home : best of bloggerheads : photoshopping : rupert murdoch : mps and weblogs : email

Write To Your Senator Today

(So You Can Leave Comments On Their Weblog Tomorrow)

June 2003

Weblogs are about to play a very important role in politics. Currently, there is no weblog format available at senate.gov (where all senators must publish). This means that any senator wishing to take advantage of the weblog format needs to do so via an outside party or interest group. Not a good situation, as it rules out the most important aspect of a weblog; the observations of (and interaction with) an individual.

For a weblog format to be considered, investigated, chosen and eventually cleared and included for use at senate.gov, a request needs to be made to the Senate Rules Committee. Such a request will need to come from at least three senators before any action will be taken.

If you would like to live in a world where you can hear from and react to the actions and thoughts of your senator via the weblog format, then you need get in touch with them and make it happen. Today.

You can quickly and quietly look up relevant contact details at this page.

Write a letter. Now. Do not put it off until tomorrow, or it Won't. Get. Done.

Hints, Tips and Polite Requests

- Write a letter instead of an email. Letters get read. Emails, often, do not. Ignore the irony; just write the damn letter. Then print it out and put it in an envelope (tip: you might need to fold the letter so it fits in the envelope). Then address the envelope and stick a postage stamp in the top right-hand corner. Then drop the whole shebang in a mailbox. I know it sounds awfully complicated, but I'm sure that you're up to the challenge. ;o)

- Your chosen senator will need to be informed that a weblog facility does not currently exist at senate.gov, so they and a number of other senators will have to request it.

- Make sure that your senator realises the importance of personal interaction. This impetus is all-important. They need to realise that a weblog comprised entirely of doctored spin and dry press releases will do them - and us - no good at all.

- Point out to your senator that politicians have (shock!) actually had to adapt to new technology in the past. Radio and television are very good examples of this. Early adopters who did this right benefited enormously, but those who came in late or tried to apply old methods to a new channel usually failed. The weblog format calls, of course, for a significant level of personal interaction (see above).

- Point out to your senator the many ways they stand to benefit. The following links have been provided to give you some ammunition (but please feel free to include and send in anything else you find that may be useful and/or of more relevance):
Why Politicians Need Weblogs
Comments on the first weblog of a British MP
Blogging comes of age in US online politics
Howard Dean Raises $1M Via Internet
Comments on a Larry Lessig speech referencing weblogs and the resulting 'explosion' of political discussion
What makes a weblog a weblog?

- After you've written your letter, you may also choose to link to this page so others can find out about this important campaign.

- After you've written your letter, you may also choose to blog it (or extracts from it). Nothing inspires people quite like watching someone else actually get off their arse.

- Finally, if you don't live in the States, don't understand what the hell weblogs are, or can't string two words together to save your life, then you may wish to ask someone else to consider taking action on your behalf.

That's pretty much it. Rolling updates will be published regularly at my weblog and in edited form at Can Weblogs Go To Washington?

What are you still hanging around here for? You have a letter to write. Get cracking!