I’ve been trying to get some resources in line before advertising this blog, and the best I have found so far is an online report, The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0.
From the very first graf of the introduction:
Moving Toward Citizen Engagement in a Virtual Age
Writing in Foreign Policy, Drezner and Farrell (2004) hit upon an amazing reality of modern life. Today, unlike at any time in the advance of history, people simply no longer need to leave their houses to participate in a revolution. With the advent of new technologies, new means can be used to foster online engagement, in both the individual and collective sense, and to create new dialogues between
government and citizens (Reece, 2006).
The thing runs 98 pages and showcases many examples of blogging. I was quite happy to see a list of mayors who blog, because I am trying to build a list of elected officials who blog. I immediately dived in to add the blogs that were listed individually to my list of links.
The thing I find interesting is that more than half of the links are gone … and that’s only a year after the report came out. What this tells me is that there is a lot of turnover among elected officials, which of course is not a surprise, but also a lot of turnover in blogging. Why, I wonder? Looking forward to learning more about the whole topic.
A post by author Mike Masnick at this link on techdirt describes a fuss in Congress about an elected official’s use of the Internet to get involved what the author describes as a partisan battle. It’s great that the congressman himself weighs in on the comments section of this blog. What a lively discussion.
I’m intrigued by one of the comments from a reader at the end. If I remove some of the partisan elements, this is what the person wrote:
“Judging from the time he spends twitting & videoing & raising campaign funds,& meeting with oil companies/driller/producers that”I proudly represent” one can see that he has little time to read and comprehend legislation & regulatory issues. Once he does, perhaps he will back down and apologize.”
This reminds me of a theme that came up in my little controversy. Is the time spent communicating via Twitter or a blog worth it when the elected official could be spending the time studying an issue? To me, communication is crucial to the understanding of government. And yet an official can always be better educated. It’s a good question, and perhaps there’s no easy answer. It just feels odd to me that a person can be criticized for communicating, and I feel I myself need to understand better the root of the concern.
(It’s also worth reading the post, even though it and the comments are long, because clearly the federal rules about the use of the Internet in Congress are complicated…)
For this project, I have been compiling a list of other local elected officials who blog. Either there are not that many such blogs, or I am looking in the wrong places. I’ll keep at it. If you know of any blogs by local electeds, please let me know.
Along the path, I’ve found the occasional news story that shows how we are still learning .. and how sloppy handling of a local blog can even do damage. This story was both priceless .. and cautionary! As you can read, a city councilman deleted his blog, and someone else apparently took the blog name over. Yipes .. that made for a bad day.
After my recent brush with fame, thought I would see if it would make any sense to compose and collect a blog about elected officials who blog. Still putting it together, as you can see …