It’s hard not to be impressed with the way that Wesley Clark’s campaign for the 2004 Presidential campaign has embraced weblogs. Going way beyond the now-requisite candidate weblog, the campaign registered, and (under Cam Barrett’s guidance) is using it to create smaller communities of supporters that are able both to coordinate their efforts locally and share them globally. There’s a Massachusetts for Clark weblog, an environmentalists for Clark weblog, a Clark fundraising weblog, and as many other ones as you could imagine; they all feed into the same content management system, which allows for communication between communities. The Community Network also allows for a uniform user experience when poking around all of the individual communities, establishing a clear brand that’s even stronger than many corporate identities on the web today. It’s so far beyond what any other candidate has implemented, and I’d be surprised if it isn’t significantly simplifying the communication within Clark’s campaign in the run for the White House.


Thanks Jason.

What we’ve done is just scraping the surface. We’ve got all kinds of things planned that will continue to help our supporters get the message out and “own” a small piece of the campaign for themselves.

Blogging is just one aspect. The larger umbrella is Community. And where there is organized Community, there is unlimited potential.

• Posted by: Cam on Nov 23, 2003, 11:48 PM

I eagerly await the site

(I kid! I kid!)

• Posted by: Matt on Nov 25, 2003, 12:16 AM

So, one way to embrace weblog community is simply to reach out to what exists already and point people to the existing community by linking to various weblogs, even if they’re not all supporters of your candidacy. This is what the Dean campaign has done from the beginning — they have the regular old blogroll filled with regular old weblogs that are not all suppoters of Howard Dean.

Another way is to work in a top-down fashion and impose a structure and community on people who are already supporters and reinvent the wheel in a more closed space.

(I support Dean, so my bias is towards the former, which I think displays a more inclusive and more grassrootsy approach while tipping a hat to the existing weblog community as well. Note that the Dean sidebar also lists a bunch of “… for Dean” sites and what not that were created using a variety of tools already in the weblog space. There’s also Deanspace, which I know little about but seems to be something to what the Clark people are doing, but is run by volunteers, and the Dean Issues Forum and various other independent, volunteer-organized web/Internet activities that do not depend on the campaign providing new, hierarchical technical infrastructure.)

Lots of ways to innovate… you can create new toys and make people use yours, or leverage existing toys into new and exciting communities. Or some combination. Upshot: a clever CMS with a “strong brand” is not the only way or even necessarily the best way to foster communication and community.

• Posted by: J from VJ on Dec 3, 2003, 7:38 AM
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