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Don’t just hire a blogger, BE the blogger! (A community manifesto for 2008) 9 February, 2007

Posted by Zack in 2008, Online organizing.

The BloggerGate controversy raised a lot of interesting questions—but one I didn’t hear was: “Why aren’t the candidates their own bloggers?” And this goes for email too—the alternate title for this post could be: “Write your own emails, damn it!”

This is not a criticism of Internet staff on campaigns (I’ve been there, I know it’s not up to you). This is not even a criticism of candidates or campaign managers—it’s just an attempt at a wake up call: This is a whole new medium, a whole new channel for your own voice—you don’t ask someone else give your speeches or appear in your TV ads. So why have someone who barely knows you writing personal messages in your name that go out to millions of your most passionate fans and volunteers?
The list below is just a first quick take. Go to the New Organizing Institute wiki and add your own reasons, change the order, and modify the current ones. Let’s make this a community product.

Top Ten Reasons For Presidential Candidates to
Write Their Own Emails and Blog Posts:

  1. The people who have signed up on your email list and who read your blog are your die-hard supporters. These people love you and are going to pour their hearts into your campaign over the next year (or two, if you win). These people deserve better than canned messages written by an “Internet guy” who doesn’t even know you.
  2. If you write the messages yourself and really put something of yourself into them, then your supporters who receive them will be far more engaged in your campaign — that means they will do more work and donate more money.
  3. If you can spend six hours per day on high-dollar fundraising, you can take 15 minutes to jot out a note to your supporters.
  4. As someone running for president, you have one of the most interesting lives out of anyone in the world. And yet the canned emails and blog posts we get from you reflect none of that. You have ten amazing stories to tell every single day: tell them!
  5. Having some “Internet guy” write your messages is soooooo 2004! People are sick of those canned, formula emails. No one reads them anymore. Actually, no one read them in 2004 either. So wake up to this new medium and put yourself into it the same as you do with, say, television.
  6. Now that everyone is opting out of public financing, you need to raise hundreds of millions of dollars between now and November 2008. Everyone in America is disgusted by that. The only way you will get our full participation in helping you to get to that goal is by making a real connection with us and winning our trust that you won’t blow it all on sucky adds like they did last time.
  7. Because you’ll have fun doing it!
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. ?

Go to the New Organizing Institute wiki and add your voice.


1. seamus - 13 February, 2007

8. It will force you to learn to spell.

2. Clicked : Leave those hicks alone - 13 February, 2007

[…] Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 2:20 PM by Will Femia I waited all morning (and into the afternoon) for the fine folks at Crooks and Liars to share the Stephen Colbert clip from last night in which he tears into Australian Prime Minister John Howard (after first tipping his hat in agreement) for criticizing Barak Obama.  It’s a brilliant illustration of some of the sentiment I saw expressed in the blogosphere yesterday, for example this piece at Captain’s Quarters.  Like Joe Gandelman, I felt myself give a mental Scalia Sicilian salute to Howard when I read the story. I had similar feelings watching this video of some British guys who decide to taunt people in Alabama and end up nearly killed (sadly confirming some of the gross stereotypes they set out to mock).  Most folks online see it as a funny joke but I couldn’t help but feel a little defensive.  Hey you jerk, those are our hicks.  If they need mocking, we’ll handle it.  Why don’t you go find some soccer yobs in your country to provoke into threatening your life? Speaking of Barry, there was a talking head on Hardball last night who predicted we’d eventually see his speech from 2002 versus Hillary’s speech of 2002 and she’d come out looking bad.  (They were talking about whether her answers on the war would be sufficient in her campaign.)  Anyway, here’s the Obama half. Speaking of Iraq, here’s the PowerPoint slide show of the government’s case for Iran in Iraq. The science of Godzilla.  Better than the science of zombies. Ethnomusicologists against music as torture – It took me the longest time to figure out what I thought this was weird and finally I realized that the objection seems to be about the abuse of music, not about the abuse of humans.  It’s like People for the Ethical Treatment of Music. Speaking of uncommon causes, Ezra Klein raises the issue of prison rape with a few anecdotes from victims.  Prison rape is such common knowledge it can be the poster joke for a Hollywood comedy.  I can’t think of any politician who would dare stand up for the rights of the incarcerated; being “tough on crime” is such an easy political point to score.  Still, it’s pretty sick. World Press Photos of the Year 2007 NOTE: Several disturbing war photos Speaking of professional photography, I don’t remember what brought me here, but I’ve been enjoying The Online Photographer blog. The only thing I want to hear from a urinal cake is flattery. Someone’s going to have to explain OscarTorrents to me.  Are they seriously offering every Oscar nominated movie for download for free? The brain scan that can read people’s intentions – This is as “Minority Report” as it sounds.  I’d like to see the actual study because the connection between what the brain scan shows as “intention” and the resulting action is not clear to me.  Surely there’s not much more than a split second between brain signal of intention and actual action. IT, YouTube and the wealth gap – In what way does the digital divide contribute to the wealth gap.  The blunt argument is that the wealthy have more access to technology which makes them more productive and more efficient at making more money.  The actual situation may be more nuanced. Candy heart for Valentine’s Day. Dear Boston authorities, this is a marketing trick.  Don’t panic (or cause panic). Speaking of that mess, Osama Team Hunger Force – NOTE:  There is occasionally NSFW material on CollegeHumor and just below this video are four random photos that may contain a thong or something. How to crash an in-flight entertainment system While checking out the new techPresident site mentioned in yesterday’s Times (the hook was that they track the number of MySpace friends each candidate has) I appreciated the candidate blog round-up that goes with the follow-up item that one of the embattled Edwards bloggers quit.  The most interesting angle on this whole story now is whether campaign blogs (and bloggers) have to be boring by definition.  In the ideal there’s an idea that candidates having blogs will mean candor and insight and I have to say that part of why I didn’t think the Edwards bloggers would be a big deal is because I thought they’d be advising in the background, not actually cultivating personalities of their own online as part of the campaign.  Of course candidates should be doing their own blogging, that’s the whole point.  For all the jawing politicians do about opening a channel of communication with the people, this is the one tool that will actually allow them to do so in a manageable way. FBI lost 160 weapons and 160 laptops in last 44 months – and that’s the good news.  “In any organization the size of the FBI, equipment is going to be lost, misplaced, or stolen, so perfection is not to be expected.”  I’m not sure I agree with this one.  I’m sure there are corporate formulas for what an acceptable amount of loss is, but I’d expect weapons and laptops to be particularly well guarded. Canterbury tales in World of Warcraft. Stem cells used for ‘natural’ boob jobs – It’s funny that in almost every place I saw this story they included a gratuitous photo of a large breasted woman.  I didn’t even think it was a legit story, but after some Googling I was able to find out quite a bit more information.  When you think about it, being able to grow breast tissue and even a whole breast is actually a really big deal in terms of fighting breast cancer.  The “excesses of vanity” angle does the research a disservice. Speaking of growing new body parts, “Researchers … have now shown that continuous tooth generation can be induced in mammals.” Hysterical parody of someone calling IT for help with a book. I’m not sure I really understand the reason for building a V6 hybrid sports car other than to refute the reputation that hybrid cars are wimpy.  Still, doesn’t this kind of defeat the purpose?  (And don’t get me wrong, that’s a hot car. I’m just saying…) Top 10 Fashion Suggestions for Nerds – The site is kind of weird and made me wonder if it was some kind of spam, so I clicked through to the blog.  The whole thing is an AdSense Earnings Adventure.  Pretty fascinating if a bit cynical. Commuter Click: How Not to Talk to Your Kids – The Inverse Power of Praise.  This is the second NY Magazine Commuter Click in a row, but since I liked the last one I’m sticking with them. […]

3. George - 14 February, 2007

Additional reasons to voice your own blog:
8) Get some practice thinking outside the box
9) Present original ideas without seeing them turned into ten second audio-clip hatchet jobs
10) CPM. Come on, where can you beat the advertising costs of a blog?

4. Patrick Ruffini :: Technology Hybrids and 2008 - 3 July, 2007

[…] What are some examples of technology hybrids? Something I did earlier today, sending my first TwitterGram, certainly qualifies. I recorded a voicemail previewing this post that was then instantaneously sent to my Twitter account. How useful is this? It probably isn’t for me. Who wants to hear my voice? But if you’re a candidate, it can be tons more authentic than “texting” in your message. Zack Exley has famously urged candidates to write their own emails, but even if they did, would people believe it was them? That’s why candidates shouldn’t Twitter; they should TwitterGram. They shouldn’t blog; they should videoblog. That solves the authenticity dilemma of campaign websites — we’ll know for sure it’s them, in video or voice, delivering a message many times more compelling than plain text. […]

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