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The Net Takeaway: My one and only one election post.


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My one and only one election post. · 11/08/2004 01:04 PM, Trivial

What is going on with this country?

Anyway… what did I learn from this election? Well, other than deciding that I need to move to any country other than this one, I also realized something about the vaunted “power of the blogosphere”.

Like the internet bust, it’s a big joke. All these “important” blogs, the ones talking about voting, the ones quoted by op/ed people and mentioned on NPR… these had no impact on the election, in my opinion. Look at the results: 2000 had no blogs, 2004 did, with virtually indistinguishable results.

All these “influential” blogs were read by people who already had their minds made up. The blogs couldn’t get Dean any farther ahead than they could Kerry, since they weren’t introducing new ideas to new people, but just reinforcing ideas in current “net-savvy” readers.

Yes, a variety of stats and polls imply all sorts of voter turnout numbers and new consituencies… but no poll I saw pointed to blogs as their drivers. Instead, TV/Media and “the internet” as an abstract appear to be constant answers. In fact, some people were reportedly more likely to vote based on spam political emails than by blogs.

Look, blogs are important. The self-publishing model, the “home page” on steriods, is a major shift in how we communicate with each other as people. But like Kerry, we got hung up on thinking that if we all sat around and Harrummphed enough, it would change the others… who weren’t reading what we were writing. Note to self: If my blog isn’t being read, then it isn’t having impact. And if its being read by people who already agree with it… then it’s having no impact.

Instead, think of it like marketing. Segment your audience. Write the usual stuff to your usual elite/media savvy/internet weary/hip urban crowd, they love what you will say and will hosanna til night falls. But consider also making a site which allows the other side to point out their views. I wanna know what that crazy midwest person was thinking… maybe they were right and maybe they weren’t. But our current blogging is all about one way communication with some comments. Nowhere is the real integration of various ideas that the blogosphere pretends it’s about. Comments and “trackbacks” aren’t it.

Some folks say “Wikis shouldn’t be lumped in with blogs”. Ok, but at least wikis have multiple communication paths. I like the ideas of the Always On Network which is a collection of bloggers with intermingling of their posts and viewpoints. Here, we see a variety of conflicting views. That model needs to happen more often, to give people a more serendipity approach to seeing new ideas they may not have thought of before.

So, let’s not fall back and say, “Man! Blogging is cool! It galvanized the electorate and extended the constituency’s power to get their ideas explicated!”. Let’s say that we’ve got a foot in the door to communicate… but that we have to invite people in to listen… people who usually don’t. Now, that would be a powerful blogosphere.

And now back to your usual programming.

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