"I'm interested in hearing from you what worked, what didn't work, what's going to work next time."
"The local is where it's happening."
A lot of political blogs are still too top-down, talking to the supporters but not allowing the community to talk back adequately.
Problem w/ Dean campaign: had trouble getting the online-based groups working well with the more longstanding traditionally-organized groups.
Rural/Urban digital divide problem.
"We have a tendency to talk to ourselves, on both sides of the political spectrum, and its almost like an echo chamber."
"We forgot about the rural people."
The most effective online tool of this campaign was E-MAIL.
One person makes an interesting point: political blog posts were most effective when they included "what you can do" action points in addition to opinion & information.
The energy for a campaign blog must come from the top - the candidate - but the blog should equally be the voice of the whole campaign and the people working for it. (BUT: If the personality and voice of a campaign member who writes for the blog dominates, then that takes focus away from the actual candidate.)
"A blogger is just an amplifyer for a message."
Question: "could it be that blogging simply doesn't scale well for a national campaign?"
Maybe blogs work well for local campaigns but not for national campaigns.
The Deanblog was good for raising money but it did not do well in reflecting the voice and vision of the candidate himself.
Issue: the candidate as a product.
"The Democrats totally lost the branding war."
Nothing in the blogs addressed this or helped people understand what was happening.
The politicians who were "blogging" (usually via proxy by staff members) "sounded like a press release"... which made it not worthwhile if the candidate wasn't really going to be there. The blog's value is an "authentic, actual voice."
"A political campaign is better at controlling information than at disseminating it."
Scott Rosenberg: There's an elephant in the room: 50% of Americans somehow think that the U.S. forces found WMD in Iraq. What kinds of authorities can we be rebuilding to protect ourselves?
"There are powers who will prey on us if we don't create our own authorities for distributing facts."
Many people agree that the most important thing is not to create new online organizations, but to bring blogs and other online organizing tools to existing groups with their existing networks. The challenge is how to make these things more user-friendly for groups that are not currently online.
In the end, it's not about technology but the substance and the message. The thing is how can you use these tools more effectively next time to get those factors better distributed and motivate your base.
Robert Cox: says maybe a top-down approach is more effective in politics, and maybe blogs just don't lend themselves to that approach.