During tonight’s debate, at the back end of the media room, far away from the mainstream press (and cut off thereby from reliable wireless internet service), sat a bunch of young writers. They wore ski caps, flannel shirts and had a healthy dose of acne. They also had a nickname for themselves: the Backseat Bloggers.
“Hi, nice to meet you, and yes, we can speak,” said Brian Lawson, a 22-year-old, who runs the blog New Hampshire Presidential Watch. “This is the fifth debate I’ve been to and they’re still saying the same thing,” he said.
In the background, TVs and speakers showed Republicans were trading barbs. But with wireless internet on the fritz, Lawson said he was making up the time by playing solitaire. He was also making new friends.
Sitting nearby in the 15th row was a Daily Kos blogger–who decided to write a Republican debate wrap-up at the end instead of liveblogging it as it happened because the wireless internet was s spotty in the last full row, which he was sharing with a pair of bloggers from Wonkette.
Also nearby was 24-year-old video-blogger Jacob Soboroff, of “Why Tuesday?”, a voting awareness group. Soboroff was wearing a flannel shirt, a grey skully, a henley with enough buttons unbuttoned to expose a healthy dose of chest hair. A fellow “Why Tuesday?” colleague had curly hair and a skully.
Meanwhile, Lawson surveyed the row of youngish bloggers. “I’ve been able to talk to people who I’ve emailed before, but never met. Like I just met Dean today.”
He pointed to a young man in a green sweater who he said ran a blog called Blue Hampshire. “I’ve seen his picture online before and I remember seeing his face so I introduced myself and said, ‘Oh, you must be Dean.'” (Later, the site characterized Mitt Romney’s performance: “Did anyone notice that Romney just got pwned?”)
They were sitting next to each other in “meatspace,” waiting for a signal.