I am sitting around tonight thinking about netroots outreach in political campaigns. I do that sometimes. I am a bit of a dork, what can I say.
When I say netroots outreach, I am not talking about the candidate and his/her staff posting on sites like DailyKos and MyDD. You will get your fill of that this election cycle, I promise you.
I am talking about net *roots*. And I am not talking about fundraising. I know that is all most campaigns care about, but for the purposes of this post, focus on the communicative aspects of the blogosphere.
I think of the netroots like the actual grassroots of a traditional campaign, but inside the blogopshere. When most people talk about the blogs, they are often referring to blogs like Kos, TPM, Powerline, Instapundit, and other large sources of information and activism.
For the purposes of this post, I am talking about the INTERNET ROOTS. The "bottom" of the blogosphere. The blogs that only you, your parents, friends, and a few co-workers read. Your Yahoo Group that has 3 members. Or your Meetup that hasn't had a leader since the election ended.
You know? The blog that you link in your Kos diaries in attempt to increase traffic (its ok, we've all done it)
Just like that one to five communication you took part in when invited into someone's home to discuss Howard Dean in Iowa, or John Kerry from wherever you are in the world.
People talk about the vaunted Bush "neighbor to neighbor" grassroots campaign during the 2004 election. The theory behind it being that who better to discuss and convince someone than a neighbor, close friend, or family member?
Why should the blogosphere be any different?
Let me explain what my goals are here:
I am undoubtedly going to be working on another campaign during this election cycle. When the time comes for the campaign to begin its Internet outreach program, I want the most comprehensive list of blogs in the state I am working in. Like I said above, that includes the blogs that just you, your family, and a few co-workers read.
And I want to reach out to that group of people.
I want to include and embrace the small blogger in the same way that they small donor was embraced during this pat election cycle.
The following questions apply if you have a blog. Even if you don't please feel free to answer them as well.
1.) Do you have a blog? And if so, what state are you blogging out of?
2.) If you took the time to learn about a candidate, and liked them, would you take the chance to interview them for blog if the candidate made him/herself available for such interviews?
3.) If a campaign gave you the tools to create your own blog, and promoted it on their website, would that make you any more inclined to start a blog of your own?
4.) If you were invited to a weekly conference call/Net chat with the candidate or representative from the campaign on how to best grow the netroots and solicitation of other ideas, would you participate?
5.) Would it tempt you more to start your own blog if the campaign promoted the best blogging to the front page of a heavily viewed website (supported by blogads and outreach)?
6.) Most important question: What other ideas do you have on growing a campaign from the netroots up?
In my last campaign, the most difficult part of our Internet successes was distilling that national support down to the local level. I want to take a stab at that this election cycle.
In my next campaign, I want to learn from the shortcomings and perceived limitations of the blogosphere. Because in my mind, any limitations are only perceived and all of them can be overcome.
So consider this open source attempt number one at formulating a good plan to expand on the communicative functions of the netroots.
Please join me in the discussion. I would urge all of you to take the information collected by people in this diary and submit them to your local Congressional candidates as well.
Most Democratic campaigns are woefully ignorant when it comes to the potential of the Net. They know that it spits money out at them sometime, but that's all.
Seriously, jump in the conversation and I will stop staring at you in that awkward way.