thinking about blog coverage ... your thoughts?

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Jon Pincus

Oct 30, 2008, 12:06:13 AM10/30/08
i'm working on a blog post with both VSWiki and TVR updates (tentatively titled "Wikis saving democracy: and then there were three") and am as usual looking at information diffusion.  Before blogging I wanted to run this by folks and see what you think ...

Back in late July in Towards a rebirth of freedom:  activism on social networks, part 1 I commented about Get FISA Right
It’s also interesting to look at who is and isn’t picking up the story. Sites at the intersection of technology and politics are all over the story: techPresident, with Nancy Scola’s regular updates in her Daily Digests as well as Carlo’s and Micah’s posts; Wired’s Threat Level with an article by Ryan Singel as well as two from Sarah; for that matter, Jack and Jill Politics is known among other things for the Clinton Attacks Obama wiki....

On the other hand pure technology sites, the “web 2.0″ bloggers have largely passed the story by — ReadWriteWeb, TechCrunch, Robert Scoble, etc.
Looking at TVR's coverage -- Mashable, etc. -- it's clearly jumped over that hump ... in a way that VSWiki hasn't.  My guess is that this is largely due to the technologists involved, who are part of the web 2.0 community.  [This is an interesting challenge from the perspective of a site like VSWiki that's using the technology but isn't primarily trying to involve technologists.]  One way or another, it's huge progress.

On the other hand another gulf is still proving a problem for both of us.  From September's Reflections: what I learned during my summer vacation:
The gulfs between the progressive blogosphere and others is certainly a challenge for blog/social network activists.  First of all, there’s a lot of anti-Facebook and anti-social network sentiment — Paul Rosenberg’s We’re So Lame on OpenLeft discusses this in more detail.
Neither TVR nor VSWiki has gotten a lot of pickup in the progressive blogosphere.  This is really bizarre when you think about it, because it's exactly the kind of thing that should appeal: civil-liberties based, grassroots, new technology; and from their partisan perspective, likely to benefit Obama and Democrats in the 2008 race.  What gives?  They're certainly talking a lot about voting-related issues!  Is it really just anti-social network sentiment, or are other things going on as well?



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Tracy Viselli

Oct 30, 2008, 12:22:24 AM10/30/08
Unfortunately, I think your general assessment is correct--Twitter is sexier for the social media crowd. I was able to get my social media contacts interested in TVR. Its almost like Wikis are seen as old school--too utilitarian maybe ;-). On the other hand, my blogging contacts from BlogHer and other women's groups have been fairly eager to support both projects.

One reason the more political people may not be jumping on in droves is because people are just so busy--they are choosing projects (or not choosing new ones).

I am holding out for a post from Natasha Chart tomorrow on a couple of the big Netroots sites.
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Jon Pincus

Oct 30, 2008, 12:46:08 AM10/30/08
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining that TVR's getting more coverage than VSWiki with the tech crowd.  I think it's a great thing ... and yeah, you're probably right: with TVR, the technology is the story, but that's not the case any more in the social computing crowd with wikis.

In terms of the political stuff, i'm not sure it's just that people are too busy.  Take this post from the FDL home page -- ... great post, and it leads with election protection information which is fantastic.   it also has two other links to voting-related stories and asks "what's up with early voting where you are"; and any of these would be great places to mention TVR.  There are 133 comments; no mention of TVR.  so ... people are finding the time to talk about voting issues, and discover stories to link to, but TVR (and VSWiki) aren't on their radar.


Sanford Dickert

Oct 30, 2008, 3:59:13 PM10/30/08
+1 on Tracy's assessment.  I have sent it to IPDI, to Politics Online and so on - but NO ONE is truly ready in the GOTV efforts right now to take on another idea.  I think they have their own programming that they are trying to stick to.  I would think that by spreading it amoungst the citizens and NOT the organizations.  There is a natural inertia this close to election day.


2008/10/30 Tracy Viselli <>
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