June 2, 2007

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SO I SPOKE THIS AFTERNOON at a program put on by the University of Tennessee’s Howard Baker Center for Public Policy, about political campaigning and the online world.

The audience was mostly local political types and journalists, and it was interesting to see the dramatic increase in web- and blog-literacy among all the participants. Several of the people there were already blogging, and most everybody seemed generally familiar with the subject and the area blogs.

Still, there were people who were surprised that you could set up a blog for free with Blogger.com — I guess that just seems like too good a deal to be true.

One interesting thing, though, was a question about voters — most people who vote in local elections are over 45, and some people wondered if any of them would read blogs. I noted that the characterization of bloggers and blog-readers as “tech-savvy youth” is pretty much bogus, with the bulk of blog readers, or at least political blog readers, being well over 30. That blog stereotype is one of those media tropes that seems immune to the facts. At any rate, if people over 45 are the ones most interested in local politics, then that’s who’ll be reading local politics blogs.

Surfing the web isn’t that hard. People of all ages can do it. And do!

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