Wednesday, April 18, 2007

MA-05 Candidates and the Blogs

Dick Howe pointed out yesterday an article in the Lowell Sun on how candidates were using the Internet in their quest to be the next Congressman from the fifth district. The article focuses on the candidates' fundraising and web presence, but also name-drops two of our local blogging heroes (without the URLs, I noticed). The part I particularly enjoyed was this:

Tsongas, Eldridge and Donoghue have all turned to the popular, liberal blog Blue Mass. Group to post introductions of themselves personally, a way to speak directly and unfiltered to voters.

Those three candidates, as well as O'Brien and Finegold, have also given lengthy interviews to bloggers, which were then posted to sites like Blue Mass. Group and Left in Lowell.
I wonder if they are talking about these interviews! This is probably as close as I'll ever get to a mention in the Lowell Sun, so I guess I'll take it.

More seriously, though, one thing that often goes unremarked upon in articles about where people get their information about candidates online is the Google factor. My server logs show that people have been finding my blog by searching for the candidates, not just for the fifth district seat, but for all the special elections this spring. As of this posting, my interviews with the fifth district candidate appear on the first page in a Google search on their names. When candidates talk to bloggers, they're not just communicating with blog readers, but with anyone who searches the web for them. This is particularly true for local candidates, because they are less likely to have widespread information about them online, and therefore any individual post by even a small-time blogger (like myself) can become very visible thanks to Google.

For some advice on how candidates can engage the blogosphere, check out this post I wrote last March which has some easy guidelines.