Why Congress Doesn't Blog…And a Few Members Who Do – by Molly Chapman Norton

<p>This is a very interesting article about congress and blogging. It is relevent to all levels of elected office who might be thinking about using blogs, or people who work for elected and think their principals should blog but don't. Basically the artiocle drills down on 2 or 3 key points:<br /> 1) Message control: hard to do on a blog if you allow open comments.<br /> 2) Open comments: without them, blog is not a true blog, more of an online journal. Some congressional "bloggers" allow readers to submit comments to their LAs.<br /> 3) Consistancy. It is important for the blogging to be consistant.</p> <p>The point that is not raised is that a minority legislator would have a lot less to lose then a majority one. A minority legislator could blog about how the otherside is hindering good initiatives for partisan reasons, expose the hypocracy of the majority and cast his or her own spin on the events of the day. </p> <p>Particularly for levels of government that don't get much detailed political coverage in the broadcast media (think state legislatures) legislators essentially could become their own op-ed page and get their message out to their supporters, energizing the base. Of course this type of blogging would require an aggressive outreach strategy to earn readers, and it would probably work best as an RSS feed that readers could subscribe to or that allied organizations could aggregate. It would also require rapid responses–in ohter words entries that deal with events that happened that day or a day earlier.</p> <p><a href="http://www.personaldemocracy.com/node/403">Why Congress Doesn't Blog…And a Few Members Who Do – by Molly Chapman Norton</a> – <em> <p>The political blogosphere now provides commentary on races all the way down the ballot to the local level. Yet, despite the proliferation of blogs on the news side of the media, they are a technology only rarely used by politicians. In fact, most congressional websites look at least five years out of date. Only a few have included any kind of blog, even though blogs would seem like one of the easiest ways for a Member of Congress to connect with constituents. Of the handful of congressional "blogs," most lack the capability for readers to post comments at will, making them at best a one-way online diary—though the press-release quality of much of the writing leaves much to be desired. </p> <p><strong>Why don’t more politicians blog?</strong></p> <p>Only a few Members of Congress have features that they call blogs on their actual congressional websites, among them <a href="http://www.talent.senate.gov/weblog/index.htm" target="_new">Senator Jim Talent</a> (R-MO), <a href="http://mikepence.house.gov/blog" target="_new">Rep. Mike Pence</a> (R-IN) and <a href="http://www.house.gov/kirk/blog" target="_new">Rep. Mark Kirk</a> (R-IL). But, most of these aren’t true blogs. Inherent in a blog is the ability to post comments and have online discussions. A few Members regularly post, but only one—<a href="http://www.myownjournal.com/journal.php?u_mem=tancredoblog" target="_new"> Rep. Tom Tancredo</a> (R-CO)—has embraced the open, unfiltered nature of blogging with ongoing unadulterated threads. A few other members have blogs – or more specifically remnants of blogs, but they have only been updated once or twice, clearly a project that didn’t catch on. </p> <p></p></em> [<a href="http://www.personaldemocracy.com/blog/0">PDF Feature</a>]</p>

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