Blogging Locally

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by Mark Adams

Lisa Renee, of Glass City Jungle and Liberal Common Sense, had done a few of these things before, talking about how candidates could use blogs, different kinds of bloggers and promoted the free aspects of the medium. John Spalding of Make a Difference was also on the panel and gave a very professional presentation on a new project of his, a steaming TV station, and talked about the cutting edge of technological developments in the Intertoobz.

I totally winged it. But I'm told I didn't make a complete fool of myself talking about using the medium to present your views and persuade people through discussions, influencing lurkers, and exploiting the fundraising and recruitment possibilities blogs can provide for zero cost (except time).

Anyway, I think that's what I talked about. Things get blurry when I have to wear real clothes.

It's one thing to relax when you do public speaking by imagining the audience in their underwear. Right now, the thought of giving a speech in MY underwear is decidedly disturbing.

::shudder::

Next time, I think I'll leave the tie at home and actually jot down some notes and prepare something in advance.

I did learn something there. There's a tremendous need to educate the uninitiated candidate about what possibilities exist in cyberspace, and how easy it is to create and maintain an effective web presence for their campaign through blogs.

I sat through about an hour and a half of a presentation on fundraising and voter outreach, and the only thing they discussed that is remotely related to what we do in Blogtopia was sending e-mails out to prospective donors -- and that was at the bottom of the list.

When I see the volume of cash donated to political campaigns on the web, and nobody even mentions the idea of including a simple fundraising badge on a local candidate's web page, I realize there's still a huge vacuum and plenty of room for the Toobz to grow into the town square.

Bringing in money gets any politician's attention. But the real power of blogs is publishing and shaping the message. More, much more could be done at a local level. The gap between how the national candidates exploit their web presence and what the candidates are doing at the local level, many of whom don't even have a web page, is astromomical.

I'm probably spoiled. When I do a post about John Edwards, I can go to his web page and not simply find a bullet-point list of his positions on the issues, but links to press releases, full articles from the media on everything he's done or doing, text of speeches and fully downloadable white papers detailing his plans for America's future -- plus one of the most sophisticated interactive blogs out there.

I don't expect everyone running for city council to have something nearly as elaborate, but geez, at least get a blog!

Thanks Lisa, for getting me involved.

My neglected tie collection thanks you too.

(Also I'd like to thank fellow Edwards supporter Ben, and Brian for putting it all together -- and a special shout out to City Council Candidate Karen Shanahan, who "gets" it.)

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