Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Monday, May 08, 2006


Have You Heard About "Weblogs?"

The Courant runs yet another article on something called "blogs" and what they're doing in the Lamont-Lieberman race. Nothing really new here, although it was interesting to see the two campaigns' respective responses to the question of their relationship to the blogs:

"[Lieberman] thinks the emergence of blogs is an exciting development for citizens to engage in the political discourse," said Smith. "But it does feel a little strange. We're not used to this kind of opposition in our own party."

He said there are no plans for a pro-Lieberman blog.

"The campaign doesn't endorse the websites. The blogs are the blogs, and our effort are our efforts," said Liz Dupont Diehl, Lamont's campaign spokeswoman. "They are, however, an amazing outpouring of creative expression and talent - that's one way to look at the blogs. They are an outlet for people who have something very clear to say."

Seems like - for opposite but similarly misguided reasons - both campaigns want to keep the blogs as far away from them as possible.

This is 2006, and voters are online. The fact that one campaign in this race is shunning the blogs entirely and the other is so far woefully underperforming in their official online efforts is perplexing, to say the least. Hopefully this will change soon.

By the way, contrary to his current position, Joe did have a campaign blog for his presidential race in 2004: the wonderfully named (and thankfully archived) BlogForJoe.com.
The Lamont online effort is especially perplexing, given how cost-effective it is to build and maintain a professional, media-friendly website these days. It simply makes no sense to have a 1999 website in 2006. I would have expected a lot more video from someone in the cable tv industry.
Interesting you should mention video, that's one area where the campaign will be doing some really great things, with both Greenwald and Hillsman on board.
One would hope they'll be doing great things. The problem with a summer primary is that people will get distracted and not pay as much attention as they would at other times of the year. I hope we will see the fruits of their labor soon.
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Random thoughts on videos, blogs and all that stuff: (Resubmitted to fix link problems)

I don’t want to tip our hand, but let me say about videos, that I’m very excited about the videos that we hope to have up on the web soon. These are large collaborative efforts and they aren’t getting up as quickly as I would like, but they will be there and it should be soon.

I also really want to compliment everyone who has worked with the Nedhead’s group on YouTube. Individuals can create what they want for videos without having to worry about issues that campaigns must focus on. As an aside on this, I am helping organize a workshop and festival on grassroots filmmaking at UMass for the end of June. I hope you check out Media Giraffe Filmmaking workshop and Festival. Let me know if you want to help or submit some of your videos.

The same thing applies with the written word. I want to encourage bloggers to create their own content. Instead of discouraging debate, the way Lieberman does, we want to encourage people to speak their own minds online. This can be done best when people write on their own blogs. Now that Tim Tagaris is coming on board, hopefully we will be able to start a blog on the campaign site as well. As with the Media Giraffe project, I am hoping that we can arrange workshops to help introduce new people to blogging. I will be speaking a little bit about this on a panel about local political blogging at the Personal Democracy Forum next week in New York, as well addressing some high school classes in New Haven the week after.
I seriously doubt that Lamont plans to distance himself from the blogosphere, given that he just hired Tim Tagaris. Tim is not there to stuff envelopes.

Also, as a purely legal matter, campaigns have to say stuff like this. Coordination of independent expenditures is illegal, and even though the FEC ruled in our favor regarding our free spech rights, campaigns are probably still a bit worried about being charged with impermissible coordination.
David- You're 100% right of course. Which is why I have great hope for the very near future.
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