Monday, July 2, 2007

Election 2.0

posted by Andy Leff
Note to 2008 candidates: Blog smart, or get flogged.

So says a new report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government. Titled “The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0,” the report aims to help public officials incorporate blogging into their communications campaigns.

That way, they can enjoy the benefits of blogging's direct outreach, without getting burned by the lack of filter (a la George Allen). The top recommendations, according to

1. Define yourself and your purpose.
2. Write the blog yourself.
3. Be sure to dedicate the necessary time to the blog.
4. Post updates regularly and respond to comments.
5. Don’t use the blog for self-promotion.
6. Accept criticism.
7. Run spell-check.
8. Don’t give the reader too much information.
9. Make the blog easy to use and try adding multimedia features.
10. Become a student of blogging and learn from others.

Hmm. Sound familiar? Oh, that's right -- these are the best practices for ANY blog, be it personal, professional, or political.

Granted, public officials operate largely in the public eye, so they must tread carefully with their words and messages. But they are people first, which can be their greatest asset if they know how to use it.

Indeed, a little humility in one's humanity goes a long way in the blogosphere. It keeps content honest, genuine, and accessible, and helps the audience identify more closely with the reader.

And isn't that the entire purpose of campaigning -- to win others' hearts and minds to a political agenda? Again, it's not terribly different from a business blog, where an organization aims to win hearts and minds to the product.

If done right, candidate blogging will open up stumping beyond the standard talking points, and make a refreshing addition to pressing palms and kissing babies. I'll be curious to see how this plays out in the 2008 election. Have a prediction? Leave it here, and we'll check back throughout the year.

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