Candidates fail to realise the potential impact of blogging

Earlier this year The Bivings Report released a study about the way that Senators used blogs in the 2006 Senatorial Campaign. Since the study was conducted many of the candidates running in the November election have added blogs to their websites.

Originally the study found that 23% of the candidates had blogs on their websites. After the shrinking of the candidate pool (many candidates dropped out after losing their primaries) and the addition of a few new blogs, this number has increased to 41%. 31% of incumbents now have blogs and 50% of challengers offer blogs on their sites. Further, 34% and 50% of Republicans and Democrats, respectively, are now offering blogs on their sites. In our original study, 20% and 27% of republicans and democrats had blogs.

A list of all the candidates that used blogs can be found here.

According to Erin Teeling of The Bivings Report the increase in the percentage of candidate blogs does not reflect what was her first reaction to the survey, that politicians were starting to catch on to the idea that blogging is a personal and efficient way to reach out to voters without the filter of mainstream media.

A closer look at the content and the style adapted on the blogs shows that most of the candidates are simply publishing the same top-down campaign material as they do in their websites, pamphlets and media releases.

This shows that many of the candidates still haven’t realized the potential and features that blogs offer as a communication tool.

However, there are some blogs that do stand out from the rest. Ned Lamont operates what Telleing refers to as a ‘real’ blog - and this does not come as a surprise.

Ned Lamont has done what other candidates have failed to do: Include the ‘real’ bloggers, the netroots; the people that understand and know how the blogosphere works.

Ned Lamont has earlier received help from A-list left bloggers like Matt Stoller of Mydd and Stirling Newberry from The Agonist and TPM Café. His current blog is run by netroot experts Aldon Hynes, Charles Monaco, David Sirota and Tim Tagaris.

Perhaps the findings of the study tells us that is going to take longer than the 2008 election before candidates will fully understand the potential impact that blogging and online campaigning can have.