Thursday, January 29, 2004


Since the Dean fiasco (not the scream really; the primary losses) there's been speculation about whether the blogs did him in. A recent New York Times article warns:
Online political discussion has become so fragmented so quickly that some public policy scolds warn that the Internet is in danger of narrowing the spectrum of debate even as it attracts more participants to it. The same medium that allows people to peruse a near- infinite number of news sources also lets them pinpoint the ones they want and filter out the rest.
Kaye Trammell at so this is mass communication? disagrees:
If you start to read the blog on a daily basis, you start to form a relationship with it ... for the non-believers this can lead to persuasion.
What's more, she's attempting to empirically test this proposition! (She's a mass communication doctoral candidate so stop snickering.)

If she's right, then it seems to me non-campaign blogs are more likely to exert influence on unpersuaded visitors than campaign blogs. A campaign blog has an institutional voice; the non-campaign blogs are run by one or a few individuals and, over time, we get to know them and their quirks as we know the quirks of our friends and family. More conducive to a relationship than the group-run blogs, I'd guess. Although I'm not sure that finding out that the 13-year-old Atomizer (of Fraters Libertas) threatened a fellow Boy Scouts with a tent spike (immediately after having persuaded the scout to drop said spike and "fight fair") inclines me to get all lathered up about the Vikings.


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