As RisingLine continues help the blogosphere grow in acceptance with mainstream organizations, such as corporations and government institutions, I began pondering why our elected officials are not taking advantage of blogging technology. For instance, since elected representatives are typically engaging in dialog with their constituents from a reactive perspective, why not make it proactive? I am familiar with this segment because I used to work in a United States Senator’s office as an intern and I was responsible for fielding inquiries from the public. I quickly learned that most inbound communication to our office was in the form of complaints or grievances against the government or our representative.
That being said, I believe blogging presents a great opportunity for our elected officials since transparency in politics is becoming a huge issue. Statistics from most polling organizations reveal the public at large does not trust the government. In fact, many voters view professional politicians as crooked, greedy, or disengaged – although this might not always be the case, perceptions are critical in politics.
Bringing this back to New Media, blogs are a way for elected representatives, or their staff, to actively engage with constituents via a transparent media. Although there may be fear in opening up a Pandora’s box filled with disinformation, the content within a blog can certainly be contained within a set of content and technological parameters. For instance, should disingenuous visitors post false information or lewd content, the false information can be quickly responded to by either another constituent, or a staffer, and lewd content can be deleted by a site administrator. Plus, with internal prompts, RSS, and XML technology, representatives and staffers can easily keep on top of what is being posted on their blog site.
Finally, from a personal perspective, I would sincerely appreciate the opportunity to respond to and dialog with my elected official to let them know my opinions on issues that they have commented or voted on – such as abortion, taxation, property rights, education, government spending, foreign affairs, etc. I certainly don’t believe that I’m alone in this opinion, since most people I chat with about politics feel the same way. Also, if you’re an elected official or a staffer who is reading this blog, I encourage you to perform a Google search on political blogs to view the energy out there amongst those who desire more transparency in government.
It’s no secret that one of the primary reasons for low voter turnout in the United States is that voters, especially younger voters, feel no connection with their representatives or candidates. Yet these people are voicing their frustrations and concerns online through blogs. I’d like to point out that the conversations about elected officials and politics are already taking place, blogging will afford elected officals the opportunity to participate if they’re willing. For a great example of an elected official utilizing blog technology, I invite you to visit the Anthony A. Williams’ blog. It might be an eye opener.