Saturday, November 06, 2004

The role of blogging in politics -- views from BloggerCon III

I'm at BloggerCon III, where, first of all, this place is full of macs with stickers on them. I can see the backs of 9 macs right now, and 5 have at least one sticker on them -- in fact, 2 of them are covered with stickers. (The best, of course, is mine, with Curious George looking very fashionable in his yellow hat.) Larry Lessig's mac has a huge "Free Culture" bumper sticker on the back.

But I digress.

A lot of people here, instigated by Jay Rosen, clearly agree on one thing: the key to candidates effectively blogging is to use it as retail politics -- that is, the candidate blogging himself. In my own view, this might best happen by essentially having a secretary who follows him around and takes dictation or constructs interviews. In my view this gives some of the key benefits of shaking hands, of going on nightline and having a quiet chat with Ted. Rosen tells the story of suggesting to Barak Obama that he write his own blog -- Obama chuckled -- and made a plea that in 2006 we get the highest-level candidate to write his own blog.

Scott Rosenberg suggests blogs should play a role in narrowing the immense difference between the truth and what most American's believe.

Now a speaker is pointing out how successful the Republicans have been at doing real grass-roots organizing e.g. in churches, and suggested that weblogs should be doing that.

Lessig raises the problem that blogging can bring self-segregation, where we only hear the thoughts inside a small, powerless echo chamber. A blog software implementer talks about how there are people sitting around having lunch sharing good ideas about politics with the two people they're having lunch with -- the blogosphere's role is to disseminate those bright ideas. (This is apparently a guy who puts out a much-lauded software system for running campaigns.)


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