I Get Blog With A Little Help From My Friends

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Mar 03, 2006 3:14 PM

I spent all morning learning the Republican House press secretaries about the art of the blogging (I did not, however, tell them that the quirky use of regional, inaccurate verbage is the secret to success, because I'm keeping that one to myself).

I was on a panel with Tim, Flip, Rob, and Ben from RedState in an event arranged by Congressman Jack Kingston's (R-Ga.) office. We gave a little bit of advice to staffers on how to approach the blogosphere with messages and how to allay their bosses' fears about the wondrous electronic world beyond message control.

I don't envy the staffers. It's not an easy job. Getting a Congressman to see that there is a world beyond the safe, static press release is a challenge. Once you start telling him that world can include debate and disagreement-- woo, it's all downhill. The blogosphere is a place where messages get molded and tossed around and sometimes beaten to a pulp. It's boot camp for political messages. It is not a place where talking points go for chillin' out, maxin', relaxin', or coolin'(Can ya finish the lyric?).

It is the politician who recognizes this ability to shape and move messages as an advantage instead of a hindrance who will do well in the blogosphere and in the future of political communication. The blogosphere is a world in motion, and deliberative bodies aren't always comfortable with how it moves. Hence, panels like this one.

We had a good time. Things were learned, hackneyed metaphors employed, Rathergates lauded, and bottled water drunk.

And now maybe more blogging will get done. There were a couple staffers on hand who have successfully coaxed their bosses into the blogosphere.

Mike Conaway, his wife, and staffers all blog on Conaway Blog, and Conaway even podcasts once a week.

Kingston blogs at RedState and on his own site, even running video of townhall meetings in his home district.

Both are genuine blogs, with a voice, and personality of their own. There were a couple other ones I should note, but I have misplaced my agenda for the moment. I'll check back when I find it.