Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blogosphere 101 for Grandma and Grandpa

This weekend, Parade magazine introduces millions of behind-the-curve Americans for the first time to the web technology that is changing politics. For many, this will be an eye-opening first encounter with YouTube, MySpace and Google. A good many still won't get it. It's a generational thing.

You know Parade as the floppy little insert that falls out of your Sunday paper and offers middle-of-the-road profiles of mainstream celebrities like Keri Russell, Drew Carey and Lucy Liu. Official circulation: 32 million. Estimated Weekly Readership: 71 million. Hardly small potatoes. Here's the opening paragraph of "You Have the Power," by Michael Scherer:

In this new Internet age, democracy means much more than a trip to the polls. Every day at personal computers across the nation, people are speaking back to their politicians—posting essays and videos that will be seen by thousands, organizing their neighbors and delving deep into the issues they care about on their own terms.
While this will hardly seem like breaking news (or required reading) to denizens of the blogosphere, it will certainly clarify a few things for some members of the so-called "old school." It should be noted that in 2004 the 65-74 year-old voter cohort was the most active in terms of turnout -- nearly 75 per cent voted.

Is it safe to assume that most of the online politicking so characteristic of this election cycle is geared toward relatively young, web-savvy voters? Yet, less than half of 18-24 year-olds voted in the last presidential election.

Are the candidates wasting their time online? Shouldn't they be courting the editors of Parade rather than Ariana Huffington or Andrew Sullivan?


Ancient Clown said...


This would be one of those blogs.
Have Grandma and Grandpa pay a visit and tell me if THIS is the FREEDOM they were fighting for...Cause if it is I can't wait to see the COMPLETE FREEDOM we have after BUSH is done.
If it's NOT...then obviously they are only still breathing because their fight is not yet over.
your humble servant,
ancient clown

Anonymous said...

The candidates should use on line resources to articulate their vision. None of this stuff around having an answer for everything. It is all about vision. Just like JFK focused the nation on the trip to the moon, the candidates should pick something, we have plenty of things to focus on. Some ideas: position the US to be world leader in energy efficient technologies, pay of national debt, improve education etc. etc.

The College Admissions Consultant said...

Well the "old School" as you say had security and routine in their life. they were suppose to go vote, and keep up on Politics... who has time to do that today.... if you are not working the long hours, you are sitting on a freeway!

Rainy Day Maine said...

I resemble the 'Grandma' remark. The first YouTube experience I had was viewing the mom who sings to the William Tell Overture. However, scrolling over that video were links to naked this and naked that videos.

I guess I didn't expect otherwise.

Then again, Parade, is not my speed, either. It is too 'vanilla' for my tastes.

But, the vote, that was the question...I have voted every presidential election since I took the Freeman's Oath in 1976, almost every Congressional vote and a lot of local issue votes.

Should politicos be on such venues as YouTube and the like? Of course they should. But, they need to maintain the dignity of the office to which they aspire.

And that's the Grammie vote.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

While the 18-24 age group may not have voted in droves in the last election, it is at least possible that the Internet, including blogs and candidates' websites, if used effectively COULD energize voters in this demographic.

Maybe someone should try appealing to those voters more - Why let Grandma decide the future, after all, you're the one who is going to live in it!

Cosmic Whisper said...

The reason why politicians are spending more and more focus and money on the younger generation and the mediums they move through is because they are on the rise! More and more are turning out to the polls and can sway an election.

Besides, the 24 year olds will be the 50 year olds and the Internet will be the mainstream in advertising.

I, Candyman said...

Oh wow. Every time I read the word "blogosphere", a little part of my soul dies.


vaibhavi J said...

really a very good blog.plz do visit my new blog about politics n economics

Lee said...

Courting the voting block seems to be a problem that doesnt work. Gone are the days where you can say one thing in one state and another in the next. Without the news industry's controlling the information we see the lies as they unfold.

As soon as a Leader steps up and says what he believes and will do so with a consise consistant message you'll see the change brought about by the information age.

Leaders will float to the surface. It's just going to take a lot of Unlearning.

Troy said...

I am 88, have my own blog, and would certainly not form my opinions by reading PARADE. Many of us who are up in years are interested in what goes on, keep up on everything, and haven't stopped thinking. I care that our government is incompetent and our vice-president serially untruthful. I care that we were hoodwinked into a useless war. I always vote. My blog is (I'm also a poet.)

aj said...

If you believe that politicians are actively involved with their internet campaigns, I would love to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.

sew_vain said...

I think that by having so much attention payed to them on-line, it will encourage 18-24 year olds to get out there and vote. The older crowd will already vote-they'll watch the stuff on t.v. just like they do every four years, but the younger people need to be reached via what they're familiar with-which is the internet. I think it's a great idea that the candidates have so much stuff on-line this year, because I'm part of that younger crowd and I feel like I sort of know what's going on-moreso than I would if there was nothing on-line.

Anonymous said...

It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it; consequently, the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.

It does not matter what form of medium the candidates use, the outcome for the election has been decided already. The elite have made their choice and the candidates are towing the line for the upper echelons in world society and the industrialists.

Democracy as you put it, has been eroded over time and bears no resemblence to any form of true representation. When people begin to wake up from their deep slumber, will they then realise what the older know is true. But by then, it will all be too late for the younger generation, who are either angered or disenfranchised.

In addition, it is a valid point to make, that the so called democratically elected president, stole to 2000 elections. And the same happened in 2004. Plus, he and Kerry are cousins.

Anonymous said...

Please explain to me again why we would like 18-24 year olds to vote. Did I miss something while drinking my ensure? Is Britney running for President?

Jayme said...

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm not huge into politics. I do however vote and try to at least pay attention to the bigger elections. I am in the 18-24 group.

I think that using YouTube and other internet sites will help reach the younger generation because they more than likely check thier myspace page or YouTube more than read the newspaper.

The last thing I would like to say is that this anonymous comment:

"Please explain to me again why we would like 18-24 year olds to vote. Did I miss something while drinking my ensure? Is Britney running for President?"

is completely ridiculous not to mention offensive.

Catmoves said...

For shame.
"For many, this will be an eye-opening first encounter with YouTube, MySpace and Google. A good many still won't get it. It's a generational thing."
One must be very young and callow to make such a statement. Particularly when the "18 to 24 year olds" not only can't think of why they should vote for someone, but would fail spelling, sentence construction, capitalization and on and on.
The idea that age has anything at all to do with common sense and the minimal talent to write a blog is ridiculous.
I have seen blogs done by pre teens (with parental approval) and blogs done by 80+ year olds. All of them have captured my interest and pleasured my reading.

Troy said...

People can think, write blogs, have opinions (whether wise or foolish), carry on interesting exchanges, etc., at any age, depending on their interests and their intelligence. It's silly for any age-group to feel superior to any other.

Troy said...

I would like to amend information in my first comment. My blog address is

Steve said...

Different organizations have been trying for years to encourage the younger crowd to turn out - the most prominent that I can think of being Rock the Vote. A lot of people agree that we need to increase the turnout, but don't really know how. I think that the youngest voting block probably sees the voting process as a waste of time, especially those in non-swing states. Why vote, when it doesn't make any difference? In talking with the younger members of my generation (2004 was my first election outside of the 18-24 block), that's the question that keeps coming up. My vote doesn't matter, so I'm not going to bother. I think that the candidates are trying to change that attitude with the online politicking.

Anonymous said...

here's a radical innovation: maybe one way to help turn out the youth vote would be to lower the voting age. it doesn't seem ethical that kids are given the right to vote at the same moment they become eligible for the draft. it borders on assassination without representation. if election campaigns are drifting toward the Internet, and the younger generations are savvy in this realm, maybe they should be given more respect, opportunities, and responsibility. perhaps this would encourage political consciousness to develop earlier.

Troy said...

If everybody refrained from voting because they think their vote doesn't matter, they would be leaving the decision to others, and would have no right to complain about the results. Actually, when people work together their votes do make a difference. In any case, why should we renounce our most precious right--the right to vote? It's up to us to know what changes we want and work for them.

Troy said...

Anonymous wants to know why 18 to 24 year olds should vote. Because if you don't vote, you give up the right to complain about the results. How would you feel if you were not allowed to vote? Then it might look different.

Trevor said...

Well, maybe the hope is to improve that "less than half" number, since now the venue for reaching younger people in an efficiant manner is here.

Troy said...

I agree with Trevor. We should do our best to reach the "less than half" of the 18 to 24-year-old potential, but uninterested, voters. They will have to live in the world allowed to be created by their apathy. For the first time we all have a place to have our say. We can by-pass the media. Whatever our age, let's jump in!