GWU Issues Management

A blog established for the George Washington University School of Political Management's Issues Management course.

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Location: Washington, D.C., United States

A middle aged white guy, who likes to think, talk and, too infrequently, write about politics, religion and gadgets.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Beyond Blogs

Today's Washington Post has an interesting article about a report on the fasting growing Internet sites over the past year. The report found that traffic generally has flattened on the Internet, but that certain sites are growing dramatically. The growth sites are the so-called "social networking" sites, like MySpace and Blogger (the site that hosts this particular blog).

Any thoughts about what this all has to do with issues management? I hope it calls to mind a point I think I made earlier in the course that the Internet's most popular and compelling feature these days is its ability to make offline connections. Contrary to a previous fear that the Internet would create a generation of houseplants, people alone in their basements banging away on keyboards anonymously, some with evil intent, the Internet is bringing people together.

We have a new public square that knows no geographic boundaries. What does that mean for those seeking to influence public policy using communications techniques?


Blogger ajyass said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:12 AM  
Blogger ajyass said...

While I do think the internet gives people a readily available outlet to get out a message to a large audience at a low cost, I can't help but think that these "communities" people form are not as good as some would like them to be. They do not give people the same connection that they get when they meet people in the real world.
I'm reminded of a segment that Demetri Martin did on The Daily Show a couple of weeks ago about MySpace. You can have 1000 friends on MySpace, but how many of them are actually your friends?

6:14 AM  
Blogger Boston Dem said...

I think that the internet has already proven its effectiveness as a means of moving issues. All one needs to do is look at the Dean campaign. Joe Trippi and company proved that it is possible to use the net to galvanize support off the net. While a strong internet movement did not translate into an electoral victory for Howard Dean, many candidates and issue campaigns have taken pages from his playbook by moving more of their operations online and making sure that an internet strategy is front and center in their overall strategy. When used effectively, the net has proven itself as a great way to move issues and call people to action.

10:28 AM  
Blogger ABPITT said...

I think that the Internet offers interesting communication possibilities for those seeking to influence public policy, such as grassroots organizations and organizations with low funding. However, while the Internet may increase communication possibilities, I also believe that there is a level of community authenticity that cannot be reached over the Internet. As online social networks develop, it will be interesting to see how the Internet seeks to overcome the limits that online communities operate under.

10:28 AM  
Blogger nkatona said...

The internet has not been the demise of social interaction, however, it has created a psuedo society through websites like and Although effective in simplifying communication for long lost friends it has created the "friend" frenzy in which it is cool to see how many people you can tag, whether you know them or not.

The internet will continue to be effective in campaigns and grassroot organizing because it simplifies communication, however, it does still have the possibility to strengthen and grow the basement dweller population. Go out and meet people...the internet does not replace social interaction!

12:35 PM  
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