When you throw a convention in a city of pricey hotels and charge $300 dollar plus registration fees, you pretty much pre-select your attendees. Then add a harrowing hyper competitive process for deciding who gets time and space to present their ideas. So it's no surprise that NN will be largely a parade of affluent urban bloggers. And that leaves poor urban and rural folks out and digitally disenfranchised.
Lets talk about the urban folks first, and I mean really urban. Just a mile north from the palatial convention center begins the real Minneapolis. It's a place we call the Northside, and I was born there and lived there for over 20 years. Now NN attendees will be told what a great progressive green success story Minneapolis is; The Northside is the other Minneapolis. The Northside looks more like Detroit than Minneapolis, but that's not an entirely fair comparison... Unlike Minneapolis, Detroit has admitted it's problems and is dealing with them. Minneapolis is still deep in denial.
I own a home in North Minneapolis, built in 1887 it has neither basement nor central heat, has less than a thousand square feet of living space, and needs a new roof and rewiring. The City of Minneapolis thinks it's worth $50,000 and charges me $800 for the "privilege" of not living there. The water is turned off because the City of Minneapolis will charge me $100 just to turn it on in the spring and off in the fall, and they'll charge me around $50 a month even if I use no water. A year ago I laid $50,000 on the table and offered to put that money into rehabbing it if the city would help. I got no response from "progressive" mayor R.T Rybak, and my "progressive" council member took months to reply. So it's no surprise that my block in North Minneapolis is half empty and going tax forfeit.
As if life in North Minneapolis wasn't desperate enough, a few weeks ago they got hit by a tornado. The Northside charities, churches, and civic groups did a great job of helping out, going door to door to make sure that everyone who needed it got assistance. The City of Minneapolis went door to door too, sending building inspectors out in hopes they could condemn lots of storm damaged homes in hopes they could turn the tornado's track into yet another "urban removal" project. As I write, the inspectors are making another pass after the media reported that they missed several slumlord owned properties that were probably worthy of condemnation. So the great "progressive" City of Minneapolis will be kicking lots of poor folks out of their homes today... And the City has made no provisions for finding and funding replacement housing for the poor folks they're making homeless!
Now the Northside of Minneapolis has a great corps of progressive bloggers, from Johnny Northside on down the line. But I didn't see any of their names on NN's agenda. Heck, I didn't even see much of any mention of community scale blogging on NN's agenda. It's not rocket science- I've seen no mention of NN on the Northside and NNs price of admission is way too much for our Northside bloggers... The Northside is where much of the people who will be cleaning up after NN live, and even NN's little publicized $195 local admission is at least half a weeks pay on the Northside of Minneapolis.
NN is NOT for rural folks either... The wage scale out here is about as low as the Northside's. And if you live twenty miles west of here in South Dakota with it's even lower wages, NN will stick you for the whole $350 or so admission fee. Add on a 400 mile round trip drive to Minneapolis and over hundred dollar a night hotel costs, and NN will set you back a months South Dakota wages.
For what? type "rural" into NN's agenda search and you'll come up with but three sessions, and they only pop up because the session organizers put the term "rural" somewhere in their descriptions. And will they discuss sustainable ag or other core rural issues in those sessions? NOT! The closest they'll get is rural broadband or lack of it. Let me tell you more than the presenters ever knew about the digital divide... our broadband access is the public library, and maybe a smart phone when it's not raining/snowing/foggy/etc. and you stand in just the right place and wait... I gave up trying to load DKos this morning. I have an unfunded broadband "stimulus project" going- fixing up an abandonned 40 foot antenna tower in hopes of getting the nearest broadband signal from a town eight miles away! We know all about broadband access on Minneapolis' Northside too- the much vaunted "Minneapolis Wireless" is a collection of dead zones, Qwest's DSL is (sometimes) delivered by a decreptid web of old wires, the cable company is even worse, and the cell company's data service is often "no service".
So in conclusion, if your a well heeled member of the blogger elite, NN is for you. And if you're a well paid PR flack or lobbyist that trolls the blogs and gins up "astroturf" for your corporate clients, NN is for you.
But if you're a plain old working class inner city or rural blogger, NN is NOT for you!