The 2004 Election
Monday, August 11, 2003 by Dave Winer.
We're having a weblog conference at Harvard Law School on October 4.
It's probably the first academic conference on weblogs, but it certainly won't be the last.
We're going to look at how weblog technology will be used in politics, business, journalism, the law, medicine, engineering and education.
Because we're coming into a political year, 2004, when the US will elect a new president, I'm focusing on the role weblogs will play in the campaign.
Over the weekend I scanned the candidate websites and put together a list of candidate schedules that say where the candidates are going to be when.
By making the list public, it'll be easier for people with weblogs to visit the candidates and tell us what they learned. I don't think there have been any such reports yet, if you know of any please send me a link.
There are plenty of candidates with weblogs, they are mostly pointless, dull and uninteresting, now. It will get interesting when voters with weblogs make their presence felt with the candidates, and then (get this) invent new candidates.
None of the existing candidates have met any of us, really, and if they did we'd probably just get a pat on the head and a photo op. Look at the candidate posing with the cute blogger. Dean is the first candidate to get a glimmer of a clue, but he's still playing the old game of marketing to voters and getting dollars so he can buy TV commercials. The new game is the voter-as-journalist, writing what they see, and sharing it with anyone who cares. Doing the job that the press no longer does. Then the next level is voters as candidates, when they find all the candidates look really shitty without the airbrushing that commercial television adds, that weblogs subtract so well. Digital cameras keep getting cheaper too. Then, after a while, and who knows what it will look like, we will have voters as voters, informed and opinionated, with the opinions expressed and the minds involved. This is the Web I was writing about in 1994, 1995 and 1996. We took a detour to appease the greed of Wall Street and SIlicon Valley, but now we're firmly back on track.
If you want an idea of what the new game looks like, check out the cast of characters in the California recall. Look at all the citizens participating in the electoral process. Everyone told us they don't care. Heh. And even that's just a hint of a glimpse. Government of the people, by the people and for the people, for better or worse, is what's coming. That's my stake in the ground. All this may happen in the next few months.