Dean Fails It - wednesday 2004-01-28 0522 last modified 2004-01-28 0632
Categories: Nerdy, Daily Grind
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Clay Shirky (he of the Semantic Web sucks post) asserts that Howard Dean's web campaign was one of the reasons for his downfall.

I agree with Shirky, this time around. But for different reasons. I don't think this phenomenon of perceived success is unique to Dean's campaign or to his campaign's Internet presence. Anybody remember the fantastic photo of Truman carrying a paper with the blaring headline Dewey Defeats Truman? The public is told by the media, be it TV or web, who's in the lead until the day of the vote, where the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and it turns out John Kerry is the actual leader. By listening to the self-proclaimed experts, the minority hears only itself while the predominantly silent majority goes along their merry way and re-elects Bush for another term (caveat: not a reflection of my own voting preferences, merely a prediction).

The web only serves to make this selective hearing problem worse. Not two-thirds of this country's population subscribes to an ISP; I'm sure only a fraction of those know what a blog is and even less of those remaining that Dean's campaign has one. While the Dean fanatics reached out and touched each other across their web of blogs and MeetUp and entered into a black hole of positive feedback, Kerry's campaign reached out to actual Iowans and New Hampshirites (or whatever they might call themselves). The kind that actually vote.

Maybe when the voting process moves to the web campaigns like Dean's will succeed. Until then -- too bad, former Governor Dean. The moral of the story? Stop hanging out with people who agree with you all the time, particularly if the two key things are A) blogging is great and B) Dean is great.

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