New York (CNN) – Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand met with a group of 25 of the web's top female political bloggers Friday evening as part of the BlogHer Conference, a two-day gathering of 2,400 female bloggers.
The freshman New York Democrat, one of Washington's most web-savvy politicians, used the appearance to press other women to run for office, a rallying cry heard throughout the conference.
“We need you,” Gillibrand told the bloggers. “You don’t have to be afraid [of politics] just because it is a blood sport.”
A frequent blog contributor herself, Gillibrand discussed her experience in the Senate, and specifically the fight against the Stupak amendment – a crucial sticking point for liberal Democrats that turned the debate over health care reform legislation on its head. Gillibrand expressed surprise at the lack of grassroots coordination from women to protest the amendment and pointed to the debate as one where women could have been better organized, and more effective.
The Stupak amendment contained language that would have tightened restrictions on abortion funding, a provision Gillibrand opposed.
“BlogHer is not just a conference,” Gillibrand told CNN. “It's a community of millions of concerned women who are engaged in the same issues that I'm working on in Washington, from creating fairness in our economy, to a safer world for our children.”
“I'm glad that Sen. Gillibrand understands the potential power on politics of women online,” said Joanne Bamberger, a blogger who attended the meeting. “I hope more women elected officials realize our power and meet with us one on one.”
And the event's co-founder stressed that female bloggers occupy an important and powerful space online.
“I think Senator Gillibrand really said it best last night: Women who raise their voices, individually and collectively, have the power to change the world,” BlogHer co-founder and chief operating officer Elisa Camahort Page wrote in an email to CNN. “If you want to get your message out, influence others or understand future needs, listening and talking to women may be your shortest path.”
In the social media world, Gillibrand was the first senator ever to hold a video chat on Facebook and tweets regularly @SenGillibrand. During the health care debate she conducted a conference call with BlogHer bloggers.