Open-Source Me

Chuck Olsen takes the first-person doc into the blogosphere

CP:You talked to Matthew Gross, the "blogger-in-chief" of the Howard Dean campaign, which used the internet and blogging in unique ways this election cycle. How do you think history will write the story of Dean and his internet "revolution"?

Olsen: I come down very strongly on the side that regular people decided they were going to get involved in a political campaign to a level that was absolutely revolutionary.

CP:But wasn't there also an element of a dot-com political bubble-bursting? The campaign imploded in the end.

Olsen: I agree with [Dean's campaign manager] Joe Trippi that this wasn't a dot-com bubble burst: It was a dot-com miracle. The entire process of choosing an elected official was so much more open than anything we have had in the past. Most of the criticisms that people have about the Dean campaign are no different than what happens in all political campaigns. People are in an echo chamber offline as much as they were online. Because the Dean campaign opened itself up to criticisms, it became more of a conversation. It was so much better at involving people in the process in a way they weren't involved before. It allowed anybody to feel like they were part of the campaign. One could go in an Add Comments [section] and it could give a whole new perspective on an issue. As a reader, you are more participatory with this medium. Even if you don't have a blog, it's more active because you can leave comments behind. During the Dean campaign, there were people who left comments on the Dean for America blog, and they thought of those comments as their blog. In a way, they were right.

CP:Do you think we should have more blogs?

Olsen: Lots of people don't want or need a cell phone, and lots of people have no use for a blog. I'd like everyone who has something to say to start a blog. Author Sandra Cisneros said, "You can never have too much sky." Blogs connect people, so you can never have too much blog.

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