Upper Left Senator Patty Murray has a new campaign blog
, and it's off to a decent start. There's a staffer assigned to keeping it fresh - live blogging from the King County Convention, daily news summaries and a series of posts on the Senator's legislative accomplishments, so far. There are some elements missing, too, and a couple design issues I could quibble about, but it's there, and that's something.
I'm really wondering, though, why campaigns that want to have blogs don't get a blogger to run them, or at least help put them together. After looking at Patty's new effort, I revisited the campaign sites of other Washington State Congressional candidates and I'm frankly a little dismayed by what I found.
It seems to me that the major benefits of a campaign blog are timeliness and the potential for interactivity. The Murray blog has the first base covered, so far, but is pretty sadly lacking on the second. It's hard to get links in if you don't create links out, and without a blogroll or a single link in the posts to another blog, a blog gets a lot harder to find, and if folks can't find it, what's the point?
At least there's a comments option at the Murray blog, but the requirement for registration and logging into the campaign site seems like an unneccesary barrier to me. It's not unique, of course, and I understand the impulse to protect against trolls, but that's why you need someone keeping up with the thing, someone as obsessive as most of us that keep these things are.
Still, what the Murray campaign is doing is light years ahead of what most of the competition is up to. There are two other campaigns with links to blogs, or what they call blogs, as adjuncts to their main campaign sites. Alex Alben, a challenger for the open seat in WA-08, uses his 'blog'
as a vehicle for more or less monthly personal essays. A series of monthly essays just isn't a blog, not at all. No visible links, no blogroll, no comments and darn little content. It's nice that the candidate is personally involved, but he needs someone to fill in the blanks.
Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) is in similar straights. There's only one entry on his 'blog'
, an April 14 kick-off event announcement. It's posted (apparently) by the Congressman himself, which, again, is nice, but hardly enough.
Rep. Brian Baird (WA-03) doesn't have a blog as such, but he does have a front page
side bar labeled "Latest News." C'mon Brian, surely you've made some news since endorsing Kerry on February 2!
Overall the impression is that the candidates know they're supposed to be doing something with this internet thingie, and blogs are hot, but they haven't got a clue when it comes to the real how and why, and they aren't committing any resources to the effort.
Frankly, other than Patty Murray, who is
making a serious effort that could, with a tweak or two, become an excellent one, these folks would be better off dropping the links if they're not going to do the job. No regular reader of blogs is likely to bookmark what they're doing now.
Lesson? Want a blog? Get a blogger.