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Daily Digest: 4/9/07

BY Joshua Levy | Monday, April 9 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • Rudy Giuliani advisor Patrick Ruffini looks at theories that the Democrats own the internet and decides it isn’t true. “The basic gist of the argument is that because Democrats embrace open systems online (blog comments, user generated content), they’re more successful and raise more money. This totally gets it backwards, I think.”  Ruffini thinks that the “top-down” style of generating massive email lists is still the way candidates are raising large amounts of money.  Supporters are still “far more likely to interface with the campaign from a top-down email sent from headquarters than they are by having a peer-to-peer dialogue with the campaign,” he writes.  In this regard, the Repubicans are competing with the Democrats.  “The lesson is that Web traffic (and donations) follows media coverage and the political environment, and Republicans more than held their own in a difficult year.”  Matt Stoller has a different explanation: “The Democratic Party is ‘ahead’ not in the sense that its masters have learned the new tools, but because the party is becoming much more open and aligned around a left-wing ideology that is ascendant in America,” and the Republicans have yet to catch up to this shift.
  • On a similar note, Todd Zeigler at the Bivings Report asks if the kind of user-generated sites set up by John Edwards and Barack Obama are working.  Basically, it’s too early to say, though Zeigler does draw out several rhetorical questions and lessons to be learned, including the nugget, “You can’t apply a top down structure to tools that are meant to be lateral.”
  • The web is offering a new way for young people to get involved in politics, reports Dana Wilkie.  Heather Smith, director of young-voter strategies at George Washington University, says that young people are “poised to be the age group that makes a winning difference in a close presidential race.  And, to engage these young voters, a campaign must communicate about issues that matter, through mediums that are familiar.”  

The Candidates on the Web

  • John Edwards has launched a series of Saturday-morning podcasts, reports Danny Glover at AirCongress.  In the first episode Edwards detailed a plan for “Form 1,” a new tax form that many taxpayers would simply have to sign and send in, with the IRS doing the heavy lifting. 
  • AirCongress also reports that Duncan Hunter recently recorded a video asking for support from the conservative blogosphere.  He specifically names Free Republic, Human Events Online, Michelle Malkin, Newsmax, and WorldNetDaily, promising that, if elected, he’ll “build the border fence in six months — that’s all 854 miles.  I’ll continue the fight against global terror. I’ll rebuild national defense. I’ll protect the Second Amendment. I’ll appoint originalist judges and give you the kind of conservative leadership that you expect in the White House.” 
  • Check out this Happy Easter message from Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich.  Call me skeptical, but I’m not sure that’s a real background…

In Case You Missed It…

Tancredo Comment Posted
It is Sunday, just before 5:00 PM and Alan Rosenblatt’s comment on Tom Tancredo’s blog is up. Took a two days to get up there, but it is up.

MySpace Hopscotches NH
Will the MySpace presidential primary straw poll tell us anything, everything, or nothing at all?

Commenting on Tancredo’s Blog
At about 2:00 PM on April 6, 2007, Alan Rosenblatt submitted a comment to a Tancredo blog post that was driving people to a Laura Ingraham poll (April 4, 2007).

A Video Guide to the Candidates compiles a matrix of candidates and issues on one page. The unique feature is that the page is full of YouTube videos.

Upcoming Events:

This Friday:
Democratization and the Networked Public Sphere
Panel Discussion with danah boyd, Trebor Scholz, and Ethan Zuckerman

Friday, April 13, 2007, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
New York City
Admission: $8, free for all students, New School faculty, staff, and alumni with valid ID

This evening at the Vera List Center for Art & Politics will discuss the potential of sociable media such as weblogs and social networking sites to democratize society through emerging cultures of broad participation.

May 5 and 6:
MOBILIZED! Exploring Mobile Media and Public Space
“Mobilized” will be an unusual event focused on mobile communications media practices and technologies and their implications for the nature of public space and social interaction. Mobilized! is an ‘unconference’ where the content of the sessions is driven and created by the participants in the spirit of the open source movement. It will be a convergence of students, designers, artists, scholars, activists, and media professionals and their passions. Through the Mobilized framework, an environment where mobile enthusiasts (and critics) can meet, share and learn from each other will emerge.

More info to come...