Sunday, January 22, 2006

Why Politicos Should Blog

Are you running for office? Are you already in office? Do you aspire to run for office? Are you a politician?

You should have a blog.

"Why have a blog," you may wonder. The reason is simple. A blog is direct voice to voters and to the press.

Obviously, you want to get your message across to as many people as you can with the least expense. You just turned in your campaign expenses thus far. I bet some of your money may have gone to ads in the papers, signs, and maybe some TV or radio. Then there are the push cards and other material that tell people your position.

The only drawback to all of these is that you have to keep buying them. Even when you get free press, you have to be careful what you say lest you be misquoted. If you are misquoted, you have to spend the next day doing damage control. Then you have to spend more time getting out the message you wanted in the first place.

A blog can't eliminate the problems entirely, but it does put you in greater control. For instance, by writing here tonight, I am reaching an audience of readers who come back to see what kind of harebrained thoughts I have about events in the RGV. If you are a politician, people can just go to your site to find out what you are doing. Of course, you need to update your blog frequently, otherwise don't bother. My point is, those voters who visit your blog, will visit frequently because they care about your job. One great example is Rep. Aaron Pena's blog. When Congress is in session, he keeps us informed about what's going on in Austin. There is no filtered press or delayed reports. You get it straight from the floor (or his office).

Once you have your blog, you can tell people where you will be so they can meet you. You can post your latest thoughts on a issue that affects your office. If you are misquoted, you can say so on your blog and make the correction right away without having to go back to the press. A blog allows you to get feedback from your constituents via comments. Your constituents can tell you exactly what they think. Even if a voter disagrees with you, at least you are aware of what issues could cause problems for you. Perhaps you get positive comments.

Even at the county level, a blog is not a bad idea. A blog shows a record of your accomplishments during your term. Your opponents can't say that you did not do anything because you'll have an online record of what you achieved in your term. If you have challanges stopping you from reaching your goals, a blog can attract suggestions from the public or even attract help from somebody who can help you solve your problem.

Of course, a blog is not for everybody. Shady individuals should probably not do it. You'll trip yourself up at some point.

I believe that if you are a public official, you are better off blogging. You can't beat a direct connection to the public. Within seconds of posting, the world will know what you think, what you are doing, what you want to do, or what you got done. What you write is up to you. You control the message. If you are a politico, go on and sign up for a blog. You won't regret it.
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