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Mark Penn And Karen Hughes To Keynote BlogWorld Expo

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For those of you who don’t know this already. I began this journey that is BlogWorld & New Media Expo as a political blogger. So today’s announcement about Mark Penn and Karen Hughes giving a Keynote Talk at BlogWorld has me all geeked up. From the old School press release:

Mark Penn, CEO Worldwide of Burson-Marsteller and CEO of Penn Schoen Berland, and Karen Hughes, Worldwide Vice Chairman of Burson-Marsteller, will feature a joint keynote presentation on the state of digital communications in politics. Their presentation will take place on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 9:00AM ET at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Mr. Penn and Ms. Hughes, the former chief message architects for President Clinton and President Bush respectively, will address results from a research study surrounding the use of social media in the 2010 U.S. House and Senate mid-term races, and present an analysis on emerging digital strategies within the political arena. Mr. Penn and Ms. Hughes will assess how top 2010 Republican and Democratic candidates utilize Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and texting in their campaigns, and how candidates integrate their messaging on their websites and social media platforms.

Having key presidential advisers to the last two sitting Presidents of the United States come and talk to a bunch of bloggers and social media geeks is a pretty big deal if you ask me. Love them or hate them, blogs like Powerline, Daily Kos, Pajamas Media, Talking Points Memo, Huffington Post, Hot Air and Michelle Malkin have changed the rules of American politics.

It was never more evident to me that the old guard of political power players had realized this than at the 2007 Yearly Kos Convention in Chicago. Every Presidential Candidate (including our current President Barack Obama) running for the Democratic nomination was on the stage together addressing a crowd of about 1,500 left leaning political bloggers and activists. The energy for the entire event was high. The bloggers knew they had real power. But I couldn’t help but notice the scattering of suits in the crowd. These were the political operators and you could see them trying to figure out what the hell these bloggers were up to, and how could they possibly direct them into supporting their particular candidate and use them for their advantage.

It was a striking juxtaposition.

This will be very interesting talk for news junkies like me as well as anyone interested the influence of the blogosphere and social media on politics and society as a whole. How are the 2010 mid term candidates using tools like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube?

How are they planning to utilize bloggers and other social influencers to win their respective elections?

What trends do they see for the 2012 Presidential election?

Do either the Democrats or Republicans have an advantage when it comes to new media?

Is the blogosphere a dangerous wild card for a Senator, Congressmen, or President to play?

Blogs Receive More Clout Than Ever in 2008 Presidential Campaign

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Presidential candidates began courting political bloggers before the 2008 nomination race even got started. Virtually every candidate hired bloggers on staff. Some successfully and some not so much. Many set up conference calls with bloggers (McCain has excelled here). Both the RNC and DNC are allowing bloggers access to the show floor during their national conventions.

For those who are able to navigate the many minefields of the Blogosphere these efforts result in millions in online donations and of course turning voters out to the polls and caucuses.

Arguably the two candidates most attuned to the Blogosphere during this presidential campaign were presumptive nominees John McCain and Barak Obama (notice the video?). Obama has certainly benefited the most from social media having raised $45 million dollars online in one month!. He has more followers on Twitter (31,000+) than anyone including Bloggerati Rock Stars like Robert Scoble and Jason Calacanis. Mommie and Techy bloggers regularly tweet and post on his behalf. Obama has near 850,000 members on his Facebook fan site and a huge presence on MySpace (though many of those friends may not be old enough to vote). Who can forget the Viral Videos from Obama Girl (nine million views!); which had more than a small part in raising national awareness and elevating Obama’s candidacy to legitimate contender status.

McCain on the other hand has a distinguished military career, has made many trips to Iraq and constantly praises the men and women serving in our armed forces earning him the respect of Milbloggers.

Now the McCain campaign in following with it’s overall strategy of reaching out to voters beyond his base is reaching out to left leaning blogs and even non-political blogs. Here is an excerpt from a Washington Times article on Friday.

Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign is trying to tap a new audience of potential voters by taking his campaign message straight to liberal and nonpolitical issues-based blogs, which reach millions of readers but don’t often delve into conservative politics.

The strategy was in full swing yesterday when Mr. McCain invited non-conservative bloggers to join his regular blogger conference call, just hours after he delivered a major speech previewing his war strategy and other priorities for a first presidential term.

These candidates are both going to continue to seek the support of the Blogosphere and their tens of millions of readers. They are wise to do so. Bloggers and their readers vote. For the candidate that does it right, it just might mean the difference between winning and losing the Presidency.

PS. A couple of months ago I was joking with someone that Obama might be the first President to Tweet the State of the Union Address. I might not have been that far off.

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