Wednesday, February 02, 2005

For Some Bloggers, all Politics is Local

Personal Democracy Forum has a great article today about local polticial blogs and their emerging power in local politics.
In a nation of one newspaper towns and muted local discourse, bloggers are pushing traditional journalists by gnawing hard on local issues. They're reading legislation, attending city council meetings, questioning the coverage and editorial posture of the local press – and forcing people to take notice of issues that might otherwise be ignored.

It's hard to point to a local election last November in which blogs made a decisive difference – the paid bloggers who helped John Thune beat Tom Daschle in the South Dakota Senate race come to mind, and blogging candidates like Jeff Thigpen, who ousted the incumbent Register of Deeds in Guilford County, NC, may have gained some incremental advantage. But clearly local poli-blogging is beginning to come of age, especially in relatively well-wired urban communities with some critical mass of web-aware readers.
On a similar note, Tim Tagaris of the Swing State Project, announced at MyDD that he has launched an initiative to try and force all of the Democratic State Parties to adopt blogs as part of the party mechanism.

Here's the intro to the new site:
Did you know that 3/4 of the Democratic state party websites lack(ed) the most basic tools for two-way communication with the grass/netroots?

This project is a grassroots effort encouraging all 50 Democratic state parties to not only put a blog on their official website, but to use it effectively. The Internet is the only medium of communication available for mass two-way communication. It is not only an effective fundraising tool (the language most "professionals" speak), but has tremendous organizational and communicative benefits most fail to recognize.

The time has long passed to build an effective communication infrastructure online. If the good folks in Washington, D.C. don't want to do it, then the netroots will pick up the slack once again.

If one of the states listed below does not have a blog on their website, please consider "adopting" that state, especially if you reside within its borders. As a "foster parent" to the communications wing of that state party, your objective is to politely convince them through emails and phone calls to put a blog on their state party webpage. If your state already has a blog, please visit it and thank them for providing the tools necessary for a dialogue.


At 3:52 PM, Blogger DanielUA said...

The question, as Alex I emailed each other about yesterday, is how to you bring more people to forums like this one? How do we get a non-blog person to become one? To the small world that reads and contributes on these things, they are amazing. To everyone else, they are a buzzword that CNN mentions every once in a while.

We have to bridge that gap to make these more than debating societies. Places like DailyKos, MyDD etec have an impact because they are so large and have so many readers. Can me make local sites the equivalent?

At 4:36 PM, Blogger ACM said...

It should be noted that "blog" does not automatically bring "two-way" -- in fact, "forum" is the best guarantee of the latter, unless you want to set topics of discussion. A blog is primarily an outlet for opinion, and comments features are optional thereafter (as is discussion). Parties perhaps should have blogs, but they should definitely pay attention to their increasingly noisy grassroots...

At 12:21 AM, Blogger Tim said...


First, I want to let you know I haven't forgotten about your offer to post here. After the Super Bowl, right around the time we launch our new site.

On another note, one of the things you are going to see in our campaign is "investing" in smaller blogs that support our campaign. By investing, I do not mean monetary. I also want to note that I don't talk about this to attempt to gain your support for some potential reward of increased readership.

The bottom line is this: We are going to get a ton of traffic on our blog--this I can promise you. Whether its the innovative ideas, tools for participation, or paid advertising, the audience will be there. In large part, we will use that traffic to redirect, or outsource that traffic to those in the blogosphere who have good action ideas in regards to our efforts.

Meaning, if someone comes up with a kick ass idea (and most will not come from within the campaign), we are going to promote that idea on our blog, and drive traffic to them. If I feel someone is behind us and they have writing skills just waiting to be noticed, we will once again drive people to that site. A 3rd person endorsement is often times a lot more powerful than anything the campaign can say for itself. Of course we support our candidate--but I want you to know why Daniel, for example, does as well.

I hope that makes sense. In large part we are investing in the potential for viral messaging.



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