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    Success of ‘going negative’ changes campaign strategies
    [ # ] Blogging ‘08
    February 3rd, 2007 under 2008 Presidential Race

     Joan McCarter - Contributing Editor, Daily Kos, “Blog to the Chief” participant. 

    mcjoan.jpg

     It is astounding that this is just the third election in which blogs will be active, and that in the three short years in which blogs came into their own, they’ve become a serious player in not only local and state races, but in the Presidential stakes.

    Every serious campaign has hired bloggers or Web managers, and they’ve all established Web presences, ranging from interactive Web sites with blogs to reaching out to existing blog communities. All these efforts will be met with varying success, largely due in part to how the campaigns choose to use the technology, and how they choose to relate to the netroots. And it will depend upon how well they understand the netroots.

    What we aren’t: 1) an ATM; 2) crazy extremists; 3) political naifs; 4) children; 5) a press release venue.

    The most effective campaigns will not treat the netroots as a willing audience; they’ll include the netroots in the conversation and allow them to help shape it. The most effective campaigns will recognize that it’s a two-way street, and will buy blog ads on the blogs they want to reach out to, and will also make room in their press corps for bloggers. They won’t treat the blogs as yet another interest group, but as potential partners. And of course, absent a compelling message, a message that appeals to the “roots” in the netroots, any campaign is going to have a challenge not just in reaching us, but in reaching the larger public that we represent.


    Read the Comments

    [ # 20 ] Comment from gordonalln [February 14, 2007, 9:48 pm]

    NO TURNING BACK

    Maybe someone should have posted a sign between politicians and their computers that said: “BEWARE! BLOGGING MIGHT BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH (OR THE HEALTH OF YOUR PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRATIONS!)!

    Like sirens drawing sailors to their doom on the rocks, blogs have drawn politicians to the Internet with the lure of fundraising and message dissemination opportunities. However, as I have learned from the recent Dole Center visit of various political bloggers, blogging – the newest member of what our culture calls “The Media” – is different.

    Like other media, blogs are brokers of information. They are content screening sources that provide information supporting the ideology or positions with which they agree or choose. When dealing with blogs, politicians felt they could continue to manage what information is delivered through that portion of The Media with the use of their standard “spin” resources – sound bites, film clips and News Releases.

    Then, just as in the old myth, the sirens began to call and all rational thought left their minds. Politicians initially discovered that an Internet web site offered a simple method for showing and telling millions of people exactly the message they wanted to convey. The Internet also became the ultimate political find: a new source for fund raising. Then they discovered blogs, which were found to be more engaging for the public than simple web sites.

    But now, as the many 2008 presidential candidates are beginning to discover, blogs are being seen for what they really are: NOT as places where information can be presented in the same format as past News Releases; NOT as places where stories can be presented and accepted without question; NOT as the electronic equivalent of a campaign “stump speech;” BUT as places where real people engage in real “dialogue.” Blogs are Internet locations where one person makes (posts) comments and others respond with comments of their own. Just like real people do when they talk.

    Plus, because blogs are like person-to-person dialogues, both those who comment and those who respond are expected to do so with the same honesty and passion they would contribute to a personal conversation. How frightening is THAT! Blogs sucked the politicians in with promises of contact with potentially large numbers of voters, and in return they demanded HONESTY and PASSION!

    And now it’s too late. There is no turning back. Without the sign stating “BEWARE,” politicians thought blogs could be used for their own purposes, and controlled using the same methodology as print and broadcast media. They didn’t understand that blogs reflect NEW technology.

    Perhaps blogs came into being to teach us that not every new technological development offers an ideal application for all uses. Who knows? The ultimate purpose for blogs may yet to be discovered. But the message for politicians interested in running for President of the United States in 2008 has now become, prepare to dialogue! Participate or Parish! Early contenders have discovered the demand for engagement, dialogue, honesty and passion. For the rest of the 2008 campaign, for any candidate to not blog would appear to be an attempt to avoid public involvement.

    Political blogs are here, now. They may have been created to satisfy the needs of the blogger. But they now exist to bring politicians to the people in an open, vulnerable manner resulting from “dialogue.” That, to me, is “Grassroots” political effort a its finest.

    [ # 23 ] Comment from George Diepenbrock [February 14, 2007, 11:02 pm]

    One of the most interesting comments during Tuesday night’s Dole Institute forum came toward the end about blogs operating at a more grassroots and local level.

    As Jerome Armstrong mentioned Howard Dean rode blogs in Iowa to his popularity in 2003. The political investigative reporting several blogs have become famous for in the last few years has also made them a major player on the national political stage, as all the panelists mentioned.

    Blogs have a root in populism that has helped change politics. It is an avenue to give more information in a more immediate way outside more traditional mediums. But as Patrick Hynes mentioned, at some point a major media company will come along and buy a popular blog.

    With their grassroots history, it’s uncertain if users will openly accept being swept into a more mainstream style of journalism. The beauty of the Internet’s accessibility is that such interactive forums can become operational at a local level. In that way, I’m not sure that large political campaigns or media companies can ever “buy out” successful blogging Web sites. Others will take their place.

    In that instance, as long as their is strong demand at the local level for new avenues of providing and accessing information, blogs will continue to provide that type of outlet.

    [ # 25 ] Comment from Devon Meek [February 15, 2007, 12:07 am]

    Blogs in my opinion, cater to only a very limited clientele of Internet users. One of the speakers mentioned only 11% of the populace views blogs. The typical blogger most likely already has his or her own agenda set up and looks to blogs only to further their personal beliefs and put away any doubts they may have. In my opinion, presidential campaigns or any other campaign should not be limited to such a small blog audience. While it is great that blogs are serving a purpose, campaigns need to look further to encompass more internet users. Examples could be posing YouTube clips, arguably one of the most viewed online information sources. Another idea would be to set up internet sites similar to Facebook for politics, this would greatly attract the younger generation and update the aging politicians to the youth’s trends. Making the politicians seem more personable and allowing users to see their interests and beliefs will allow people to better relate to the politician and evaluate their policies more analytically. While I believe blogs will have a great impact on the political campaign, further steps should be taken to encompass a larger audience.

    [ # 35 ] Comment from akm6% [February 15, 2007, 3:34 am]

    In my own opinion I think that blogging is an awesome way to start spreading and discussing information for the next presidential elections. However, one of the speakers said that only 11% of the population reads these political blogs. In my own opinion I feel like we are focusing too much on the blogs when only 11% of people view them. However, I do think in the future this number will increase and it will be more common for people to view political blogs online. I feel as though I did learn a lot about blogging from attending the event.

    [ # 38 ] Comment from Abbie Stutzer [February 15, 2007, 3:45 am]

    While all of the issues discussed during the “Blog to the Chief: The Impact of Political Blogs on the 2008 Election” lecture were intriguing, one particular issue stood out. Presidential candidates are typically disliked for the promises they never keep. Politicians support popular issues that will get them votes. They say they support what is popular and then, when what was once popular no longer is, they deny saying they supported the issue to begin with and move on.

    The political blog panel tonight discussed how politicians will no longer be able to continually waver on the issues they support. Politicians will have to stick to an issue and commit to a stance. One of the reasons politicians will have to change the way they support issues is because of electronic media. Internet media such as blogs and You Tube have made it impossible for politicians to change their minds on issues that are important to the American public. By sticking to issues and maintaining their word, politicians can begin to become a part of a blog community. They will be able to talk to their constituents and get information about what their supporters want to see and hear. This idea was one of Joan McCarter’s, contributing editor at the Daily Kos, suggestions about what politicians need to learn about blog writers and readers. McCarter also stated that it is just as important for politicians to remember that thy cannot and should not use a blog as their personal ATM. Supporters will only donate money if they feel like they are first, and foremost, being heard.

    Another aspect of the lecture that seemed extremely important was the discussion about the changing political landscape. One of the opinions of Patrick Hynes, the founder and proprietor of the blog Ankle Biting Pundits made this change clear.

    Hynes discussed how in the past when politicians were accused of something that was harmful to their reputation, they were advised to keep their mouths shut and not mention the accusation again. Political consultants thought that if their candidate did this, the public would easily forget the accusation and the problem would disappear. This is no longer the case. The Internet and traditional news media make sure the American public remembers every accusation that is spoken about a political candidate. This now forces candidates to either own up to the thing they did or defend themselves and denounce the lies spoken about them. This part of the lecture stood out because something along these lines happened in the last presidential election. When then presidential candidate George W. Bush started attacking Senator John Kerry with his Swift Boat commercials, it was puzzling why Kerry did not defend himself. Although the Swift Boat issue got out of control with the Republican campaign running somewhat miss-leading political ads, Kerry never said a word. Perhaps if Kerry would have defended himself, he would have had a stronger campaign and re-invigorated his supporters.

    Political candidates also need to realize that news is now available and updated 24 hours a day. If a politician says a racist comment like Joe Biden did or when President Bush misspeaks, someone is going to hear the comment, record it and place it on You Tube in a matter of hours.

    The 2008 election will be extremely interesting to follow. It will be fascinating to see which candidates utilize Internet media the most. Barack Obama’s Internet campaign looks interesting because he seems to understand how Internet news junkies are intrigued. He has also used facebook to his advantage to get the support of young voters and has created an interactive Web site as well. His candidness in interviews also seems to be genuine, which is something many politicians do not do. However, other candidates like Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain and Hillary Clinton have also started Web sites to promote their candidacy as well. Perhaps there is a new audience that will become invigorated by the new technology being used in political campaigns.

    [ # 42 ] Comment from ams4 [February 15, 2007, 4:15 am]

    As a blogger myself, I am so excited about blogging being used in the upcoming election. As a student, I think that blogging will allow more people my age and with my same interests to become more knowledgable and in turn more involved in the elections and overall political process. The idea of having a conversation, even if it is electronically inclined, with a potential candidate would make things a lot clearer and easier to understand because I am sure that many of the bloggers with have the same thoughts and questions to ask. In my opinion it would be a depleteing move for a candidate not to be involved in some sort of blog. That would be a great disadvantage. Bloggs will be a huge motivation to get younger people involved by breaking it down and putting it on their level.

    [ # 43 ] Comment from *PJB1 [February 15, 2007, 4:50 am]

    I agree with the previous comment. I believe that blogging creates a new medium for politicians to communicate with a younger audience. As a college student, aware of the upcoming election, i feel that it is important for me to learn more about candidates so i can make a good decision on who i should vote for. The internet is where i recieve most of my information. I feel that if a politician does not get involved in blogging he/she would be at a great disadvantage because they are not communicating with the majority of young voters. Therefore, I believe that it is to their advantage to be involved with the medium of blogs.

    [ # 53 ] Comment from vic5! [February 15, 2007, 6:46 am]

    i never thought blogs would have such huge influence on politics. after hearing all of thoes, i kinda wanna start a blog myself. i realize that blog is a new media that may have huge potential in it. it’s gonna affect our life a lot as the numbers of bloggers and blog viewers are getting bigger and bigger.i guess the reason why blogs can have such impact is that it’s really personal and you feel close to the writer when reading it.and you feel the direct communications with the writer too. it’s just like reading a journal of someone you know. it’s easy to deliver the messages thru a way like this. at least i feel this way.

    [ # 54 ] Comment from ktj8$ [February 15, 2007, 7:33 am]

    A common idea that was expressed by the panel at Tuesday’s “Blog to the Chief” event was that politicians absolutely cannot “use” blogs, but must engage in them to have any affect. As far as blogs in relation to the 2008 election, I think there is absolutely no better way to cut out the middle man, the media, or the expected, various controversy of being in the public eye — coupled with running for president.

    Yet, as an 18-year-old college student, I’m increasingly disappointed with the majority of my generation’s attitudes towards the current state of our country. It is rather difficult to force interest in politics, or even the war with the many lingering distractions of our age. One benefit we have as Americans is freedom—especially the freedom of choice. We can freely choose to educate ourselves on presidential candidates, learn their views and plans to help our communities, our country, and the world. But we can also choose to completely submerge ourselves into popular culture and avoid life-changing world issues.

    If anything, I hope that for the 2008 election, blogs can help bring about or revive interest in students of this paralyzed generation. I hope they can unite, inform, and engage with us to ensure the election of a positive and progressive president.

    [ # 56 ] Comment from art45! [February 15, 2007, 3:08 pm]

    I never blog this is my first time and from what I have seen there is no middle being represented. Most people that blog together are on the left and on the right so, I guess what I am trying to say is that it is hard for people in the middle to get involved with blogging. Also Blogs seem like that kind of place where liberals get together and talk about how much they hate Bush. The conservatives on the other hand talk about how crazy the liberals are. This blogging thing is a little redundant to me.

    [ # 57 ] Comment from amu_14 [February 15, 2007, 3:59 pm]

    I do not believe that just because politicians have started blogging, they will start speaking the truth. Call me cynical but I never believe a lot of what they say. Most of the times, even while speaking, they hardly ever mean what they say and there is no reason to think that it will be any different now.

    Also, as mentioned earlier, blogs are not accessible to everyone. What about the people who don’t have a computer or don’t know how to use one? How will they be able to interact with the candidates? In my opinion, we have to consider this aspect with regard to political blogs.

    [ # 59 ] Comment from Terrymum [February 15, 2007, 5:03 pm]

    ANYONE who is a college student can access the internet at the library. ANYONE who can access the interent can set up their own blog - for FREE - at any number of sites. There are tons of blogs (web logs) that have NOTHING to do with politics. So for anyone who says “there is no blog out there representing MY point of view ..” - YOU can set up your own blog and start dialogues of your own! Do it! Don’t complain that no one else is doing it.

    One of the interesting things I learned out of this Dole Institute discussion is from observing those who were speaking. It appears that the average political blogger is not real young. They are 35-55 in age. Yes, those who do it all the time are more passionate about the topics. Duh. Isn’t that how it usually works? But I find it somewhat interesting that the primary movers and shakers in blog politics are the same people who used to march for or against the VietNam War. Guess that generation understood the phrase “power to the people.”

    To those who are young now, get with it. Use whatever medium you like, but do not just sit back watching, and then gripe about what happens to you or your world! If you do not engage and take a part in the process, in some way, you give up your “right” to complain about how it eventually turns out.

    [ # 63 ] Comment from lind0505 [February 15, 2007, 5:46 pm]

    I think its interesting that you put on your website page, and emphatically said in the lecture that political campaigns are not ATM’s. The political races seem to be a race to money as much as anything. Campaigners need millions and millions of dollars to support their campaigns, and it seems like we have strayed away from their real message; they’ll say anything if it helps to raise a dollar. Does the political vagueness come from their desire for more money, or does their vagueness come from the want for every possible vote? Either way, blogs seem to be changing this vagueness. It’s simply not possible in a blog to avoid questions, move on to the next, or change the subject. This will make the candidates engage in a conversation, and address the questions (hopefully, if they are smart anyway). Those who blog are used to having blogs with others who will address their concerns and answer their questions, I don’t see this as an exception to the rule with presidential candidates.

    [ # 67 ] Comment from ire1! [February 15, 2007, 7:39 pm]

    It seems to be unanimous. Blogs are the political candidates’ choice tool for campaigning! The supporters of blogging see blogs as a revelation in how a candidate can communicate with his constituents. They believe it is a wonderful way for the candidate to see what is troubling the community and alleviate those fears and in turn win their vote. Really? In reality, aren’t blogs just another medium in which candidates can ramble off their spiel? Just as in television ads and carefully crafted speeches, candidates still have to be extremely careful in word choice and will most likely resort to using a pre-written mini-speech that just reiterates what is in their television ads, speeches, radio ads etc. If blogs were truly what they proponents describe them to be then I may see political blogging as a more positive development in campaigns however, being the cynic I am I believe it is just another way for a politician to put his pre-selected message out there.

    [ # 69 ] Comment from kjw3* [February 15, 2007, 7:55 pm]

    I would agree with the person above. Blogs are just another way for candidates to get their message out there. Why wouldn’t a candidate blog? Seeing as how they are free, it’s a way to just add to the already overtelevised commercials and billboards. And we have to option to either choose if we want to read about them or not. Honestly, I think they should just use blogs…It would give ever candidate equal advantages, because no money is being involoved. I was shocked to discover how much it is just to campgain! So many are left without the option to run, because of lack of money. If they only used blogs I wouldn’t be interupted by their bashing commercials. That’s seriously all it seems to to me. One commercial comes on with a candidate bashing another and then the next commercial is that candidate bashing the one that just bashed him or her! It gets ridiculous and to the point were I would rather not vote, because they just beat around the bush with issues and I get to the point where I really don’t care.

    [ # 75 ] Comment from car02! [February 15, 2007, 8:52 pm]

    I disagree that blogs are changing the vagueness of political campaigns. As a busy college student I do not have any time to write blogs. I also do not think that any normal person with a life has time to read through thousands of blogs to form their opinions on political campaigns. I think we receive most of our information on television because it is easily accessible. You turn on the TV, you watch. To access blogs, you have to go out of your way to look for them. And who is to say what information is false and what information is true? As said in the discussion, most of the time it is not the actual candidate writing back and forth. I do not think that blogging is a good representation of the population and what they think because only a particular group of people participate in them.

    [ # 80 ] Comment from redwing1419 [February 15, 2007, 10:00 pm]

    I personally believe that blogging will become a factor in presidential elections however I believe as of right now the impact of blogs is going to have a minimal effect on the election. Although many people are in touch with technology, I believe a majority of the voters do not comprehend blogging. My parents for example who are avid in politics have no idea what a blog is. The older generations who have a higher voter turnout are not a generation that is in touch with blogging. In the future, the importance on blogging will increase but as of right now I do not feel that blogging is going to make a break the election for the presidential candidates.

    [ # 93 ] Comment from kcred20 [February 16, 2007, 12:20 am]

    I agree with the previous comment. I think that in the future, when more and more people become involoved in the blogging process that blogging will have a larger impact on blogging. Right now, I still think that blogging can benefit a candidate; however, I found it interesting that blogging will more likely harm a candidate that help one. It’s nice to see the candidates are willing and trying to connect with younger generations who use blogging and get most of their information from the web. I also found it interesting that only 11% of voters read and participate in blogs and those people are the ones who do not vote on one issue or party line. It’s funny how we typically think of bloggers as 18-25 year olds and that the speakers were not college students. I wonder if there would be any different outcomes if a candidate hired a college student blogger for advice on how to improve their political campaign.

    [ # 97 ] Comment from prb#7 [February 16, 2007, 1:09 am]

    Although it may be true that 11% of the voters read and comment on blogs, I do not think that blogs will change their political opinions. Most people that take the time to read political blogs tend to have a strong enough opinion that they will not be influenced by reading a blog. I agree that for the most part people look to the news for their information, and do not take blogs seriously. Lastly I think that blogs main target audience is young people. Reality is young people do not turn out to vote, and elections will still be determined by old people. Therefore I have to conclude that blogs will have very minimal effects on future elections.

    [ # 101 ] Comment from sjk@1 [February 16, 2007, 1:52 am]

    Blogging to me is something still so new. I have trouble agreeing with the previous post but also can’t decide if I entirely disagree with it. It amazes me that blogging is such a major part, now, of the political process.

    Blogging may not sway voters one way or the other but it does provide a new avenue for the public to access information which may have an impact on the amount of voter turnout. Feeling more informed about the candidates in the election could result in a stronger belief and therefore desire to have an impact on the election, which could mean greater turn out.

    I believe that blogs have the potential to have a great impact on this election, especially after listening Tuesday night.

    [ # 105 ] Comment from wly@4 [February 16, 2007, 2:10 am]

    I do not think blogs could have a big effort to change people’s political opinions. Blog is like a bridge that connects people who have the same interests together. It is a way to contact with the people who have something in common with the writers. Since everybody has the chance to create a blog and post their own opinion on the blog, the things on the blog may not be true all the time. Most people do not get useful information for their knowledge building from the blogs. People use blogs to show their personal ideas. By doing this, He/She can make himself/herself understood by other people. Blogs just give people a chance to manage their own space of talking. Writing something on one’s own blog could be one of the most interesting things in their free time. A good way to rest, isn’t it?

    [ # 109 ] Comment from KLG [February 16, 2007, 2:39 am]

    The large theme that stuck out to me through the night was that blogging needs to be an interactive process. A politician cannot expect to post a few messages and hope that it will engage people enough to create a relationship. For this strategy to be effective candidates should blog on a regular basis in order to hold more of a conversation with their audience. Yet the discussion on people’s reaction when they found out the candidate was not actually the one typing the blogs to be interesting. To me this is obvious, there are many more blogs than that one candidate and for him to respond to each one individually would be exhausting. Yet the respondents on their behalf should be just as informed. This can lead to another dangerous issue of presidential blogging. As much good as a blog can do, its effects can be just as negative. This is an open forum and anything can be said so candidates should be wary.

    [ # 110 ] Comment from jev89 [February 16, 2007, 2:41 am]

    I seem to be very indifferent to blogs. Though I agree that using technological advances and keeping up with younger generations could be beneficial to candidates, I do not necessarily agree that they are the only or best way to go. Many college students do not have the time or longing to sit down at their computer for hours on end. When they do surf the web, it’s usually to check their facebook or youtube. Though many may be politically active, just as many don’t care at all. So for them to want to look at a political blog is not very likely. I also question some validity of the sites. At the same time, I think blogs are a great place for young people to communicate and share their ideas with others their own age.

    [ # 116 ] Comment from Mcl1! [February 16, 2007, 3:37 am]

    In response to comment #109 by KLG, I think it is very important for a politician to do his/her best to ensure to his/her fans and viewers on blogs that it is he/she that is communicating through the blog. I would find it very upsetting and very repulsive to know that it was someone else other than the politician trying to create the illusion that they were communicating with us.
    Also, aside from this I found it interesting that during the “Blog to the Chief: Impact of Blogs on the 2008 Election” at the Dole Center many topics they discussed related back to subjects we have covered in lectures in class.
    Moderator David D. Perlmutter mentioned the uncertainty of the affect of politicians blogging. While the uncertainty of the affect is certain, it seems that politicians have opportunities to better convey themselves and communicate more personally with the voters in society.
    One guest discussed media’s agenda-setting and the influence it had on voters. Because media is able to choose what messages to convey to viewers/listeners/etc. it has a differing effects on politicians. Some politicians get less publicity, negative publicity, or negatice hype than other politicians.
    We have discussed the communication model in class. Blogging helps eliminate the part of the communication model called the “middle-man”, the channel. It allows politicians to become more of their own publicist and publicizes themselves without the need of a possibly biased media source. Blogging opens up a forum for those politicians who do receive less or negative publicity. For those who receive negative publicity they are able to clarify, correct, or elaborate on the beliefs that were perceived in a negative light. For those who are not given attention by the media, it is a chance to show themselves to people.
    People may not be able to predict how much the blogging will affect the 2008 election, but for those politicians who need all of the help with publicity and clarifying what they stand for, they would be foolish to not try out the odds.

    [ # 119 ] Comment from fun1! [February 16, 2007, 4:06 am]

    I thought the Blogging lecture at the Dole institute was very informative. I personally did not know the difference between a blog, a wall posting, etc. I also did not know that blogs have been presence for three presidential elections. I’m glad that politicians are writing blogs and hiring people to blog for them. I will most defiantly be reading politician’s blogs for the upcoming 2008 elections because I want to be informed as possible. It will be my first time voting in a presidential election, and I want to make my vote count. In my opinion blogs are a great way for young voters to stay informed. The reason being is that we get so much of our media from the computer.

    [ # 124 ] Comment from k#1bf [February 16, 2007, 5:22 am]

    I have never looked into blogs before. After hearing more about them I can see where they can be a very important way of find more information. As stated above I find it sad that only 11% of people are using this as a way to reach the information. I do however believe it will take many years to reach a higher percent of people. The younger generation is more into the computer side of life. When this generation comes to vote I believe the 11% will raise. I will now look into blogs to find out more about the up coming election. Tuesday night really made a difference about the way I looked at blogs. I hope it had reached others as it did me.

    [ # 126 ] Comment from jme#8 [February 16, 2007, 5:29 am]

    I never understood the cocept for blogging, nor have I ever participated in it either. After attending the blogging lecture @ the Dole Insititute, it changed my perspective on the whole idea of blogging. I think it it collects a lot of opinions and thoughts from each individual and that can impact another’s opionions and thoughts. Its as if it is a domino effect. Also, there is good arguments that can go back and forth. As far as using blogging for an election, I do not believe it is as credible and lacks a lot of knowledge for such a huge deal as the election of 2008. I feel as if sooner or later since everyone is jumping on the bandwagon of blogging, that soon the internet is going to be even more of a focus in campaigns, individual’s lives, and problems more than it already is today. It scares me and puts fear for the future.

    [ # 128 ] Comment from ejm4@ [February 16, 2007, 5:42 am]

    The blogging lecture at the Dole Institute on Feb 13. was both interesting and very informative. As the panel mentioned, only about 11% of the population actually reads political blogs. As one of the 89% of the population that does not read political blogs, it was interesting to learn more about it and how it will affect the upcoming election. When i first heard that only 11% of the population read the blogs I wondered how blogging could possibly affect the 2008 election, however the panel also mentioned that the 11% who read are also opinion leaders in their community. Another point is that as we move into the 21st century, technology is going to be more and more a part of our lives and blogging is the future whether we like it or not. I do not however like the fact that political candidates are hiring people to blog for them. I think blogging is what most people assume to go to to get straight forward answers, and this cannot be done when the person who is writing the blogs is hired specifically for a certain candidate and who is therefore biased. I think it’s good that candidates such as Clinton and McCain are getting involved but also trying to learn as much about blogging as possible. As far as the next election, any form of publicity for a certain public figure will put them further in the race and blogging is certainly one of them now. However, i do not think that blogging is any more important than TV, newspapers, debates, etc. Perhaps in years to come blogging will be more important, but not now.

    [ # 129 ] Comment from st@r9 [February 16, 2007, 5:56 am]

    I think that blogs are most important for the younger demographic. I know that it is really hard for me personally to find the time to watch news programs or to read newspapers on a regular basis. Internet resources such as blogs and YouTube make it easy for people with crazy schedules to still be informed. I think that blogs will continue to grow in influence. I really agreed with what Joan McCarter was saying about the changes that may take place when new people are hired.

    Also, one of the most interesting things about blogs, to me, is the fact that they are open to every one. They are a really good forum for people to voice their opinions in a way that the “old” media didn’t allow.

    [ # 132 ] Comment from lys*3 [February 16, 2007, 6:01 am]

    I have never blogged before, so this is all new to me. It’s a bit freightening, I’m not going to lie. I feel like I’m vulnerable to other people’s ridicule, but I think that it is a healthy way to get people thinking about the elections and politics in general. After learning about blogs I think this is a great way to get your opinion out there and learn about other people’s opnions as well. The internet provides a whole new means of debate and discussion and I think its a very good way for people to do that. I believe it will be a huge factor in the 2008 election and find it fascinating that politicians have hired professional bloggers. That is very neat. I am glad the internet has such an important purpose and a significant role in the campaign and I look forward to taking part in it.

    [ # 134 ] Comment from Inga Kirsch [February 16, 2007, 6:39 am]

    I personally have never blogged before, but it seem like an efficiant and relatively succesful way to share idea’s about the upcoming election. My only reserve about blogging is that not enough people know about it or have time to write and for that matter read through the thousands of blogs that are posted. For the 11% of the population that is interested and has time to blog this is a great addition to the election but for the other 89% it seems irrelavent.

    [ # 135 ] Comment from pco-1 [February 16, 2007, 9:03 am]

    I must agree with akm6%. Blogging allows information that some people might not know about to be spread and also permit people to discuss that particular topic. However, I think that some people put too much emphasis on blogging information rather than information from more formal mediums of media (television, radio, newspaper, etc). I believe that people should get their information from a direct source then go towards blogs. I am not a blogger, but at the same time, I think that blogs will allow individuals to voice their political opinions on the upcoming elections and view other people’s reactions to the same topics.

    [ # 136 ] Comment from kmk3* [February 16, 2007, 3:01 pm]

    I think that blogging is an awesome way to show people your different thoughts and ideas. Blogging allows so many different ideas to be discussed and it gives users a great chance to express there feelings on different topics that they may feel very strongly about. Blogging is a new medium that I think a lot of people should take advantage of, especially if they have someting they would like to share with others. Blogging isn’t a way to get political information, it is a way to see what others think and for you to voice your opinion. I have never really blogged before, but I know people who have and they like how they can express themselves through it.

    [ # 138 ] Comment from sam0@ [February 16, 2007, 4:38 pm]

    Blogs seem like a very interesting idea. I personally have not been to a blog before now, but they seem like a media that will attract all audiences, especially the younger generation. The setup is interesting, where one can talk back and forth to another and see the comments of someone else. It seems that blogs will definetly affect the ‘08 elections. But are blogs an honest source to where one can get information? I honestly don’t know. Can any sources of media be trusted?

    [ # 142 ] Comment from Bataille [February 16, 2007, 9:44 pm]

    When I think of blogging I think of democracy, the marketplace of ideas, a movement by the people for the people to harness that clause in the First Amendment — Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press — that has been solely enjoyed by large corporations for oh, so many years, and create a participatory public sphere that aptly (actually) represents the opinions of the public. So, when I heard a bunch of established, high-end, snarky-tastemaker political bloggers were coming to grace the hoity-toity Robert Dole Institute of politics with their esteemed presences and speak in person in front of a live audience and some CSPAN cameras, I was less than impressed. Sure, I read the Daily Kos occasionally and I appreciate what Jerome Armstrong did for the 2004 Dean campaign, but ever since that glorious birth spasm of blogs three years ago into the national political limelight, they’ve become more and more like mainstream media, and will probably soon be hardly discernible from them.

    Okay, fine, that’s an overstatement. Let me recant.

    It’s true that blogs, as a medium, fundamentally differ from (and better) mainstream media in a number of ways: they’re interactive, participatory, use hyperlinks to frame issues in broad contexts, yada, yada, yada. But, one of the best things about blogs, and what allows them to speak to a public that as an aggregate of citizens in democracy rather than a target audience in a consumer culture, is that they’re made for free. The content they produce has no market value — only use value. Regardless of what intentions mainstream media businessmen have, they still run a business and have a bottom line to face. This undeniably alters the content they produce. Bloggers do not face an economic bottom line, or, at least, they didn’t used to.

    More and more bloggers are becoming professionals. This is great for people like Joan McCarter (mcjoan), who can now blog full-time with financial compensation, and, admittedly, it’s great for the media and great for democracy…for now. McCarter is part of the first wave of blogger-gems who were established deep in the snarky world of blogs before money became involved, but what about those who will come of age as journalists when pay-for-blogging is the status quo? Will they retain the type of voice that makes bloggers beautiful, or will they be simply tacked on to the already swollen mass of wannabe-edgy pundits? If it’s true that money corrupts, we already know the answer.

    I didn’t bring this up during question time at the Dole blogger panel because I had the feeling that my impromptu attempt to turn the discussion toward big, abstract things like the political economy of communication would be welcomed about as much as the woman who was eventually hushed for bashing on rich-whitey predominance in the blogosphere. But, just before the end, I wish I had. Patrick Hynes, John McCain’s blogging specialist, in an ending tangent to an otherwise unrelated topic he’d been droning about for some time, caught my attention in his closing remarks that went something like, “Eventually, more and more companies will simply buy blogs and put whatever they want on them. And that will ruin blogging.” It surprised me that he mentioned that, and he said it with what I perceived as genuine disdain. The panel was made up of liberals and conservatives, but above all their political beliefs they were, first and foremost, bloggers. My fear is that, more and more, the blogosphere — at least at levels that affect media discourse on a large scale — will become inundated with nothing but politicians.

    [ # 145 ] Comment from moo$3 [February 17, 2007, 1:10 am]

    I agree with the end of the last comment. I think political blogging has a gloomy future. Right now blogging is pretty great, because it is still new. People like being able to converse with politicians (or whoever politicians have do the typing) and getting feedback to their personal comments. One of the panelists said that “bloggers aren’t the media… it’s a conversation” and this is what makes blogging so unique. But everything gets old after awhile, the novelty wears off. How long until the media bias seeps into blogging? In my opinion, it is only a matter of time before blogging loses its separation from the common media.

    [ # 147 ] Comment from soc3@ [February 18, 2007, 2:58 am]

    As someone who uses the internet quite frequently, I can say that blogging is a very new concept to me. Before this Dole Istitute forum about blogging and the upcoming election, I really had no conept as to what this term was, or new medium had to offer. After listening during the forum, and doing my own research it seems to me that blogging has definite potentital to benefit these presidential candidates. It allows them to interact with the general people around the country and to hear what they have to say. It gives them another medium to get their name out into the eyes and ears of so many more people, assuming that the internet is where so many receive their information from. Not only does is help them, but as a student it will help me get more involved and more knowledgeable about politics and the future to come. So, overall, I am very excited to see and hear more about the benefits to this new medium called “blogging.”

    [ # 149 ] Comment from Bataille [February 18, 2007, 3:37 am]

    Based on a kind-of-recent Pew study, it’s entirely likely that, still, more than half of Internet users don’t have a good idea of what the term “blog” means (that doesn’t even count the people who, for God knows what reason, don’t use the Internet–yes, they are out there). So, it’s new to lots of folks, but it’s not new to national politics–three years is a decalightyear in terms of how fast the medium is progressing, and that’s been just enough time for people with political interests to figure out how to begin exploiting it. Even though most of the panelists agreed that the blogosphere threatens most candidates more than it helps, it’s only a matter of time before someone’s political PR machine figures out how to navigate it. When that happens, don’t count on the information you find in a lot of places on the blogosphere to be any different than what you find in traditional media today.

    [ # 157 ] Comment from mac2! [February 18, 2007, 7:36 pm]

    Before attending this event, I had no idea that politicians were using blogs for these purposes. As a college student, I thought that blogs were only used for things like personal journals and expressing emotions. While even though only 11% of people are actually getting the information now, I think that in the near future this type of thing will be very useful to any kind of candidate running for an office, whether it be the president or a governor. Just by holding events like this they are spreading the word, and the percentage of people taking advantage of these blogs is most likely growing rapidly. By the time elections roll around voters will know where to look to get the information they need about the candidates at stake.

    [ # 165 ] Comment from bsg7! [February 18, 2007, 11:48 pm]

    As a college student and a frequent internet user, I was shocked to hear what blogging was really used for. I had no idea that so much education and real political issues were discussed. I looked at blogs as something for people to go vent their emotions and feelings without educated material being presented. I am shocked that only 11% of people are using political blogs. I hope that more people start educating themselves with blogging because I think it will be a helpful tool in the 2008 election for president. The valuable information that can be spread in this type of blogging could really make a difference in the turnout of the elections.

    [ # 168 ] Comment from cms3 [February 19, 2007, 12:47 am]

    I think that blogs will definitely have an effect on the 2008 presidential election. With the use of the internet growing like it has been, how could it not have an effect? I personally am on the internet way more than I watch TV. I think it’s a better way to get the information across. The reader can even respond and ask a question to the candidate. Even if it’s just a person that works for them that responds, it is still going to be a similar answer to the one that the candidate would have given.

    [ # 169 ] Comment from cms3 [February 19, 2007, 12:48 am]

    I think that blogs will definitely have an effect on the 2008 presidential election. With the use of the internet growing like it has been, how could it not have an effect? I personally am on the internet way more than I watch TV. I think it’s a better way to get the information across. The reader can even respond and ask a question to the candidate. Even if it’s just a person that works for them that responds, it is still going to be a similar answer to the one that the candidate would have given.

    [ # 171 ] Comment from big#1 [February 19, 2007, 1:58 am]

    I agree with what the previous blogger wrote. I myself am on the internet constantly and searching through anything which seems interesting to me. I have never been too into blogging but I can see how it can really benefit the 2008 presidential election. Although it is a great way to make a sort of contact between the candidate and his potential voters, I feel that the candidate should make a effort to write as many blogs as possible himself and not from someone who works for him or her. This is because although the person blogging on behalf of the candidate, it is not in fact the candidate and there is a possibility they have a dissimilar viewpoint.

    [ # 174 ] Comment from vin3! [February 19, 2007, 2:52 am]

    With our society living in an era of digital communication, I feel that blogging is almost an untapped source to reaching out to the population, especially the youth demographic. I know that I myself rather search topics through a blog than watch the news where unimportant crap is pasted all over the network. Its not like all online users are privy to blogs, its open to anyone who can operate a browser window and that might be more satisfying to candidates than television campaigns. Candidates should reach out through personal blogs, rather than sit behind a podium and blurt out miscellanous junk for their respective political party. Just my viewpoint on this whole ordeal.

    [ # 183 ] Comment from JMS#4! [February 19, 2007, 5:58 pm]

    I am fascinated by the entire Blogging world. I waited untill today to write my blog because I wanted to read a large sum of the blogs before writing my own. It seems that most people have commented on the ease of blogging and the fact that anyone can write a blog, and anyone can read them. It doesn’t matter what race you are or how old you are, expressing your opinions and beliefs on any subject can easily be done in a blog. I only hope that more blogging will arise for important matters like the elections. I also hope that people see blogs not merely as comments on a web page, but as discussions or debates. We should be talking to each other in these bloggs and bouncing ideas off each other.

    [ # 185 ] Comment from cmh@8 [February 19, 2007, 8:17 pm]

    I think blogging is a great way to try to get more people interested in the political campaign. The more information that is out there the better and having more mediums to get campaigners word out is one way to get info to various people. Especially if you are trying to get young voters to the polls, our generation is the biggest users of the internet and blog sites so its a great way to intrigue and involve the young. On the flip side of that, blogging should not be used as a sole source of information/campaigning in the election, more as just a tool. Facts can be inaccurate and opinions can be skewed on something that is not 100% true. Everything said and done should be taken with a grain of salt and be analyzed, the same is true for blogging.

    [ # 190 ] Comment from aab#1 [February 20, 2007, 2:21 am]

    In my opinion, i think that blogging is just another way of communication for the politicans and their politcal campaigns. There are so many ways to reach the public and this is just another outlet. By using blogging you are reaching out to the middle aged population, and i think it would be a smart idea to think of how you can reach all differnt age groups. For example, by doing some kind of blogging on a site like facebook. You would be reaching out to the younger generations during these elections. Posting blogs is a great way for politicians to see the publics view on issues and to comment back in the most useful way they can. I think it will benefit the political campaigns with the increase in blogs during the 2008 elections.

    [ # 198 ] Comment from LauRay [February 20, 2007, 2:10 pm]

    I have never really read blogs, nor have I written any, but the presentation at the Dole institute really interested me. Hopefully, publicity for blogging like this while help spread it’s influence. I have to say, as an outsider of the blogging community, I couldn’t see how blogs would really make a difference in the election. Now, though I think the influence has been highly exaggerated, I see a connection. I wonder though, if the canidates will actually take this opportunity to communicate directly will individual voters’ questions and concerns.

    [ # 211 ] Comment from *Ric3* [February 21, 2007, 7:52 pm]

    As a college student, I feel that blogging is a very realistic way for politicans to relate to a younger demographic. Often younger voters feel out of the loop, or simply have little if any interest in political campaigns. Not everyone enjoys flipping through a newspaper or watching political debates on TV. In an era where almost anything of need can be found online, presidential blogging seems to be a form of campaigning that keeps up with “the times”. Perhaps only a few thousand read a political blog, who cares? That is still a few thousand more that are now informed about that politican, his political stance on issues, and even certain aspects of his life and personality. Blogs give politicans an opportunity to become personal and open up about things that may not be appropriate during debates on TV. The bottom line is, what can it hurt? Will blogging really negatively affect a politican? As long as he doesn’t post negative or degrating comments, I don’t understand how it will hurt his rankings in the election.

    [ # 220 ] Comment from lpo2* [February 22, 2007, 9:02 pm]

    I don’t think blogs will change the Presidential election , or even have that big of an impact on it. It will, however, influence a younger audience, which could have an impact on the election, but a very minimal one. The older population doesn’t get on the internet as much as the younger generation, and many already have their minds set on what party they are voting for, or who they are voting for. They’re just going to look for information to confirm their beliefs. Many older people don’t even know what a blog is, so I don’t see how it could have that big of an impact on the 2008 election.

    [ # 224 ] Comment from AMC@3 [February 23, 2007, 5:00 am]

    I think that there is a great deal of confusion between those that believe in the “Blog System” or one person’s views followed by comments by many, and the “Forums System” in which many can contribute ideas. I find political forums to be a bit more entertaining, as debates and outbursts are a bit more common. The interesting thing about the internet, and the digital age that we live in, for that matter, is that no matter what you believe or what your ideas are, it’s fairly easy to convince someone that you’re an expert in a political subject. Such is the case when unsubstantiated claims or viral political campaigns begin on the internet. Will it influence the 2008 election? I certainly believe that it will to some, but I also do not see it having a mass effect on anyone beyond those that already read internet blogs, essentially those that have already made up their mind.

    [ # 232 ] Comment from WSH#1 [February 25, 2007, 11:47 pm]

    The fact that blogging brings the candidate to your study room by computer is simply compelling to me. I enjoy the fact that I feel that the candidate is talking to me, rather than an audience as a whole; it seems more personable. I think that blogging has brought up a whole new atmosphere in the sense that people can respond to the candidates words rather than yelling at a television or (for the more driven ones) sending the candidates a letter regarding their speeches or platforms. The blogging is quicker than letters and more effective than yelling at a television. If I saw a candidate actually writing their own blogs I would applaud them at the fact that they are dipping into the newest technology and trying to reach a different audience, pure genius. I believe that blogging is sweeping the 2008 elections and going to devour upcoming elections.

    [ # 233 ] Comment from mcg3$ [February 26, 2007, 12:14 am]

    I honestly do not think that blogging will impact the 2008 Presidential Election; however, I do find it interesting that more and more candidates are experimenting with it. I belive it is an excellent way for the candidate to speak directly to his potential voter, but i don’t think that it really will make a difference whether or not their messageis expressed through a blog. Voters are going to learn about a candidate and their stance on issues through television, newspaper and other forms of media; blogs are not necessarily needed. In fact, I do not know anyone who reads blogs. Therefore, I do not beleive that blogging will effect the up coming election.

    [ # 267 ] Comment from des2! [March 1, 2007, 6:11 am]

    Although I believe that blogging will effect the 2008 election I don’t think the change will be significant enough to sway the election one way or another. Even though a relatively large percentage of people read and respond to blogs I still feel that blogging comes closer to the end in a long line of different types of media that will effect the election. Also I feel that the amount of time and dedication that is required of serious bloggers is something that the average American doesn’t have time for. The people who are the main audiences for these blogs are more politically involved and I believe they are more likely to have already chosen a party they side with then the typical apathetic American.

    [ # 2128 ] Comment from imparare [April 15, 2007, 6:07 am]

    Interesting comments.. :D

    [ # 24348 ] Comment from Thanasis [November 27, 2007, 12:20 pm]

    Cool.

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    In December of 2006 Dr. Dhavan Shah of the University of Wisconsin and his “Blogclub” of graduate students and Dr. David D. Perlmutterof the University of Kansas conducted a survey of major political blogs and their readers. The project was partially sponsored by a grant from the Knight/Carnegie Foundation’s Future of Journalism initiative. The summary of the results are posted here--please fully cite us if you refer to the findings.

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