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Daily Digest: 5/14/07

BY Joshua Levy | Monday, May 14 2007

The Web on the Candidates

  • Does the performance of a candidate's web page help determine their online effectiveness and the amount of online donations they bring in? Katherine Noyes at TechNewsWorld reports that 62% of respondents to a "nationwide survey" "said they'd abandon the online donation process after two unsuccessful attempts, and 67 percent said they would tell other people if the donation process didn't work well," and "of the 43 percent of survey respondents who had already visited or who planned to visit candidate Web sites, 58 percent said they believe there will be a correlation between the candidate with the best-performing Web site and the ultimate winner of the presidential race." However, these stats ignore the actual content of the web sites -- are candidates blogging, using video, or Twittering? Are they using social networking sites? While a site's poor performance can undeniably aggravate users and discourage them from donating, there also other online factors to consider when judging a candidates' online presence.

The Candidates on the Web

  • John Edwards has launched a new web site called Support the Troops. End the War, with an overlong url to boot, that is calling for Americans to... support the troops and end the war with a series of actions over Memorial Day weekend. The site begins, "As citizens, we honor and support our troops for their service and sacrifice. As Americans, we are blessed by that sacrifice and support, which keeps us safe and keeps us strong. As patriots, we call on our government to support our troops in the most important way it can - by ending this war and bringing them home," and provides 10 things you can do over Memorial Day weekend toward that end. Otherwise, the site is mostly a place to gather email addresses, though it also provides a way to search for Memorial Day activities near you. However, I live in one of the most populated spots in the country, and the nearest activity ("Donation") was over nine miles away, followed by an activity ("Call/email President Bush and your Congressional Representatives") almost 29 miles away.
  • Progressive blogger Matt Browner-Hamlin has joined the Chris Dodd campaign. In addition to blogging and adding content to Dodd's site, he'll be traveling with Dodd around the country and posting videos from the trail, and he says they're "going to be doing exciting things with live streaming web video that will provide viewers an insiders look into what Senator Dodd is doing," which probably means they'll continue to experiment with Ustream.tv, a service that enables embedding live video feeds into any website. He'll also be posting Twitter updates on the Dodd homepage. With Browner-Hamlin and Tim Tagaris sharing blog/web duties, Dodd now has a robust web team -- his web presence is about to get much more dynamic.
  • Not only is Chris Dodd Twittering, but he's featuring his tweets in a scrolling news feed on his front page. Messages like "Working on website redesign,"Dodd prepared for an exciting trip to Iowa this week," "Senators Dodd & Feingold set to introduce legislation to end war," are prominently featured at the top of the page. The feed will be updated by the Dodd campaign staff (it looks like Matt Browner-Hamlin will be doing the posting) and by Dodd himself, who will contribute from the road.
  • Following in the footsteps of Ron "I've been dugg" Paul, Mike Gravel has entered the confines of James Kotecki's dorm room. It's a pretty serious interview, with Gravel talking to Kotecki about a host of policy issues including the war in Iraq and the war on drugs - both of which he wants to end. Kotecki will be posting the full 30-minute interview on his YouTube channel. While that might be a little long for many YouTubers' tastes, it's refreshing to see some actual, meaty political discussion occurring on the site.
  • Election Geek reports that, following John McCain and Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson will be giving a talk at the Google offices today. We'll look out for the video as soon as it becomes available.

In Case You Missed It...

Michael Whitney writes that John Edwards is taking a big step for mobile advocacy by using an ad to ask supporters to text "Iraq" to 30644 to show their support for Edwards' Iraq platform.

The Personal Democracy Forum conference is this Friday and the array of people and topics we're tackling has never been more compelling. Go here for a quick look: http://www.personaldemocracy.com/conference/ataglance