Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Both Party Websites Highlight Blogs

The influence of blogs on partisan discourse is nowhere clearer than on the official websites of both major political parties. The Republican Party website puts its blog on the right bar, higher up on the page than the Democrats. The blog actually indexes many headings conventionally associated with the opposition: "African-Americans," "Asian-Americans," and "Social Security" among others. The Republican Party site also uses multimedia more prominently on its opening page, and its current video offering features past clips from Democratic talking heads on the Iraq war. Irony is an important trope on the Republican Party site, as is appeal to external authority.

The Republican party chairman is considerably less visible in the cyber frontage than rival Howard Dean who dominates the Democratic page. As to the Democrat's blog, it seems to have fewer genuine links -- particularly to news sources -- than the Republican blog (which I would consider a tactical error, given the rising prominence of heavily linked blogs with less editorial content that has been recorded in recent research studies). It also highlights a technical feature that many blog readers use, XML, in keeping with the party's technocratic reputation. The blog roll of ideologically similar blogs is much more prominently placed on the Democratic page and individual posters seem to have a much lower profile when compared to the Republicans (which I consider another tactical error, given how important original content is to readers who are turned off by blogs of other blogs without fresh news).


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