We heard it called “the college reunion I never had” and that accurately describes an incredible few days in Providence, Rhode Island where thousands of committed progressive organizers, activists and of course bloggers, came together for Netroots Nation 2012. Holly Minch and Amanda Cooper represented the LightBox Collaborative as we learned, networked, and even sang and danced our way through an inspirational few days.  Here are some of our highlights:

  1. It was a proud moment for the LightBox Collaborative when we realized how many clients were represented on panels, keynotes and other positions of honor, including Heather McGhee of Demos and Jakada Imani from the Ella Baker Center.
  2. Of course it was fabulous to hear Elizabeth Warren’s vision of an economy that works for working people and Darcy Burner outline a path to equality for women, but we were also excited to meet Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono, who, if elected, would become the first Asian American woman in the Senate.
  3. We already knew we agreed with Ryan Senser’s hypothesis that progressives get narrative wrong, but his session helped us articulate how. In particular, we loved hearing from Anat Shenker-Osorio.  Her amazing insights into how our brains build entire stories around single words was eye opening… and is well illustrated in coverage of an incredible study.
  4. The geniuses at Upworthy taught us the easy way to A/B test your Facebook posts for shareability (Change headlines and compare clicks! Why didn’t we think of that?), as well as inspiring the number in the title of this blog post (apparently headlines with numbers test very well).
  5. There was an incredible session of Ignite presentations curated by Jennifer Fernandez Ancona, Highlights included Arshad Hasan of Democracy for America on how he got started as an activist, rising star Alisha Sedor, the millennial Executive Director of NARAL Pro Choice South Dakota, on how to reach millennials, and our own Holly Minch on how we can change the world by taking our friends with different views on a road trip (really!). In the end, Colin Mutchler of LoudSauce brought it all home in a song.
  6. Singing “Don’t Stop Believing” with hundreds of new and old activist friends at the SEIU karaoke party.  And feeling a great deal of confidence that this crowd, in fact, will never stop believing that we can make the world a better place!
  7. But the biggest inspiration was realizing how lucky we are to be what the Netroots Nation calls “professional progressives.” We have the rare privilege of working for the causes we believe in full time. So many of the Netroots Nation blog and advocate in their spare time, dedicating their lives to making our country a more just and fair place.  We commend them, and recommit ourselves to making sure we find ways to support their work, because activating more people to care about the issues we work on is the key to healing the planet and all of us who share it.

(Image courtesy Netroots Nation)
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Amanda Cooper is a LightBox collaborator and is already excited for Netroots Nation 2013.