When @Petersuderman Married @Asymmetricinfo #McSudleman

Like the proverbial question regarding the tree in the forest, the wedding between bloggers/writers Peter Suderman (@petersuderman) and Megan McArdle (@asymmetricinfo) raises the question: if bloggers marry and it’s not discussed on Twitter, did it really happen?

Fortunately, the blogger-set who attended the wedding this weekend have filled out the details of the nuptials, conveniently inviting us along via the hashtag #McSudleman.  Inevitably, the twitterfest at the Cosmos Club has also led to some navel-gazing about the appropriateness of tweeting a wedding and reception.

The couple–who write for Reason and The Atlantic–invited the who’s who of  D.C.’s libertarian and social media “hot-list,” including the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent and Firedoglake, Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, Reason’s Kerry Howley, Center for American Prospect’s Matt Yglesias and the Media Consortium’s Brian Beutler.

From reading the tweets, it looked like people were tweeting (and networking) from the moment they walked into the event until they left for the afterparty, the location of which was also tweeted.

Timothy Lee, who is filling in for McArdle while the couple is off honeymooning–can I suggest #McSudlemoon as a hasthtag–says he doesn’t find anything wrong with all the twittering since it didn’t take away from the festivities.

Lee, a tech policy geek at Cato, says:

I think social media actually adds to the richness of a large social gathering like a wedding reception. Real-world interaction is sharply limited in time and space. I only got to sit with 9 other people, and I could only have a conversation with one person at a time. The #mcsudleman hashtag wasn’t so limited. It allowed effortless communication with every (sufficiently nerdy) person who was interested in the wedding, whether there were 10 or 1000 such people. This creates a global conversation to supplement the many local ones. Tweets sometimes became real-life conversation topics.

The inevitable question is whether the D.C. blogger set who have few unblogged thoughts were tweeting to be social or because their fingers were twitching to touch the keyboard. Thankfully, no one was tweeting during the service itself and the wedding wasn’t in a church (I think there’s a real social breach in tweeting during a religious service [which this was] in a place of worship [which it wasn't]).

As Lee points out, the happy couple encouraged the tweeting and they can’t expect the bloggerati to attend an event without commenting and analyzing it.

Still, it does make you nostalgic for the day before cell phones, handheld devices, and wifi where people actually sat and talked, not relying on their iPhones and Blackberrys to fill the void when the person next to you got boring or you lost interest in an event.

In fact, I feel strongly about that. Let me write it up for a news site and then send a tweet about it @Mrtriplett.

Obama On Gulf Oil Disaster: ‘It’s Going To Be Painful’

President Obama is in the Gulf again today — his fourth visit in less than three weeks. Suffice to say the message that he appeared laissez-faire about the spill has hit home. Obama gave a longish address following today’s tour — too long for Fox News, apparently; they cut out early on to talk to Sen. Mark Warner…from Virginia. Meanwhile, Obama did not attempt to sugar coat the reality of the situation:

“I can’t promise folks that the oil will be cleaned up overnight. It will not be. It’s going to take time for things to return to normal…it’s going to be painful for a lot of folks…But I promise you this: things are going to return to normal. This region that’s known a lot of hardship will bounce back just like it’s bounced back before.”

The President also made sure to note that as of right now fish from the Gulf is safe to eat and that he himself had had it for lunch. Today’s presser was a small preview of what we can likely expect from tomorrow night’s Oval Office address, and part of a continuing effort on the part of the administration to cast BP as the bad guy — the only bad guy — in this scenario. Interestingly, earlier today NBC reported that Obama has chosen to visit locales today that had yet to get any oil, a decision which made him appear “tone deaf.” During his remarks today, however, he appeared intent — particularly when addressing the Gulf’s way of life — on conveying just the opposite. Watch videos of both below.


BP Phone Operator Says Hotline Is Just “A Diversion”

Despite feeble attempts to salvage it, BP’s public relations crisis only seems to be getting worse. Now, a BP phone operator has admitted that the phone hotline is essentially a diversion–aimed to prevent callers from reaching the corporate office.

The call center employee, referred to as “Janice” for the sake of anonymity, came forward to KHOU Channel 11 in Houston, Tex.:

Janice said calls about the oil disaster are non-stop and that operators are just warm bodies on the other end of the phone.

“We’re a diversion to stop them from really getting to the corporate office, to the big people,” said Janice.

Janice said the job has become emotional for her because she realizes she cannot help the many people in need:

“I don’t want to get emotional, but it’s so frustrating when these people live right there and nothing is being done to help them,” the operator said.

For weeks on end, 12 hours a day, there is a little secret that Janice said she has witnessed firsthand.

Because the operators believe the calls never get past them, some don’t even bother taking notes.

“And they just put down, type ‘blah blah blah.’ No information, just ‘blah blah blah,’” Janice admitted.

Janice said she jots down info from every call but feels like it’s doing no good.

“I just feel so bad, but there’s nothing I can do,” Janice said.

Watch Janice’s full remarks:

Bob Etheridge Apologizes For His Behavior: ‘No Excuse For My Response’

Late last week some unidentified students approached Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-NC) to ask him if he supported the “Obama Agenda.” Etheridge responded in a remarkably unpleasant manner, a video of which went viral this morning. Etheridge issued an apology, and later answered a few questions from the press (a video clip of which is below.) So why did Etheridge freak out to the unidentified students? He mostly blamed it on having a bad day. Something tells me that today is much worse.

Writing for CBS News Political Hotsheet, Brian Montopoli reports:

Etheridge held a press conference today to once again apologize, calling his actions “unacceptable.”
“No matter how partisan and no matter how difficult things get sometimes, that’s no excuse for my response,” he said. “I came today to say I’m sorry.”

Etheridge said the confrontation happened after he came out of a meeting in Washington, D.C.

“The truth is, I had a long day, it was the end of the day — but that’s not the issue,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot of tough situations… I’ve been spat at, pushed on and threatened before, and that’s no excuse for… not walking on by.”

Etheridge said he still did not the identity of the students in the video. Asked whether he thought Republicans set up the confrontation, he responded, “I’ll let you find that out. Maybe somebody will, I’m not going there.”

AOL’s Cambio: YouTube Was Just A “Rough Draft”

In recent years, AOL has faced some hard times. Ever since its merger with Time Warner Cable in 2001 (and its subsequent separation 8 years later), AOL has seen drastic reductions in company value and number of subscribers. But tomorrow, AOL will attempt to reassert itself in the online world with the launch of its new video project, Cambio, which we have to say looks pretty darn cool.

Capitalizing on the power of new media sites like YouTube, Cambio (which means “change” in Spanish, a central theme for the transitioning AOL) is a joint venture between AOL, The Jonas Group and MGX Lab. The site will feature short “webisodes” of exclusive material, non-scripted reality programming, and lots of artist-generated content. Ultimately, it’s meant to look something like an online MTV where artists and other celebrities can interact more directly with their audiences rather than through traditional radio or TV outlets. The New York Times explains the reasoning behind Cambio’s structure:

YouTube, where many celebrities maintain their own channels of videos, was a rough draft. In some cases, Mr. Jonas [father of the famed Jonas Brothers] said, the fan loyalty derived from online efforts greatly surpasses the attention earned through traditional media appearances, at a fraction of the cost.

So for those of us with internet age attention spans (i.e. none whatsoever) and no cable at home (ah, college budgets), Cambio might just be the new media alternative for getting our music and video fixes all in one place.

Check out their promotional video below:

Sarah Palin Has Been Invited To Visit Margaret Thatcher

Maybe Margaret Thatcher wants some tips on how to run a Facebook page. Sarah Palin has apparently been invited to England . Part of that invitation apparently includes an offer to meet with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. From (where else) Sarah Palin’s Facebook page:

Following an article in a British publication on Sunday, I’ve received questions about a possible trip to the United Kingdom. I have received an invitation for a visit to London, and part of that invitation included the offer of arranging a meeting between myself and one of my political heroines, the “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher. I would love to meet her and hope I’ll be able to arrange the trip in the future.

Alas, Palin does not disclose whether or not she knows who David Cameron is (an anonymous source in the Daily Mail article suggested she didn’t). And considering her recent statements on keeping foreigners our of our oil business, a currently over-sensitive Britain might not welcome her with open arms. Regardless, one can only hope Palin decides to Twitter the meeting should it come about.