetings, policy and more. The YearlyKos Convention is a project of with the generous support of the Netroots Arts and Education Initiative (NAEI).

The first YearlyKos convention occurred in June 2006, a time when a tremendous and growing number of citizens who gathered in the virtual world every day came together in person and raised their collective voice to try to proactively influence their government. That group is broadly called the Netroots, and according to Wikipedia, "focuses on political activism organized through blogs and other online media. The word is a portmanteau of Internet and grassroots, reflecting the technological innovations that set Netroots techniques apart from other forms of political participation." But we'd add to that summation the fact that the Netroots is made up of individuals—not corporations, not lobbyist groups, not any large money-infused machine that (currently) influences all that occurs inside the beltway. The most-visited blog of this movement is Daily Kos, founded in 2002 by MarKOS Moulitsas.

In June of 2006, "Kossacks" and bloggers from all over the world got together at the first annual YearlyKos Convention and actually met each other at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. Approximately 1200 conventioneers, speakers, panelists and members of the media attended this debut event from June 8-11, and discussed everything from balancing family life, political discourse and a career to education in the United States to the future of energy resources and energy policy, and so much more. Speakers included General Wesley Clark, Senators Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid, DNC Chair Dr. Howard Dean, Ambassador Joe Wilson and former VA Governor, Mark Warner. The convention was covered by high-profile media sources including C-Span, CNN, the major television networks, the The New York Times, national radio outlets and of course, the blogosphere. In keeping with its Netroots origins, the first YearlyKos Convention was self-funded via sponsorships, donors and support from the Netroots community and was organized by volunteers.