Comparing early Obama, Clinton, Edwards web presences

With a year and a half to go in the ’08 cycle, the idea of presidential candidates using the Internet is big news today, apparently. Eugene Robinson has a clever column today in the Washington Post, in which he compares the web sites of Clinton, Edwards, and Obama. I think he got it mostly right; his column is definitely worth the read. Over the course of the campaign, it will be interesting to see if these same attributes continue to define the web sites, or if strategies shift over time. A second question is whether these differences reflect substantive or tactical differences in the candidates or the campaigns at large. And, most important, whether these differences have any impact on who becomes president.

4 thoughts on “Comparing early Obama, Clinton, Edwards web presences

  1. John,

    It would be nice to see where all these blog friendly Politicians stand on DRM and IP generally. lots of bloggers get irate when disney and others enforce copyright, yet I don’t see many of them using their blogging power to put pressure on for reform.

    If folks that own guns have the NRA, Then surely bloggers should have a lobby too? Perhaps the EFF could play this role?

    I’d love to see one of the celeb bloggers who hang out on jets with the candidates ask, “So whats your position on DRM and DMCA?”

    I’m not American,but what happens in the US impacts us all around the world.

    more here.
    http://theotherthomasotter.wordpress.com/2007/01/17/social-media-politics-copyright-blogswarm-and-activism/

  2. I too read the WaPo column with interest. I’ve checked out Obama, Edwards, and Clinton on the web, and note the lack of excitement and enthusiasm that was part of the Dean campaign’s website last time around. I attribute this to two factors:

    1. It’s early yet (although I don’t think it’s ever too early to build team and community);
    2. All three candidates are using their (slick) websites as places to put policy statements. Sure Edwards invites comments, but still it’s mostly his policy statements and the comments of others. The website isn’t yet the gathering place that the Dean site was.

    But, more important, really, to me is whether Political Net 2008 has solved the Dean campaign’s problem of 2004: that building a grassroots campaign is by and large a horizontal, community-building exercise, in which a supporter in Massachusetts is thrilled to meet and build team with a supporter in Nevada on the candidate’s website. Team building, community building, and, yes, fundraising across time and space, are all made easy via a sophisticated and dynamic campaign website.

    BUT, winning a primary is a command-and-control, top-down, vertical exercise and, to me, the big challenge is how to turn your wide and excited (horizontal) community into an effective, disciplined, door knocking, leafleting, phone-banking, GOTV machine when it comes necessary in the last week/10-days before the polls open.

    Case in point was Dean, who was raising money hand over fist and had achieved rock-star status all across America via his web presence, couldn’t get supporters to the Iowa caucuses — or NH voters to the polls — in sufficient numbers to capitalize on his web presence and front-runner status.

    I think Deval Patrick came pretty darn close to understanding both the horizontal and vertical uses for information technology. ‘Corse, he was blessed by personal charisma and vision in addition to campaign skill, and that reinforces and drives people to a website.

    I’ll wait to see how 2008 presidential candidates measure up online. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the candidate I’m supporting gets it right. I hope my candidate, for instance, is talking to Joe Trippi, Kos, and, yes, John Walsh.

  3. I too read the WaPo column with interest. I’ve checked out Obama, Edwards, and Clinton on the web, and note the lack of excitement and enthusiasm that was part of the Dean campaign’s website last time around. I attribute this to two factors:

    1. It’s early yet (although I don’t think it’s ever too early to build team and community);
    2. All three candidates are using their (slick) websites as places to put policy statements. Sure Edwards invites comments, but still it’s mostly his policy statements and the comments of others. The website isn’t yet the gathering place that the Dean site was.

    But, more important, really, to me is whether Political Net 2008 has solved the Dean campaign’s problem of 2004: that building a grassroots campaign is by and large a horizontal, community-building exercise, in which a supporter in Massachusetts is thrilled to meet and build team with a supporter in Nevada on the candidate’s website. Team building, community building, and, yes, fundraising across time and space, are all made easy via a sophisticated and dynamic campaign website.

    BUT, winning a primary is a command-and-control, top-down, vertical exercise and, to me, the big challenge is how to turn your wide and excited (horizontal) community into an effective, disciplined, door knocking, leafleting, phone-banking, GOTV machine when it comes necessary in the last week/10-days before the polls open.

    Case in point was Dean, who was raising money hand over fist and had achieved rock-star status all across America via his web presence, couldn’t get supporters to the Iowa caucuses — or NH voters to the polls — in sufficient numbers to capitalize on his web presence and front-runner status.

    I think Deval Patrick came pretty darn close to understanding both the horizontal and vertical uses for information technology. ‘Corse, he was blessed by personal charisma and vision in addition to campaign skill, and that reinforces and drives people to a website.

    I’ll wait to see how 2008 presidential candidates measure up online. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the candidate I’m supporting gets it right. I hope my candidate, for instance, is talking to Joe Trippi, Kos, and, yes, John Walsh.

  4. I’d agree with Len. Building a successful, motivated team is one thing, but a successful team needs a strong leader. Executing the teams objectives are are as important if not more than merely building a great team. For if the team doesn’t meet it’s goal, all you have in the end is a great team that failed.

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