Thanks for letting Jerome and I crash your caucus desmoinesdem. The last 2 times I've traveled to Iowa to witness the process, the actual caucus is always my favorite part. Watching neighbors gather together in an elementary school to organize for candidates, discuss issues and then hustle for more support during the regrouping is always amazing to me - so many stories jump out - like the husband who sticks with Obama while the wife goes to Edwards, the 95 yr old Hillary supporter, the technique of the Obama organizers to hand out numbers on pieces of paper, etc. I think most of the political junkies on MyDD would appreciate it - hopefully I'll find time soon to edit all the video we captured so that they can see what you described so well in this diary! You're definitely in the video!
Aren't all of these candidates in a primary? Shouldn't we pressure them to give us specific answers on issues we care about? Isn't that a good way to figure out what kind of president they will be?
I don't understand why this type of push should be considered off-limits. Dodd took a strong stand on an important issue and the netroots turned up the heat high enough to finally force answers about it from the two supposed front-runners for our party's presidential nomination. And for those who are in the senate, let's see them put their votes where their mouth is.
More of this please.
The Iowa caucuses get closer every day and I hope the netroots continues to work on highlighting the differences (or not) between the candidates. If it takes rallying the troops to demand answers, so be it. The primary process is important.
The Wired coverage is good and topping Digg is certainly a big deal, but it should be noted that the news of Dodd's action on the FISA bill also reached both BoingBoing and Slashdot, both huge tech blogs (BoingBoing being the #3 most popular of all blogs internationally according to Technorati).
I'm not sure if using their ActBlue totals is the most accurate baseline for measuring the fundraising capability of the netroots in Texas races. With full respect to David Van Os, Chris Bell and John Courage as good Texas Democrats who have not shrunk from tough fights on difficult terrain: those races and those candidates don't compare to Rick Noriega running for Texas Senate. Just as a small example, do you remember the New Mainstream message Chris Bell lit up the netroots with? Riiight. John Courage did an admirable job raising netroots dollars, but the redistricting fight complicated that campaign. And let's not open the Van Os can of worms.
I'll concede the netroots won't raise 20 million for a Texas senate race, but that's our goal is it? If the netroots (you & I) put in our share to reach an amount respectable enough to get noticed by the punditry and the big dollar donors we could shift the narrative and attract some of that "smart money" to Noriega's campaign. And we have a helluva candidate to invest in.
Although the candidates may not be displaying transparency in their fundraising mini-campaigns exactly as you describe, I think it's interesting to note that Edwards is being 100% transparent with his total online fundraising numbers by using ActBlue. In fact I would argue, that's the ultimate transparency because they can't manipulate the release of fundraising numbers (updating a numbers raised meter) selectively to manage a specific fundraising drive. I suppose they still have ways, but it's much harder when your totals are updating in real-time for everyone to see. He may not have announced that they blew by the 100K mark for the Coulter Cash ask, but someone could've figured out themselves if they did by visiting ActBlue.com.
What's really interesting to me is that John Edwards continues to far out-strip all other players on ActBlue's fundraising.
I think it's worth pointing out that Edwards is using ActBlue as his sole online contribution mechanism, as is Bill Richardson. The money raised for other candidates on ActBlue were not driven there by their campaigns. Considering that, I don't think it's very useful to compare Edwards and Richardson's ActBlue numbers to those of the other candidates. You could compare the two of them and Edwards does have bigger numbers.
Edwards and Richardson's decision to use ActBlue is certainly an interesting one. Their online fundraising is effectively 100% transparent. Will that continue the whole campaign for each of them?
a campaign is just not going to be able to compete with community blogs
That sounds like either/or to me. You also say MyBarackObama won't replace Facebook. My point is that they don't intend to. That's the either/or I'm talking about - not candidate's personal blogging vs campaign blogs.
What I was also suggesting is that a campaign blog might be better described as a campaign's online community these days with social networking mixing things up. And I think you were saying the same thing when you mentioned MyBarackObama in your post. I think what John Edwards has created on Scoop is much more of a community than just a blog as well. All of this certainly is not under utilizing the medium. It's using it differently than a personal blog. It's how Blog for America used the medium. Dean posted a few times himself, but it wasn't his blog. In many ways it was shaped instead by the campaign and it's supporters.
And I completely agree that if one of the candidates decides to daily personally communicate through the internet, with their own blog/vlog/podcast, that would be a compelling use of the medium. I think it goes along well with what Zack Exley has said here and here. I think it's what David Cameron is doing in the UK very well (although I guess he's not technically a current candidate for anything and unfortunately he's a conservative). And as you well know, it's also something that we were discussing within Gov. Warner's camp (sad, but true).
However, I think you make a very important point when you say this about candidates blogging:
it's not practical given the verbal habit of politicians-- they don't write much at all.
It's much more likely a candidate will call in a podcast or have a web video savvy staffer with a laptop and a basic video camera following them around. Wes Clark and John Edwards both have good personal podcasts as models for this. Someone mentioned Obama's podcasts as a Senator as well and that probably means he's already comfortable with it.
So, in summary campaign online community AND decentralized external communities AND candidate blog/vlog/podcast = the right way to go. It will take a compelling mix of all of these platforms for online conversation really.
BTW, don't you already know how incredibly expensive my blog commenting services are? Clay couldn't afford me.
...a campaign is just not going to be able to compete with community blogs that have been longer standing and represent a more authentic interaction. Dean's Blog For America was the first successful campaign blog, and maybe the last (a Barack Obama's social networking site is not going to replace, or even compete, with Facebook).
Is it really the goal of MyBarackObama to compete with Facebook? It seems they serve completely different purposes. Honestly the two co-exist relatively well in my opinion. They aren't competing, in fact they're highly complimentary.
Obama's supporters have already proved it. The One Million Strong for Barack Obama group on Facebook created a group on MBO called, um, One Million Strong for Barack Obama. Using MBO, they created their own fundraising page (something they couldn't do on Facebook) and they've raised over $3K from 174 donors. They link to the MBO group from the Facebook one and effectively pull people over from Facebook to the campaign. They've bridged the gap between the centralized campaign and the decentralized one with these tools. That's impressive. Remember the questions being asked about this One Million Strong for Barack Obama Facebook group: will these numbers accumulated would mean anything? I think that's been answered, at least to some degree, by the group itself.
BTW, even if they were trying to directly compete w/ Facebook, the MBO numbers aren't bad: 1441 local groups, 1033 national ones. That's impressive too.
Wasn't Blog for America more than just a campaign blog, but also an online community for the campaign supporters? The people who lived in the comments had distinct digital identities and reputations. It wasn't just a mouthpiece for the campaign, although that content served as effective conversation fodder. It was the same type of community as DailyKos and MyDD without the better features of threaded comments, diaries and recommendations that Scoop provides. And obviously it served a different, distinct audience: supporters of Dean.
Isn't that still necessary? An online community for the supporters of a candidate to connect with each other, share ideas, debate their candidate's moves amongst themselves and keep the energy and motivation high? I like to think of it as a staging ground for supporters before they head out into other communities to spread the message. John Edwards rolled out Scoop and actively cultivated a community. Barack Obama rolled out Blue State's social networking platform and it's being populated and utilized quickly. And they both still reach out into the communities beyond their own website/blog/community. Almost every campaign has links to Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, PartyBuilder, etc on their homepages now. It's not an either/or situation. I'd suggest that campaigns today need to do both if they're going to engage the netroots.
Let's not forget how the whole Led Zeppelin / Willie Dixon story played out. Originally, it was Dixon's record label, Arc Records, that sued Led Zeppelin. However, they didn't give any of the money they secured to Dixon. Instead he had to sue his record company to get any cut. However, he did later sue Zep directly.
All I'm saying is that there are multiple parties involved here and it's not as simple as good artists vs. bad artists. The record companies (and the RIAA) are in the mix and they're usually more concerned about their own bottom line than they are the artists.
We do need to find a way to empower artists to properly profit from their work while recognizing
I thought the NY Times article explained this well and the comment above from 'remove' is spot on.
However, if you're going to insist on being "pretty simple" minded about this, then yes, mixtapes are illegal. DJs put out mixtapes with copyrighted tracks they did not obtain the rights for. This doesn't apply to all mixtapes, but it applies to some of them (although the RIAA made no distinction when they raided Drama's studio). And they sell those mixtapes because it supports their career as DJs and keeps the scene alive. Without that organic promotion culture, hip-hop will not be the same. The industry will lose it's connection to the streets and it will hurt the artists in contracts with major labels. The commerce cannot be taken out of the context of the art form and it's culture, no matter how much you or the RIAA would like it.
Last night I was listening to a local radio station do an interview w/ hip-hop artist Petey Pablo. He was describing how his record company didn't understand how to market his music so he had turned to mixtapes to get his art into the streets properly.
From that, to me, it's clear that the only reason the RIAA relies on enforcing out-dated laws to protect their incumbent interests is because they also rely on out-dated business models. That applies to marketing (mixtapes), distribution (mp3s), etc, etc. I think Nancy has been making the point that we should revisit those laws if, in cases like this, they're only protecting lazy corporations. Hip-hop and mixtapes aren't the only examples of the system being broken.
Honestly, considering the current path of disruptive technology coupled with grassroots efforts, I imagine the quick-footed hip-hop will just continue routing around these dinosaurs.
Have you ever listened to a hip-hop mixtape? I don't mean that in a snarky way, I'm seriously curious. And the reason I ask is because you seem so certain that this DJ was ripping artists and/or labels off. I think if you understood the art form (and it is one), you might realize that this particular story isn't as black & white as you seem to suggest it should be. The NY times article, and the very smart comment that you replied to, makes it clear that the relationship between labels, hip-hop artists and mixtape DJs is complicated and very, very grey. They all profit from one another in various ways and in an industry of egos they all have drama with each other depending on which way the wind is blowing.
I think what we're seeing is the painful result of an industry (and the laws that protect it) which isn't evolving as fast as the art form it profits from. Consider a few quotes from the very well-written and researched original NY Times article on DJ Drama's arrest.
The genre moves too fast for the industry:
Mixtapes have become a vital part of the hip-hop world. They are often the only way for listeners to keep up with a genre that moves too quickly to be captured on albums.
The artists benefit from this new way of doing things and have found an organic way to circumvent the traditional, incumbent methods of getting their art noticed and still clocking big profits:
The most recent Lil Wayne solo album, "Tha Carter II" (Cash Money/Universal), sold more than a million copies, though none of its singles climbed any higher than No. 32 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. That's an impressive feat, and it's hard to imagine how he would have done it without help from a friendly pirate.
And the way the industry responds is by not adapting, but arresting:
The police, working with the Recording Industry Association of America, raided his office, at 147 Walker Street in Atlanta. The association makes no distinction between counterfeit CDs and unlicensed compilations like those that DJ Drama is known for.
This sounds like a fantastic long-term strategy for the RIAA to increase hip-hop record sales.