Posts Tagged ‘Blogs’

Madison Sandinista

December 3, 2009

I’d like to say the title says it all, but I don’t really know what the title means.

But I do know that James Sonneman was always a great writer with a great sense of humor, and that I should have put his new blog on my blogroll a few weeks ago when it was founded. Recently Sonneman has discussed food carts, discussed the importance of holding liberals to higher standards than conservatives, and, of course, diversity.

So check out UW’s newest student blog: Madison Sandinista.

Social media in Wisconsin politics

July 15, 2009

The importance of social networking services in politics and business cannot be overrated. OK, everything can be overrated. Even God.

However, from where we sit, the praise of Howard Dean’s “use of the internet!” to raise money seems pathetically antiquated. Blogs and social networks like facebook, twitter, and linked-in have become hugely influential in marketing candidates, as well as organizing supporters for campaigns. A campaign that neglects such tools is either irresponsible or has a comfortable enough lead to not bother.

Nowhere is the importance of open internet dialogue better displayed than in local politics. Ignored almost entirely by television and given only cursory attention by dying local newspapers, local pols often receive the most scrutiny from local blogs and other online discussion forums. Like I’ve written before, there is simply no better way to find out what happened at a City Council meeting than to read Brenda Konkel’s blog. Nowhere are issues of student government discussed more intensely than on the Critical Badger. In fact, the best analysis of local government from the local papers often comes on their blogs – which are usually entrusted to a recent college grad with a good understanding of the internets. Kristin Czubkowski at the Cap Times would be case and point, as would Bassey Etim, a former Herald editor who was recruited by the New York Times to work on their caucus blog.

Moreover, the social networks make it so much easier to market blogs and issues. Setting up a twitter and facebook account for the Sconz was easily the most productive decision I’ve made in getting traffic to this blog. While simply putting all my updates on facebook isn’t as helpful as say, a link from a big blogger, it helps to keep people in touch with the blog, even if they don’t click every time or visit every day. Simply claiming to write about local issues has gained me (very theoretical) followers from Madison lobbyists to gubernatorial candidates. And yes, unless I get a follow from Barbara Lawton, Jim Doyle, or Scott Walker, I will be forced to lend my extraordinarily heavy weight to Mark Neumann.

So it was good to see the Cap Times do a profile on the issue, discussing the implications on next year’s governor’s race.

“Around 11 in the morning, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker got online and did what his gubernatorial campaign manager had asked him to do several times a day. He reached out to his political supporters with a message that was simultaneously posted on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.”

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin, under new young leadership, has pushed aggressively into social media as well, adding Sam Roecker, a UW student and facebook friend of the Sconz, as a staff member specializing in social networks. Perhaps one of the most visible things Roecker did was create a youtube video for the party convention. Youtube is incredibly important – 15% of ALL internet traffic at any given time is on youtube.

The next step will be the creation of networks specifically for politicians, campaign workers and activists. Services like “ning” already allow people to create their own networks – for a field or cause as specific as transportation, human services or sex toys. I haven’t actually discovered the sex toys one yet.

What these services do is merely expand what the communications revolution started with the telephone, the radio and the television. They make the country and the world smaller. They will allow campaigns to have a larger pool of applicants and will open a whole nation of campaigns up to young activists and consultants.

Note to the readers

July 9, 2009

Hey everyone. I’d just like to touch base with everyone “in” the Sconz. And yes, “the Sconz” does refer to a certain Midwestern state.

The readership is steadily increasing – we’re consistently getting over 200 readers a day, which I’m pretty happy about considering how new this blog is. I’ve gotten some much appreciated links from other locals, including Zach from Blogging Blue, who gave me one of my first. Actually, Brenda Konkel criticizing my early departure from the City Council meeting (I’m not going to call it the Madison Common Council) drove TONS of traffic here. She has A LOT of readers. Too bad she doesn’t have comments on her blog.

On the subject of comments – please feel free to leave them, even if you don’t have anything particularly important or controversial to say. It gets the dialogue going. I’ll try to orient my posts toward comments more in the future, perhaps with more questions to the reader.

Also, I’ve grown tired of tagging posts with “scientology,” “miley cyrus,” and “viagra.” There are certainly more popular topics, such as Michael Jackson, however, there’s no reason to bother attracting a bunch of MJ nuts to a blog about Madison/Wisconsin politics. Unless of course I combine him with some other topic, like Madison, or Wisconsin. Any suggestions on effective tags would be greatly appreciated. And also, any suggestions on good local blogs that are not on my blog roll would be welcome as well. I have been far too lazy in my research of the local/state blogosphere.

Bryon Eagon’s blog

June 25, 2009

I was the first commenter on Bryon Eagon’s new blog. Eagon is a student alderman representing Madison’s 2nd district 8th district (my very own).

It would be very much appreciated if more Common Council members started blogging. That way I wouldn’t be dependent on Brenda Konkel for news on the happenings of that lot. Nothing against Brenda but her devotion to her work has sometimes led her to report each meeting, rather than analyze it. Ald. Blank sets his drink down, clears his throat, and asks if anybody has change for a 5 – discussion on iced tea ensues.

Eagon admits that he still hasn’t mastered the blogosphere’s “set of tubes,” but he does have a blackberry and a twitter account, which is connected to the blog. That makes things so much easier, and I realize that I should do the same. NOTE: I do not have a blackberry – I am still a man of the people.

Update: Kristin Czubkowski asks us who from city government we want to see blogging. She suggests Ald Jeb Sanborn, a “libertarian-leaning conservative.” The void that most obviously needs to be filled is that of the “fascist-leaning conservative,” which of course is filled by David Blaska in the Dane County blogosphere. By the way, I am honored by Blaska’s response to my heaps of praise on his anti-sagged pants cause.

Note to the readers

June 17, 2009

Hey all loyal Sconz readers. It’s been a good run so far. Apparently posting about Wando’s was the best thing that ever happened to the site – it got by far the most clicks of any post since I started the blog three weeks ago. The Sconz is getting a fair amount of traffic but I would like to encourage more of you to leave comments – even if it’s inane and irrelevant.

Also, in a transparent attempt to increase traffic on the blog I will be tagging every post with “viagra,” “Miley Cyrus” and  the “Church of Scientology.” My apologies to Rafael Palmeiro and Tom Cruise.

Wisconsin Dems: The party of new media

June 15, 2009

Did it really take this long for them to get it?

Hall said he wants to improve the Web sites of the county parties to make it easier for people to join and get involved. Some county parties do not have sites and others are outdated, he said.

Well if they didn’t get it before they certainly will after electing the youngest party chair in the country.

Wisconsin Democrats used their state convention to show off their plans to use new forms of media to reach voters.

Using social media to reach voters is a top priority of Mike Tate, a 30-year-old strategist who was elected party chairman on Saturday.

“That means actively using Facebook, Twitter, making sure we have a YouTube channel we’re posting videos to, and making Democratic figures available for interviews with bloggers,” he said.

Earlier this year, the state party hired UW-Madison student Sam Roecker, 20, as its first “new media intern.” Roecker said he has spent the last three months working on Web ads and improving the party’s presence on Facebook, Twitter and the photo-sharing site Flickr.

Way to get the guy’s hopes up:

Tate said he is considering whether to make Roecker’s position paid.

Pay the man! Hell, maybe he’ll even drop out of college for it, like Tate and practically everybody else at the DPW seemed to do, at least when I interned there. Granted, what’s sad is not dropping out of college to work in politics, but rather going back after working as a politico for years and taking introductory poli sci courses.

The attitude change towards new media, especially blogs and social networks like facebook, is astounding. Rather than dismissing them as gossip centers for pre-teen girls, there are now books galore discussing their importance for business and government, among other things. I remember the rolled eyes I encountered just four years ago when I was doing an internship for Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) the summer before my senior year of high school. It’s not as if I expected the octagenarian senator himself to understand the significance of “blogspot” and “wordpress,” but even the forty-something head of the office seemed to think local papers were the only key to local support.