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2008 candidates and the blogosphere

Over at the Hotline, they've got a great round-up on what aspiring presidential candidates are doing to "dip their pinkies" into the blogosphere.

Key thoughts:

Real blogging is hard. It requires the candidate's staff to accept some measure of unpredictability and to relinquish message control. Many '08 hopefuls have therefore opted for the option of calling a list of press releases a "blog," which will not endear them to purists.

Of course, nobody should give a damn about purists. Instead, campaigns should worry about their supporters, the activists, potential donors - in short, the audience. And the point is still true: A real blog, which promotes real conversation, is a great way to create and grow your base.

Senator Bill Frist's VOLPAC blog isn't censoring negative comments, and neither should you.

Take note: VOLPAC does not censor negative comments. One reader bemoaned the GOP's Iraq war strategy. "Democrats are re-writing history while the Republican Senate helps them write our obituaries...." Kudos to Frist and VolPAC for keeping the comments open.

Remember, you haven't hit the big time until the trolls start bothering your readers. Celebrate the appearance of trolls: they prove that you're reaching new people, growing your audience, providing incisive content, and irritating the bad guys. Trolls also fire up your audience. (Aaaah, I remember fondly the day that right-wing talk-jock Lars Larson showed up at Kulongoski for Governor. Our traffic exploded.)

Final thought from the Hotline:

Not to define "blog" too narrowly, but wethinks a daily posting or press release in a shell with the word "blog" on it does not quite a blog make. (See, for example, Sen Joe Biden's Unite Our States "blog and Sen. Evan Bayh's All America PAC "blog"; and even Newt Gingrich's "blog")

Amen, brothers and sisters.