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RybakThis is democracy democratic campaigning in action: rtrybakformayor.blogspot.com

Still working some kinks out, but it looks promising. I've been planning on approaching the Mayor with the idea of a weekly videoblog, but I haven't had time.

The Pioneer Press article (posted in full below) has on odd statement: "But the use of blogs as an electoral tool is rare among politicians." Buh? Every presidential candidate had them. I think many (esp. urban?) politicans will have them, if they're smart and want to listen to the people they want to represent.

By the way? The first politician blogger, near as I can tell, was Minnesota State Rep. Ray Cox. He started in December 2002. Take that Howard Dean! Here's an MPR interview with Cox from March 2003, where he states he's using the blog as a governing tool.

Mayor Rybak launches re-election bid
Blog, online forum will aid campaign
Pioneer Press

To the surprise of few, Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak announced Sunday he is running for re-election.

But what is surprising is how Rybak plans to use the Internet to help connect with voters. Tonight, Rybak will unveil his campaign Web log, or blog, a part online diary and part forum that many credit with helping launch Howard Dean — temporarily — to the top of the race for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

Blogs are known as the refuge of amateur pundits. They feature topical commentary and are marked by free-flowing discussion between the blogger and his or her readers. Some, such as Instapundit.com or the Twin Cities' own Power Line, have risen to national prominence.

But the use of blogs as an electoral tool is rare among politicians.

"My hope with this campaign is that, using tools like the Internet and grass-roots organizations, we can build an organization that will not only help me get re-elected but continue to build a base for a new Democratic party," Rybak said after announcing his re-election bid Sunday at Franklin ArtWorks in Minneapolis.

John Palfrey, the executive director of the Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, said few politicians have embraced blogs. One reason, he speculated, is that they leave a permanent record, and politicians with higher ambitions might be afraid to write something that comes back to haunt them.

"Do you really want to leave a record?" Palfrey asked.

But Palfrey said blogs help candidates keep their finger on the pulse of the electorate. He also said they help bring party activists into the political process. But after the 2004 election — the first to see blogs used as part of national campaigns — the jury's still out on whether they help candidates win.

"They're sort of cool and fun, but they weren't necessarily effective in terms of turning into votes," Palfrey said.

Dean was the first widely known politician to put blogs to work in his campaign. Rybak — a former Internet consultant who served as Dean's state campaign chairman — has seen the results firsthand, and hopes to emulate Dean's success on his Web site, rtrybak.com.

"Because I came out of this world, it's pretty natural for me," Rybak said.

Rybak's foray into politics was linked with the Internet. During Bill Bradley's 2000 presidential run, Rybak was responsible for sending bulk e-mails to Bradley supporters. It is also where he met the campaign managers for his first mayoral run.

Dean used his blog both as a pulpit and as a way to connect with supporters, many who became fanatical supporters known as "Deaniacs."

"The campaign seemed much more accessible" as a result of the blog, said Steven Clift, chairman of the Twin Cities-based online political forum e-Democracy.org, which Rybak frequents.

Clift predicted that more politicians would get the blog bug as a way to connect more closely with supporters.

"I would predict that at least three-quarters of the (local) candidates who will win will have a political blog in the next election," Clift said.

But he said blogs don't necessarily lead to votes.

"It's more a sign that the campaign is effective than the blog being effective," Clift said. "What you tend to see is that allows the campaign to bring more people into the heart of the effort."

Rybak said he hopes to use his blog as a platform not only to announce key policy positions, but to help draft them. It's just an extension of what he already does, Rybak said, adding that he helped craft a Minneapolis smoking ban after trading a few hundred e-mails with constituents.

"I want to go to citizens when ideas are just being developed, float those thoughts, and hopefully have citizens make them better," Rybak said. "I'm very openly going to say that I want citizens to help me craft positions."

Rybak won office by defeating incumbent Sharon Sayles Belton in 2001. He already has one potentially strong challenger from within his party, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, who entered the race a month ago.

Rybak will seek the DFL endorsement in May but said he hasn't decided whether he will stay in the race if the party chooses another candidate. That contrasts with McLaughlin, who said he will drop out if he doesn't get the party's backing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Jason Hoppin can be reached at [email protected] or 651-228-2120.

January 31, 2005 at 12:31 PM in Local, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


New in the Gawker Media stable:
Apparently there's this cool thing called "Blogger"...

Lifehacker is authored by Gina Trapani, who is super awesome. I met Gina at the VloggerCon Blogumentary screening in Jakob's Tribeca loft. Here's a pic of Kottke and Gina while we waited for Jakob to come home and let us in.

Chuck introducing Blogumentary at the (secret) NYC Premiere

Somehow related: A bizarre photo of Meg Hourihan arresting a pantsless Choire Sicha, editor-overlord of the Gawker Media empire.

Nick Denton's annoncement.

Also launched: Gridskipper travel blog and five new MediaBistro blogs.

Enough blogs already!

January 31, 2005 at 11:39 AM in Blogumentary, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


DATE: Thursday, February 3, 2005
TIME: 5:30 PM - 8 PM
PLACE: Student Center - UMN St. Paul Campus Theater, lower level
DIRECTIONS: http://www.spsc.umn.edu/directions.php
SCHEDULE: 5:30 - 5:35: Welcome and Intro – Nora Paul
5:35 - 6:40: Blogumentary
6:40 - 7:00: Pizza break
7:00 - 8:00: Panel discussion - with Rex Sorgatz
Panelists: Chuck Olsen, blogumentarian
Dan Gillmor, author of "We the Media"
Krista Kennedy, rhetorician and blogger - Shane Nackerud, UThink coordinator

More info here. I believe this event is free and open to the public.

Check out a great podcast interview with Dan Gillmor by Halley's Comment.

  • Mother Jones review
  • View trailer

    January 29, 2005 at 10:51 AM in Blogumentary | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack



    ITEM! Citizen Journalist Steve Garfield, who was featured in TIME Magazine long before those other guys, has put my smiling drunken face on his new blog banner. I told Steve, if Vloggercon had been in Massachusetts we'd probably be married. And we might both be married to Rocketvixen Amanda Congdon. That road leads to a moral black hole, a world where SpongeBob locks us in his S&M dungeon and throws away the key. And Democrats rule the world! Mwahahahaha!

    ITEM! Starfire joined the videoblogging group. My worlds collide and explode. Hollis rulez.

    ITEM! I ended up on 89.3 yesterday flapping my yapper about blogs and videoblogs [MP3s]. I'm told they also played some of me praising Fimoculous Rex, but you'll just have to use your imagination for that one. Garrick van Buren's First Crack podcast talks about The Current.

    Here's a BBC News article on the 2005 Bloggies. I'll have to post my interview with Bloggies creator Nikolai Nolan and footage from last year's awards.

    January 28, 2005 at 12:51 PM in Videoblogging | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack



    Pretty obvious isn't it? I'm so loving the soap opera.

    I'm going to take the moral high ground, too. From here on out, Blogumentary will not accept advertising from Twin City Federal Bank.

    That's right, you heard me. Well, unless they have Google ads. Or, you know, unless they actually offer to advertise. Yes, I have a spine of steel.

    NOTE: I made the title of this post something less inflammatory.

    January 28, 2005 at 08:32 AM in Local | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack



    Watch this and more 80's Hungarian commercials.

    January 27, 2005 at 10:22 PM in Funny Crap | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



    Download ANT beta now! Only for Mac OS X - Windoze coming soon. This software has really come together since the early version I tested. Congrats to my man Joshua Kinberg (of Bikes Against Bush) and the gang for all your hard work.

    Oh - so ANT lets you subscribe to video feeds published on the web. Just like you'd subscribe to podcasts. So you never have to miss the Jay and Ryanne Show again. You know, it'll download it while you're sleeping. Isn't that sweet?

    January 26, 2005 at 03:39 AM in Videoblogging | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack



    I'm at 55 Gigs of bandwidth this month. Bluehost offers 75 Gig to new accounts, so I'm hoping they offer existing customers the same courtesy. Please standby if you're trying to load any of my video.

    January 26, 2005 at 02:59 AM in Blogumentary | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    89.3 ROCKS

    Am I in heaven? 89.3: The Current is the first time I've been excited by what's on the radio in quite a long time. Not that I don't still love Radio K mind you, but with the departure of Mark Wheat and Cosmic Slop, there's not a whole lot to be excited about. Their new shows may offer some hope, particularly Now Like Photographs (instrumental rock — get to work on that web page, guys) and Soulful Science (house music).

    89.3 brings delivers baby. Sizzlin'. Ouch. Hott... Lorika, a "Founding Member", sums it up:

    Any station that plays Lemon Jelly, The White Stripes, The Arcade Fire, The Beastie Boys, The Fall, Johnny Cash, Public Enemy, The Hang Ups, Billie Holliday, The Chemical Brothers, Low, Roy Orbison, The Postal Service & Guided By Voices (!!!) (do you need more?) is the station for me. It's like they came in, took a bunch of stuff out of my own private music collection, and then threw in some stuff I didn't know I liked yet and piped it to my ears from heaven.

    Lori complains that the morning show really doesn't fit the bill. I complain that the signal isn't so good up here, but the audio stream really sounds amazing. CD-quality, you know. Listen now (If it doesn't play for you, I recommend downloading the VLC Player which plays everything under the sun.) Read more on the aacPlus streaming format from my old friend and 89.3 New Media Producer Mike Wells.

    BONUS: 89.3's Annie Baxter is going to interview me about videoblogs tomorrow, apparently to be broadcast on Wed. drivetime. I'll post a link if one is available.

    January 26, 2005 at 02:53 AM in Local, Music | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack


    LawyersjunkSo I got in a little car accident (photo) before going to NYC. When I got back, I had this pile of mail waiting for me. Yippee! Did I win the lottery? It sure looks like it from a couple of these flyers. But no, they're all personal injury lawyers:

  • Paige J. Donnelly, LTD.
  • Eric Steeves Law Firm
  • Krueger Law Firm
  • Dan Lieber of Metro Law Center

    Now, I'm sure some folks may have a legitimate need for a post-accident lawyer. As one of the flyers says, "The insurance companies have lawyers working on their side - and so should you!" But it also feels sorta slimey. They want you to call them to find out if you even need a lawyer. Boom - new client! Also, how did they get my name? Was it the insurance company, or the City of St. Paul that provided this information? Who is making money on this? Or do they just check police reports and mail me from public information?

    I want to know. And, I'm sure not going to take the time to find out. Chuck Olsen, Lazy Citizen Journalist at your service.

    January 26, 2005 at 12:28 AM in Local, Personal Crap | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack