Jerome Armstrong had a post on the Dole Institute Blog last month where he compared the US blogosphere in 2004 to the blogosphere of today in order to point toward some of the possibilities for how blogs will be used in the 2008 campaign. Here’s a long short-version of the main differences that Armstrong points to (in his own words):
Size: The blogosphere, in 2007, is 100 times as big as it was at this time in the last cycle, in 2003. Today, the top 100 blogs on the liberal side are visited by over 10 million hard core democrats on a regular basis. By and large, it is the same majority that votes in primaries and caucuses that visit the partisan democratic-leaning blogosphere.
Diversity: In 2003, most of the blogs that were focused upon by the big media outlets as having an impact upon the Presidential contest were very political-focused blogs. Now, there are blogospheres within the blogosphere, and pretty much anyone can find a blog community on the topic of their choice. Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Gossip, Counter-culture, Gaming, the list goes on and on. It’s where people are on the internet, and it’s the job of campaigns to interact with them, as many of them are the low-information voters that are needed to win. In addition, the development of local, in-state, blogospheres have become vital to connect activism on the netroots to local grassroots action.
Staff: Last cycle, on the Democratic side for the primaries, only Dean really had an internet team that did such things as blogger outreach, rapid response through the blogs, and fundraising over the blogs. This cycle, it will be just the opposite, with whichever campaign that does not have an internet outreach effort to the blogosphere, sticking out like a sore thumb.
Multimedia: In the last cycle, blogs mainly relied upon text to get their point across.. When You Tube launched in the beginning of 2006, everything changed. Now, bloggers can easily upload videos or embed/link to them from their sites. It’s now becoming the same way with the advent of Blog Talk Radio shows that have the ability to allow multiple users in on a talk show. Blogs are becoming multimedia content producers, which gives them the potential to reach larger numbers of viewers than having just text readers alone.
I’ve not even mentioned fundraising, technology and organizing, but the above should give you a feel for what’s in store with the blogs and the 2008 presidential cycle.