As Lee LeFever has noted, mixing politics and education isn’t a good idea, though someone should break the news to people like Ward Churchill, who rant about their personal political views at taxpayer expense. (Come to think of it, I guess the governor of Colorado has communicated that to Churchill.)
That’s why, although I’ve been transparent about my previous work in politics, I’ve confined SMUG posts to analyzing how social media is being used by campaigns and is affecting this year’s elections. As Chancellor, I can’t be fired, but I also want to keep SMUG true to its educational mission. And frankly, I have a family and a very interesting and challenging day job that keep me fully occupied.
But last week my Dad, who is co-chair of the Mower County Republican Committee, asked me to help him by typing the text for a newspaper ad, I got an idea for something I thought would be much better.
Instead of a single ad that would run once or twice and would be limited in space and content, I suggested that he and his fellow activists start a blog and use a series of smaller ads on radio and in the local newspaper to promote it.
That way they could write in more depth about the issues that mattered to them, instead of settling for slogans that wouldn’t likely convince anyone, especially given their limited budget and the huge amounts being spent by the various candidates.
People who are active politically usually get involved because they have ideas about issues, and have something to say.
Until now, getting their ideas out usually meant sending a letter to the editor of the local newspaper or other traditional forms of political involvement.
Blogs and social media have changed all of that. Now they can publish their ideas to the world, unlimited by the word counts or political dispositions of newspaper editors.
And they can tell their stories through video by getting their own YouTube channel.
All things considered, if they can get on local TV or in the newspaper they still should do it, because the reach will be larger. But at least now they have an alternative.
I’m not sure whether I’ll be writing any posts on Dad’s new blog, but I will be using it to help illustrate and demonstrate some how-to tips that will be useful for all SMUGgles.
For instance, earlier this week I mapped Dad’s blog to a new domain, from sixissues.wordpress.com to sixbigissues.com (sixissues.com was taken.) And in the process I took screen shots that provided the basis for Blogging 305: Domain Mapping, which will help me illustrate how you can point your blog to a domain or subdomain of your choosing.
I plan to host a training session for Dad and his fellow activists on Saturday, when I return from North Carolina. We’ll be conducting it in the Lewis J. and LaVonne A. Aase Retreat Center, part of the SMUG North Annex.
So if you want to follow along as they learn how to blog, hopefully that will be helpful. And if, as this recent news suggests, surfing the Net helps senior citizens stay vital, blogging should be even better for Dad.