Political candidates advertising on *blogs*

Kos covers an interesting bit that I think foreshadows how progressive advocacy will do media in the future — buying ads on political blogs.

Ben Chandler is trying to wrest a House seat from the GOP in Kentucky’s Feb 17 special election….. The Chandler campaign has started advertising via BlogAds on a whole slew of progressive blogs. And in less than a day (about 10 hours, actually) online donations had already covered the cost of the ad buy.

With Pew Internet research reports showing that an increasing percentage of Americans — especially 18-34 year olds — get their news from online sources, and independent journalists (blogs) providing increasingly high-quality and increasingly visible political coverage, advertising on political blogs is a cheap and effective way to reach the “highly engaged” audience. True, it can’t swing the larger mass of sympathetic Americans… but I suspect the bang-for-buck ratio is high, especially in the early days of a campaign.

If I was seeking the Democratic slot for Washington state governor (Ron Sims, Christine Gregiore, and Phil Talmadge, you know who you are), I would serriously think about dumping a couple grand into some blog advertising to see if I could build some name recognition/momentum in the online-and-active crowd.

Slouching toward Big Brother

Slouching toward Big Brother is a nice opinion piece by computer security expert Bruce Schneier.

We need to weigh each security countermeasure. Is the additional security against the risks worth the costs? Are there smarter things we can be spending our money on? How does the risk of terrorism compare with the risks in other aspects of our lives: automobile accidents, domestic violence, industrial pollution, and so on? Are there costs that are just too expensive for us to bear? Unfortunately, it’s rare to hear this level of informed debate. Few people remind us how minor the terrorist threat really is. Rarely do we discuss how little identification has to do with security, and how broad surveillance of everyone doesn’t really prevent terrorism. And where’s the debate about what’s more important: the freedoms and liberties that have made America great or some temporary security? … When you put the police in charge of security, the trade-offs they make result in measures that resemble a police state.

I also noted (thanks to the Agonist), coverage of a recent speech by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in which she warns that people who are concerned about the loss of civil liberties to “anti-terrorism” need to be more active.

Ginsburg, speaking to a group of women’s rights lawyers, was asked if people’s rights were in danger. “On important issues, like the balance between liberty and security, if the public doesn’t care, then the security side is going to overweigh the other,” she said. That would change, Ginsburg said, “if people come forward and say we are proud to live in the USA, a land that has been more free, and we want to keep it that way.”

To me, this is one of the most important reasons why Ashcoft — and the rest of the Bush Administration — has to go. And it’s why I’m not voting for John Kerry, who supported the PATRIOT act.

Writing for the Living Web

Michael Gilbert pointed me to 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web by Mark Bernstein. It’s a great hunk of practical advice on writing for the web — which is a far more dynamic and ephemeral medium than books, reports and other printed things.

Michael summarized the tips as follows:

Write for a reason. Write often. Write tight. Make good friends. Find good enemies. Let the story unfold. Stand up, speak out. Be sexy. Use your archives. Relax!

Good stuff indeed. Every person who writes for the web should read this.

Is Social Software Bad for Campaigns?

In the short essay Many-to-Many: Is Social Software Bad for the Dean Campaign? Internet pundit Clay Shirky dares to ask the provocative question of whether the Dean campaign’s reliance on social software tools has created a great sound and fury that doesn’t actually deliver results at the polls.

While it may still be a wee bit early to write the post-mortem on the Dean campaign (‘ja think?), Shirky is right to question the assumption that online action equals real-world activism. Continue reading Is Social Software Bad for Campaigns?

I’m funding independent campaign coverage; won’t you join me?

I just chipped in a few bucks to support the fantastic independent coverage that the DailyKos team is providing. If you value independent grassroots political journalism, this is an excellent time to show it. The eyes of the Web are on Kos, and, like or not, dollars show support.

Here’s what Kos had to say…

Hey guys, no one has asked me to do this, but I’ll do it anyway. Both Tom and Jerome are on the road, providing reports, on their own dime. That includes both Iowa and New Hampshire. I’m going to open up my tip jar. All donations will be split 50/50 to help offset their travel expenses.
If the response is good, it’ll be easier for me to talk them into covering other primary states. Update: (5:30 p.m.) I don’t know exact travel costs, but I’m guessing about $700 per contest, or $1,400 for Jerome and Tom each for a total target of $2,800. That may be too much or too little, but it’s as good a target as any. So far, in less than an hour, you guys have chipped in an amazing $899.