What Clout Do Bloggers Really Have?
“Why Bloggers Can't Win the White House” headlines Ad Age.
With the “netroots” taking credit for derailing, at least for phase one, Joe Lieberman's re-election bid, there's plenty of bravado these days amongst liberal bloggers. But this article throws some cold water on the netroots celebration.
Essentially two points of view.
From Michael Bassik (from John Kerry's 2004 online agency of record):
“Campaigns and advocacy groups still want to see the internet as a cash register. Most campaigns allocated about one-tenth of 1% of their budgets in 2004, and there are no indications that that trend is going to change in 2006.”
From Arianna Huffington (pundit & founder of Huffington Post.com):
“Netroots is not about a website or fundraising. It's an authentic and passionate conversation, and it has proven its ability to affect American politics.”
Sounds like an “old guard” versus “new guard” debate. The former add that the percentage of folks actually reading blogs with news/political content is still low. The latter argue it's the quality and intensity of engagement of the netroots that makes the difference. The former argue for message control. The latter say “the people” will set the agenda.
We're betting on the new guard!