June 01, 2005
State party: maybe blogging isn't so great after all...?
About a month and a half ago, the state Democratic Party decided they'd try their hand at blogging. We thought, hey, great! State party joins the blogosphere, reaches out to the netroots, and all that! We added them to our Blogroll (see link at left!), and send them an email wondering whether they might reciprocate. No action yet on that front - but hey, that's OK! As long as we're all in this together, right?
Then a funny thing happened. As you will undoubtedly recall, a lot of folks were unhappy about the way the state party rammed through some controversial rules changes at the May convention. The state party blog put up a cheery post-convention post thanking everyone for their great work over the weekend, and promising to post the speeches as soon as they became available. But oops - the comments got a little embarrassing, either taking the party to task over the rules changes and demanding a better explanation than Jane Lane's dismissive comment in the Phoenix, or pointing out that most of the speeches had been posted on various websites within minutes of being delivered (and in some cases actually reprinting the whole speeches in the comments). The post still has not been updated with links to the speeches.
Nothing for a week. Then up popped the next, and so far last, post on the state party's blog, which reads as follows:
Pardon the lack of posts and the dust recently, as well as slow updates to massdems.org. We are in the process of some reorganization which has taken up much of our time.
We have some exciting details and news coming. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
That was on May 24, over a week ago (an eon in blogotime). Must be some reorg they've got going over there (and, interestingly, comments are not allowed on that post).
What to make of this? Is the party really engaged in some massive reorganization? (Do they have enough staff to actually have a reorganization?) Or have they decided that, as at the convention, it can sometimes be unpleasant to hear what the grassroots are really thinking, and maybe it would be better if they didn't have to listen?
We await the answer.
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Interesting to see the same party politics-as-usual happening between blogging and top party brass here as on the national stage (with dKos, etc).
Frankly, if the state Democratic party can't take a little criticism from concerned activist members about a very important issue (such as the rules changes at the convention), they really aren't for democracy, are they? I mean, democracy is messy, argumentative, active, and above all, not uniform. It seems to me (and this is not just here in MA) that the Democrats are used to their top-down structure and that has no place for the grassroots. Which is a great way to say to the world that they are uninterested in winning elections ever again, whether that's the state house or the White House.
I too had noted the lack of posting, but your analysis was really good. I took them at their word (that they were busy) instead. Maybe they don't understand how fast blog-time runs?
If it is indeed the case that the state Dems don't want to hear from the grassroots, well, I hate to say it, but too damn bad. We're here, and we're aiming to stay. And make all the changes to the party necessary to both win the state house and whip the Democrats back into the "party of the people" that they should be.
Posted by: Lynne | Jun 1, 2005 10:07:17 PM
I don't think they (meaning the proverbial powers that be, or think they be) understand where much of the political blogger audience comes from. When you read Kos or Atrios, you are reading the hyper engaged people. Even scaling that back to the state level, I think those of us that contribute to blogs like this are pretty engaged in the process. Of the 2500 or so delegates a couple of weeks ago, how many do you think have written in a blog? And the step further I'll go on that is that the Dems who are very engaged, are not at all enthralled with what the party has done at the state level lately.
Posted by: Steven Leibowitz | Jun 1, 2005 10:33:13 PM
I've exchanged brief emails with the webmaster at massdems and he seems like he gets that the party blog should be a two-way conversation. I'm not ready to chalk this up to a grand conspiracy yet, but if they do end up shutting down the blog, I'll take it as another signal that the state party can't handle any criticism.
I know a week is a long time in the blog world, but consider that they had this blog created and almost ready about a month before announcing it to the public. I wouldn't be surprised if it were another few weeks before we saw changes to the site.
Posted by: sco | Jun 2, 2005 9:42:30 AM
Why do you care?
The state dem party is irrelevant. Really. What power or influence does it really have.
The fact that the only state legilators who attended the convention were those running for higher office in 06 speaks volumes. VOLUMES!
As I said before, the state party is about Phil Johnston and his merry men retaining power. The same thing is happening in Elks clubs and PTAs all across the country. Only important within their own group, and the officials are "big shots".
Goung back to another old point of mine. Political web sites are only viewed by oppnes and candidate's family. You were bothring these guys on their own blog. Why would they continue to allow that?
My advice..either forget the state dem party and go around them, Or...take it over. Don't make friends with Phil Johnston, organize. Get your own people in as delegates, and vote him out.
Because right now, the party is so so so so so irrelevant.
Posted by: The troll | Jun 2, 2005 9:45:40 AM
Well, I'm not ready to be as cynical as the troll. Actually, here is my theory. Someone got the bright idea that the MassDems should have a blog. Now, Phil and Company REALLY don't know what a blog is! When he announced it at the State Committee meeting he was like a little kid...wheee! I'm being 21st century relevant. Or maybe it's like that cartoon where the puppy is all excited and says to the other dog "Hey! I'm going to the vet to get TUTORED!!!" I'm sure the webmaster understands it and of course we Dems are oh so hoping that young people flock to the party. But they don't have a clue about what real dialogue is (and I don't consider myself a radical dissident, just a dissident.)and may not in this lifetime.
Posted by: Pmbakid | Jun 4, 2005 6:54:29 AM
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