Monday, February 5, 2007

The Internet(s)

At least a couple online articles have pointed to our ward's race as tech-savvy and possessing a significant internet presence, including the News-Star and the Capitol Fax Blog, which has called our ward's race "the most Internet-savvy battle in the city."

So I thought I would examine the issue:

Does the Internet a Campaign Make?

In my opinion, the internet can only be one facet of several in a campaign. The amount of people who use the internet is limited; the percentage of internet users who surf/read the blogs is even smaller. Internet campaigning also leans heavily toward younger voters, by simple virtue of the fact that the newer technology is more widely used by younger people (no slight against my older, wiser neighbors of course :) ).

At the same time, there is absolutely no substitute for in-person contact. The internet's strength is also its weakness. It is cheaper and faster to establish and maintain a presence on the internet, and two or three people posting can achieve wide readership. But it also feels cheaper and faster. It will take me only an hour or so to post something (relatively) thoughtful and substantive, and after that hour investment my site counter tells me several dozen people will read it (and growing!). By contrast, to reach that number of people either door-to-door or even by phone, it will take more than one session of phone banking or possibly the equivalent of several days of the candidate door-knocking. But when a resident/constituent sees a human take the time out of their day to come talk to him/her about a candidate, it has much more potential to make the resident feel important and his/her vote appreciated by the candidate. Of course, there are people who just hang up the phone or shut the door on a volunteer. But having door-knocked myself (not in this election, because work has me full-time and then some), I know that the vast majority of people are receptive to someone approaching them on behalf of a candidate.

That said, it is no secret that Brewer's campaign wields some internet heavy-hitters. But I have yet to have any personal contact from Brewer's campaign (nor Aftab's nor Stone's). The only people who have come knocking at my door have been Dolar folks (though it's possible I might have been at work - but the hours I spend at the office itself are pretty average, I just do a lot of work at home). At the same time, it now looks as if Dolar's site is the most consistently updated (I don't imagine Brewer's tech savvy people are happy about that). There was a long while that it wasn't getting updated, but it looks like her team is stepping up to the plate as the big day draws nearer. New stories and issues are getting put up almost every day - I can literally learn more about her platforms as we get closer to the election and I need to make a decision. Most importantly, the new updates are right on the front page, so I don't have to dig around clicking for them. In sharp contrast, Stone's site appears to be the most static - it's got a real "early web" feel to it. The only recent updates on Aftab's site appear to be in the form of a ticker tape along the top and left column of the website that announces new news. Last but not least, Brewer's site sports one recent update as far as I can tell -- the Early Voting post near the top. Other than that, the front page has two photos from early autumn 2006. Yes, I am only looking at the front page. Why? Because that's where a casual resident/voter will look.

In the defense of Brewer's team, their internet talent may very well be primarily in blogging and not in webpage design. But as I mentioned earlier, blogosphere surfers are an even smaller share of voters than voters who take a single internet address they've been given and check it out. If blogging is in fact the strongest suit of the Brewer team, it's very much "niche" and not the basket I would want to put all my internet campaign eggs into. Were I a casual repeat surfer, the only site I would keep revisiting is Dolar's.

Hence, my conclusion: internet advantage Dolar.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your blog is true to the facts! Thank you!

Concerned Citizen said...

For the record, I didn't not post the previous comment. Thank you so much for the compliment, anon!

Hugh said...

Kevin Robinson already did this a month ago on Chicagoist, alternating between a flacid argment that the the internet doesn't matter in political campaigns and inane reviews of candidate's websites.

have anything new to say?

Anonymous said...

Hugh,

I don't see the survey of websites you are referring to in your second link, unless you're counting the passing comment that Dolar is "less media-savvy" than Brewer. Which, btw, I don't think that's true anymore.

ac said...

it's clear that you don't pay attention to the brewer campaign site. the front page changed four times in the last six days, but you missed that. it's really too bad you missed the explanation of why the brewer campaign choose it's campaign colors.

obviously, you look at naisy's site everyday. you identify yourself inferentially as one of naisy's supporters -- not that there's anything wrong with that. the brewer campaign isn't trying to beat naisy dolar (or salman aftab). we're aimed squarely at beating bernie stone. you don't need to be very saavy to see that we don't target naisy's supporters, for good reason. we're going to need your support in the run-off...

dc said...

ac,

i caught brewer's site the day he explained his campaign colors - you mean the "rah rah go Bears" thing right?

so, on dolar's front page i can learn about the issues like stone getting walmart money, and the closing of the last grocery store in our ward. on brewer's site i learn about... his love of da bears?

by the way, if you knew campaigning half as well as you know the internet, you'd see that brewer won't *be* in the runoff if you don't target naisy supporters. read the D-2s lately?

Anonymous said...

i'm very happy to see brewer voted.. is that his first aldermanic election he voted in?

Anonymous said...

The idea that the Dominick's on Ridge is closing because of Union problems is absurd. Anyone who has lived here as long as I have, knows that particular store was a well kept and high quality supermarket up until Safeway bought them. Poor quality produce,too many out of date labled foods and general lack of upkeep followed and as a result forced many nearby residents to grocery shop outside of the ward. The fact that the Dominick's on Kedzie,the Jewel on Howard and Western have closed before this latest one without any replacement for the 50th ward speaks volumes about the lack of advocacy and leadership of the current alderman.
By the way I've seen Stone shop at the Lincolnwood Dominick's and that store employs many of the "problem" union workers that used to work on Ridge.

truthiness said...

The person in charge of a blog called "Dogfight in the 50th" is obsessed with alleged "lying" on the part of Dolar. That blog has been talking about whether Naisy has actually lived in the ward 30 years versus 27 as if she were maliciously hiding some evil truth from everyone. Rather than talk about the issues, that blog and other Brewer supporters have been distracting the community with conspiracy theories. Even Rich Miller of The Capitol Fax Blog has closed the door on their noise.

But apparently, Brewer supporters can't stop harping about this one point long enough to see their own favorite's "lies." The "Greg Brewer Foundation," aka Citizens for Responsible Development, previously said the following on its front page:

"His experience as an architect and planner make him uniquely qualified to tackle the development issues that confront the 50th Ward. Greg's 20 years of experience have taught him the importance of community involvement in planning and development decisions. Greg has used those skills to build comprehensive plans for entire countries."

Now, that front page says:

"Greg Brewer is an experienced architect and planner who for the last 20 years has helped shape major projects around the world."

Which is it, Greg? Have you planned entire countries? Which ones? Are you in charge of planning for them? Or do you just "help"? Why don't you get some president, prime ministers, or dictators to endorse you?

Hello?

Greg?

Anonymous said...

I was at the phony forum/debate at BooneSchool last nite.It was enough to make one ill;it was a HATE-STONE ORGY,reminiscent of some pretty ugly historical events of the last century,sans uniforms.I am truly ashamed that such HATEFUL people are part of my community, andI will reject these "evil neighbors" by voting to RE-ELECT STONE.THE CHALLENGERS ARE COMEDIANS WITH HORRIBLE FOLLOWINGS.

Anonymous said...

so you're just another CENSORED ANTI STONE BLOG-should have guessed by the orange--WHICH BREWER STAFFER ARE YOU???!!!

Anonymous said...

comment-moderation=CENSORSHIP you're as bad as JS

Anonymous said...

consider this an e-mail-you're site is a fraud-you are probably posting from the Brewer office the only question is which BREWER STAFFER ARE YOU?

Anonymous said...

GregBrewer's campaign is every bit as phony as Naisy Dolar's. if one checks the "Brewer Blog" a very questionable "trip" to Israel is portrayed by "Greg",himself. Apparently,the sophisticated "world traveler"had never been to the "Holy Land",of such great importance to so many 50th warders(a pander,especially in a local election) and than never left the Arab part of East Jerusalem;this little multi-blog travelogue even has doctored pictures to accompany it.This is typical of the Brewer LIE campaign being orchestrated by his paid left-wing radical campaign team

Concerned Citizen said...

I stand by my decision to moderate comments - not censor - for the reasons expressed in my first post.

For those who accuse me of being a Brewer staffer... I'm at a loss for words. Did you read the conclusion of the post you are commenting on?

truthiness said...

I stand corrected: it's not a past version of Brewer's site that "rounds up" his international work into claiming he's "[built] comprehensive plans or entire countries" - it's his own website:

Greg Brewer's Bio Page

(Read the second to last paragraph)

And in case Brewer changes his tune about how much he has contributed to other countries, I'm preserving the webpage as-is here.

Anonymous said...

what does brewer's trip to israel got to do with the 50th ward? is that somewhat of an attempt to show he cares for people from the area?! ha, it's funny.

concerned citizen, can you discuss other issues going on with this ward's race? i'd like to learn more.

Anonymous said...

BREWER'S original bio claimed he was a leader in the building of "THE ISLAMIC UNIVERSITY IN MECCA,SAUDI ARABIA"-NOW HE HIDES THAT "ACHIEVEMENT"-HOW ANTI-AMERICAN MUST THAT WAHABI HATE FACTORY BE??!!!AND HIS CAMPAIGN IS RUN BY THE LEFT-WING 'BLAME AMERICA" HATE-MONGERS!!