Howard County Maryland Blog

Convention of States in Maryland

Archive for August 21st, 2006

Local bloggers play political role

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, August 21, 2006

Well, this is the article I suggested readers keep an eye out for.

Thanks to Larry Carson of the Baltimore Sun.  I think it is fair to say that we would be interested in collaborating with The Sun on this effort if their is any interest on The Sun’s part.

Kevin Dayhoff, a Carroll County Blogger, will be helping us to cover Senate District 9 (Allan Kittleman) since it stretches throughout southern Carroll County.

This is probably a good time to let everyone know that Dave, Evan, Ian and I will also be posting primary election results, as they are reported by the Board of Elections, the evening of September 12th.  We will of course post commentary.

Dave and I will focus on the GOP results.  Evan and Ian will focus on the Democratic results.  All four of us will be looking over each others shoulders during the evening.

Couple of comments on the article.

I think we are all a little surprised at the number of hits we get on our sites.  David Wissing’s site gets the most hits by far.  I am a frequent visitor there because of the polling data he posts.  Also, he has a dry sense of humor that I appreciate.  Anyway, “tis the season”.  It is the political season and I expect more interest and then a sudden drop off in November.

As to this information and commentary.

A USA Today-Claritas national marketing survey done last fall scored Howard County as second in the nation for early adoption of new technology, so it would appear fertile ground for a computer forum, though some are skeptical.

I had no idea and I think it is good insight.

“It’s growing, but it tends to be restricted to the [political] junkies and the news media” who repeatedly visit the same sites, said Donald F. Norris, public policy professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “This is out there in the ether. If what you want to do is influence the election, a blog is not the way to do it.”

Little Buddy, I think the professor is missing the point.  Yes, political junkies are more interested in our sites.  Yes, the visitors tend to be the same people.  I don’t think it is still out in the ether.  It is mainstreaming.  Blogging is exploding.  That does not mean that the four of us are trying to influence the outcome of the election.  That was not our intent at all – never came up.  This is simply a public service – seriously.  Not trying to be noble.  It is just that not a lot of us get to attend the forums.  Not all of us get GTV.  Most of us have a PC and an internet browser, and the interactive nature of blogs just seemed to scream for a blog candidate forum.

For another prespective on the professor’s comments I direct you to Bruce Godfrey’s web log site, Crablaw.  Bruce saw the article in the paper and dropped me a note (may have gotten to Dave, Evan and Ian too – I don’t know).  He thought the comment by the professor was odd too.  Just seems out of context to me, although I don’t know what the question was.  Here is what Bruce had to say.  It is a good point but not what the four of aspire too.

I would partially agree with that statement, but the comment seems a little arid in light of the widespread crediting of bloggers’ roles in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary. In a close race, the intensity of information, fact-checking, organizing and fundraising available not from “a blog” but from multiple blogging activists with different skills sets cannot be underestimated. Both Lamont and Lieberman know this to be true, and have said so (blame by Lieberman, praise from Lamont.) No, you cannot spin an election with a blog, but you can with volunteers. cash, opposition research and organizational structure, and bloggers can help to provide all four of those in a hot race. Liberals have tended to dominate the campaign use of blogs to date, just as conservatives have had an edge in talk radio for a long time but neither comparative advantage is set in stone. If liberal bloggers start getting fired up for Donna Edwards against Albert Wynn in the MD-4 Democratic Congressional primary, as appears to be happening, you might just see a repeat of blogger political muscle exerting itself.

As for Jim Robey’s comments.  That is fair.  I hope he participates.  This way he can answer four constituent’s questions at once.  Also, given the vast improvements to the County web site over the past 8 years I thought he was more of a tech guy.  I guess that credit goes to certain members of the  County Council (Merdon and Guzzone get honorable mentions here) for driving the technology and Nina Benz as well.

“Talk radio on computer.”  Thank you Gail Bates. 

I think it is a great way to look at this.

Back to my long weekend.


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