|Friday, July 23, 2004|
Posting from the new center-city park in downtown Greensboro, via the free wi-fi service they unleashed today.
Because I can.
It's actually kind of nice, although it's a little hard to see the screen of my laptop, but I can understand how people might like to do a little work outside sometimes...
5:38:41 PM comment 
GOP and Democrat state-by-state Senate campaign pages. Both are pretty good, but the Republican page for NC seems a little richer -- the picture helps, but there is also a list of links to local organizations. The machinery of the party seems to be engaged on behalf of the GOP candidate.
At the local level, the Bowles site is in some ways starting to outpace Burr's site. Burr does have the party thing going -- that seems to be a consistent Republican strength -- with links to county organizations. But Bowles' new blog helps make the Bowles campaign a destination on the Web, the hub for people who come to think of themselves as part of the campaign. Burr's more static site does include some tools for volunteers, but it seems geared more to pushing information out to an audience than engaging people.
We'll find out in the coming weeks and months just how many people the Bowles online community attracts, and how effective they can make themselves. It's not too late for Burr to build a Web hub, but the clock is ticking, and these things take a while to mature. And it will be interesting to see if Bowles integrates more tightly with local Democratic organizations -- and if local Democratic blogs will emerge to meet him halfway.
11:09:18 AM comment 
I read Joe Trippi's book. If you haven't been following the development of politics on the Web, it's a decent way to catch up. And it deals frankly with some of the problems that undid the Dean campaign, especially old-school issues like internal communications and trust.
But it doesn't solve the riddle of how an Internet-based movement meshes with traditional campaign organizations to form an effective campaign. The failure to execute that maneuver helped sink the Dean campaign.
Trippi at an O'Reilly conference in February, speaking about the Iowa campaign: "We thought Meetup people should be a component of those delegates, but of course you've got the county Democratic chair who thinks, 'Hey, I've been the county chair here for 30 years and I ought to be the Dean delegate.' You only get seven slots. A lot of the fighting that actually happened in the campaign between the establishment and the 'Net roots was over stuff like that."
Maybe the solution lies in wiring (and wirelessing) the traditional organizations, too, so there isn't a culture clash. I know the NC Democratic Party, for example, is working with some powerful people to become more Webcentric.
And the cautionary tale of Dean's campaign should be useful, too. Other campaigns that are using blogs, Meetup, and similar tools have some of the dragons marked on their maps.
I'd like to see Trippi address this topic directly -- how to meld Web-built and traditional organizations, avoid culture clashes.
9:13:28 AM comment 
Atrios will be at the Democratic convention, but he's playing down the blogger angle.
Good idea. The hype is hitting hyperdrive.
Although NZ Bear describes one promising job for bloggers: watching the press.
Blogging delegates and other officials could be useful, too -- a core element of the weblog revolution being the distribution of publishing power to the doers, not just the observers...
8:47:15 AM comment