Social conservative organizations may have boycotted the just completed Conservative Political Action Conference but from all observations their absence had no effect on the conference.

Several weeks ago when it was announced that several pro-life groups would not be attending CPAC it looked like the beginning of an internecine war within the conservative movement that threatened to bring down the annual conservative Woodstock.

The boycott picked up steam when The Media Research Center and Heritage Foundation two organizations that are not directly associated with the pro-life movement also announced that they wouldn’t be particpating this after after having done so for most of ther existence.

That raised some eyebrows but in the end it didn’t amount to anything.  The total number of groups boycotting CPAC came to about ten or less than 10% of the total number of sponsors this year.

According to CPAC the number of sponsors actually increased  by 15% shwoing that they were not affected by the boycott.

The group that caused the stir GOProud was barely noticable in the sea of exhibitors and didn’t create any additional controvsery.

With attendance estimated to be a record 11,000 the rela losers this year were the groups that chose not to participate. 

It is a simple case of out of sight, out of mind and with many other pro-life conservative groups in atendance they just scooped up a bigger piece of the pie. 

With a new Chairman at  ACU these groups are probably hoping that things will change next year but as far as I can tell he will maintain the status quo.  And why not?  CPAC didn’t suffer from the absence of Heritage or MRC and instead continued to thrive.

The groups in question have every right to boycott CPAC and I understand their reasoning though it may be due more to wanting to support the Family Research Council’s Value Voters Summit. 

That meeting is far smaller and is fine for the family values set of the conservative movement but lacks the star power of CPAC and will likely remain a very small event by comparison.

The debate wll go on but it is clear that until a viable alternative exists that CPAC holds all the cards.

For those of you that blog on a regular basis attending a seminar on blogs and using video probably is of little use.  But for activists attending this weekend’s Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington D.C. these semeinars and others like it are essential to train the base so that they can fight the left that has so effectively used the web to promote their variuos causes.

This morning I attended a “Blogging 101” course given by Robert Bluey, the Director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.  Bluey who at the age of 29 is a veteran in the blogging world is extremely knowledgeable and showed the audience how to start a blog, post an entry, add a picture or YouTube video and answered a host of questions.   I even picked a up a few things during the session as he used blogivists as the place to start a blog.  It was the first time I had seen this blog site which runs on a WordPress platform so it is very easy to use but geared to free marketeers.  Also since I have only started using WordPress recently I hadn’t looked into posting pictures and video and now I know how.  So watch out!

The second session was on using video and was taught by Mary Katherine Ham who is also another young veteran blogger and has worked for many conservative organizations in D.C.  She is currently with the Weekly Standard and appears regularly to discuss web related news and events on the O’Reilly Factor.

Her topic was how to use video and it was another useful lesson especially coming directly after Bluey’s beginner blog presentation.  Ham showed some of her favorite videos and talked a little about what type of equipment she uses and the length of the perfect video, somewhere between 30 seconds to two minutes.  If you look at most YouTube videos they rarely run more than three minutes and are often much shorter.  For the video audience they have to be.  The attention span of a YouTube user is very short so you have to hook them right away otherwise they will move on.  Producing the video by adding music or other graphics can really add to the video but it also increases the time spent editing the footage.  It can take anywhere from one to three hours or even more to get the video just right.  And yet the quality of YouTube videos is quite low so unless you are planning to use the video somewhere else it probably isn’t worth spending hours on to create a two or three minute version.

So today was all about training and these sessions and more were sponsored by the Leadership Institute in Arlington< VA.  Other training sessions included a Samsphere hosted by the Sam Adams Alliance which tends to be very techy but good amd some other training by the Lucy Burns Institute.

Tonight their is a dinner tribute ro Ronald Reagan and tomorrow we will hear from all sorts of conservative luminaries as well as panel sessions concerning Energy, Taxes and New Media to mention a few.

For more information on the summit visit the  Americans For Prosperity web site or follow the conference on twitter at #afp08.