Monday, December 20, 2004

Blogging and Elections: A Final Thought

I’ve been reading a lot about the elections and the roles that blogging played this last time around. I’ve come to the personal conclusion that the blogs had a big impact on the election, but I don’t believe they changed or determined the outcome.

First of all, the bloggers provided a vast network of grass-roots information disseminators. Facts and opinions were shared. News stories broke and were then debated. Candidates themselves hosted blogs, even though most of those that I saw were handled by staffers rather than the actual candidates. It’s like there’s this big light that is shone on the elections and the candidates, and this time, the focus of that light got shifted. Instead of shining on and reflecting off of the major media outlets, it shifted a bit to focus more on the people. It was more than ever, a return to a people’s election.

But both sides caught on. Republicans, Democrats, everyone. Left, right, up, down, were all blogging. If only one side had been doing it, and that side had won decisively, then it would be easy to ascribe victory to blogging. We could say then that they had been the determining factor. But that wasn’t the case. Everybody did it, and it was a way narrow margin.

But I hope that the face of politics is forever changed. I hope that the voter-informing-voter trend grows. I think that leads to a more informed populace and that makes for (at the very least) more exciting election nights!

Mark Hansen

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