"As the Internet changes and grows, so should the efforts of Senatorial candidates to use this technology to strengthen their campaigns. It is an excellent medium to reinforce their platforms, find new voters, and reach as many people as possible. In addition, new Web 2.0 technologies give candidates the ability to interact fully with their constituents."
- Incumbents are using the web more aggressively than they have in past cycles.
- There is no real difference in the way Republicans and Democrats are using their campaign websites
- Many of the features being used to great effect by Presidential campaigns are not being used by Senate candidates
- Many candidates are advertising their presences on third-party social networks on their campaign websites.
- The number of campaign websites with blogs has increased greatly, from 23 percent of campaigns in 2006 to 40 percent in 2008.
- Candidates this election cycle are utilizing multimedia (audio and video files) more than in previous years.
- Some basic features were present on virtually every campaign website
(more detail on their blog...)
As part of our ooVoo video conversation, we discussed the use of blogs and how influential bloggers had become in the 2006 elections with the example of Joe Leiberman's defeat in the Democratic primary to Ned Lamont. The Washington Post noted that "Lamont built his campaign initially with the enthusiastic support of the "Net roots" -- bloggers and other Internet-based activists -- and then expanded with a grass-roots campaign that attracted rank-and-file Democrats who opposed the war and who complained that Lieberman had neglected the interests of his home state."
The Bivings Report didn't identify any similar grass-roots campaigns in 2008 but did notice a difference between Republican and Democratic web sites. Republicans were more likely to have blogs, multimedia elements and video while Democrats had more team building tools. The blogs they saw were very dry, no comments and not up-to-date. None of the candidates were video blogging and had not integrated any real social networking. Most of the web sites focused on funderasing and had either welcome messages, video clips syndicated from news sites and no real compelling content. Todd Zeigler said he was following several candidates on Twitter and noted some of them did have a "cluster of icons" on their web sites representing their social networks but mostly recycled content between Facebook and their websites. He said most of them probably know the secret to video, that it's a lot of work.
Here are of a few the web sites they liked:
- Saxby Chamblis 08 - Issues, Facts, Events - Saxby.org (Georgia) His welcome message starts right away so turn down your audio
- GordonSmith.com - Re-elect Senator Gordon Smith (Oregon) Made Todd Zeiger want to go to Oregon
- ScottKleeb.com (Nebraska)
- Al Franken for Senate (Minnesota) They thought this one was the best
Thanks again to the people at Crayon and ooVoo for hostings these great events!
About Todd Zeigler:
"In his time at The Bivings Group, Todd has helped manage online campaigns for the firm's biggest political clients, including Friends of Fred Thompson, Governor Bobby Jindal, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In working with these clients and others, Todd has developed ambitious e-advocacy programs and custom Internet applications, helped manage crisis, and created and implemented online marketing strategies."About The Bivings Group:
"In the name of full disclosure, The Bivings Group currently does work for a variety of Republican organizations and a few Republican candidates for office."About My ooVoo Day Political:
"My ooVoo Day Political is an eight day online video chat event joining leading political bloggers covering the entire spectrum of belief and persuasion with their communities, fans and friends - enabled by ooVoo, the leader in face-to-face multi-person video communications"