Interesting article about Howard Dean and blogging in the Online Journalism Review. Major theme: yeah, Howard Dean has a blog, but it’s not like he is really telling us anything meaningful about himself.
Okay, that’s probably true. And so, what to make of this?
I think a lot of us Internet Groupies (i.e. people who are very Internet-aware) ache for a politician to grab the cyberpulpit and speak to us in a human voice. One group of us effusively embrace a politician like Dean for no reason other than he has a strong web-presence. We don’t care that Dean isn’t revealing his inner soul through his blog. It’s enough that he’s got one.
On the other hand, there’s a group of Internet Groupies who despair that Dean isn’t giving us more of the personal touch. We are ashamed that he isn’t as committed to his blog as perhaps he should be.
I guess I’m more in the former camp. I agree with Rick Klau’s statement, which is quoted in the aforementioned article: “I don’t particularly care about whether the CEO has a blog. The CEO typically has plenty of avenues to have a voice; it’s the people who are doing the work underneath the CEO whose voices I want to hear.”
A provocative statement there by Rick.
Most people would reflexively dismiss the notion that there is advantage in hearing the voices of people who surround a CEO. Obviously, it would be nice to hear the CEO blog about his personal insights. And same with a major political candidate like Howard Dean.
Yes, it would be nice.
But that ain’t going to happen anytime soon my friends. It will take a special person indeed to pull that off (Clinton could do it, but then again maybe not because things like typing skills start to matter to someone who wants to write a blog).
More often than not head honchos actually derive an advantage from having their message communicated through underlings and loyal functionaries. If you don’t understand why that is the case then you are missing something essential about how politics and business operate. And if you hope to change something then it behooves you to understand what forces operate to keep things the way they are.
But maybe you don’t want to create change. Maybe you just wish things were different, and that politicians would write their own blog posts. Yeah, me too. I wish a lot of things were different than they are.
Hopefully, I’ll live long enough to see some of the changes I yearn for actually occur. Like the Saints winning the Superbowl. Hey, I might as well dream big.