The Blogger welcome breakfast turned out to be a star-studded event. Illinois Senate candidate and rising star Barack Obama made an appearance, welcomed all of us and even asked for any tips about how to improve his own blog (in a room full of bloggers, the answer to that question is always “Add a link to my site.”)
Then Howard Dean showed up, spoke and took questions for nearly a half hour. Dean, in many ways was at the forefront of the merging of politics and the web and he displayed his own blogging savvy by asking us all to provide a link to his site. Dean suggested that the one message of his campaign that still hasn’t been effectively picked up by any other candidate is the importance of the two way dialogue that can evolve when a campaign uses blogging and other community building tools. “The critical lesson that has not been learned is that you need to create a living discussion.”
I do see a strong connection between the rise blogging and the possibilities for what I’d call an internet candidate. Sure, Dean made a major splash via the net, but he was already a governor with a significant and growing political machine.
Could a candidate actually first appear and then breakout (not all the way to office, but all the way to getting some serious attention) simply by creating a web following? It sounds unlikely, but consider that as of this week, several major pubs are offering up blogs that will compete with those run by individuals. The media mountain has come to my Mac.
Here are the snapshots from this morning’s breakfast. You’ll see Obama, Dean and proof that at least for a few minutes before things officially began, bloggers were the story (that’s them being interviewed in the picts).