Website campaigning and Agenda Setting

Recently, I revisited a topic in a grad school class that I'd first touched on in my undergraduate senior paper, which I wrote back in the fall of 2003: Media agenda setting and the use of the Internet.

In the class, I wrote a journal article review of The impact of web site campaigning on traditional news media and public information processing, written by Kaid, Ku, and Pfau, and published in 2003 in the Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly journal. They argue that the attention given to the usage of the Internet in setting public agendas, both by providing information to media outlets and directly through the voters, has lagged behind its growth and has provided far less critical understanding of how the Internet influences the media and public than more traditional methods of communication, such as television advertising and media relations.

Nearly ten years after the take-off of the Internet, its ability to influence the public is still poorly understood. This is one reason why as recently as 2004, we see campaigns learning how to best utilize the Internet via trial-and-error processes that have resulted in both amazing innovation as well as brilliant failures, with the best example of both to be found in the high-flying crash of Howard Dean's short-lived Presidential campaign.

Unlike most campaigns who fail to ever effectively utilize the Internet, Dean's campaign managed to do some groundbreaking work, such as revolutionizing fundraising and organizing activists via their campaign website. However, these amazing steps forward were for naught, as Dean's campaign quickly crashed with the initial Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, squandered a tremendous war-chest, and capitalize on a tremendous volunteer base. In spite of their many advantages, many of which can be attributed to their pionnering use of the Internet, Dean's campaign vanished while the Democratic contest for the 2004 Presidential nomination continued for several weeks between Clark, Edwards and Kerry.

From the failure of Dean's campaign, we find valuable lessons to be learned. Their innovative use of the Internet is well worth studying and duplicating. However, I believe that understanding how to more consistently and effectively integrate a campaign's Internet efforts with more traditional aspects of campaigns, while avoiding the duplication of their failures, is just as important.

For those of you who want to read what I wrote, here's the link.

Today's Thought

If you know someone suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, then get help. For those who have the courage to change, there is help, and there can be peace.

Every time I look in the mirror, I like who and what I see. I hope you can say the same.

Kenneth, what is the frequency?

Clyburn to abandon "Bridge to Nowhere", credits GOP activist

(Rotter's News Service) Lone Star, South Carolina: In a surprise move, Jim Clyburn (D-Cool place on Lake Marion), a top-ranking Congressional Democrat from South Carolina, announced his intention to abandon his push to secure funding to construct a bridge across Lake Marion.

While this move was welcomed by environmental groups, as well as some Republican leaders, the South Carolina General Assembly stunned the state with their swift action in proclaiming the location of the now-abandoned bridge the "Mike Reino Memorial Nothing", in recognition of Reino's efforts to spearhead opposition to the proposed bridge.

"South Carolina has named overpasses and even sidewalks after people, including many living people," said Ima Pervhurt, a political analyst with the consulting firm Dewey, Sticumgood, and Howe. "When you look at it that way, maybe it's not as strange to name an empty void after someone."

Senator Robert Ford, a Charleston Democrat, suggested the naming may have been a consolation prize. "That district was specially constructed to ensure the election of even Donald Duck, or even me, if either were to the Democratic nominee," Ford said. "All I can say is that Mike Reino had better enjoy the moment, because he's gonna get his clock cleaned this fall running in the Sixth District."

The political fallout was swift and wide-reaching. Ralph Nader abandoned plans to seek the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination, and opted to seek the GOP nod for the White House. "For a long time, I thought the Democrats were the earth-friendly crowd", Nader explained. "But when it turns out that a top-ranking Democrat is spearheading proposals like that, obviously, I was on the wrong side all along."

This was followed by a large wave of defections of eleted Republicans in South Carolina. "Many of those who are switching have low scores with environmental groups," explained Pervhurt. "They see Clyburn's support for the bridge project, in defiance of environmental groups who made up the party's base, as an indication that the Democratic Party is the real home for those who want to slash-and-burn, and destroy the environment."

"I was assured that the signs will be placed where nobody can find them, just like the bridge," said Reino. "I guess that makes sense - the bridge project vanished without a trace, so will the signs."

The Headless Children - WASP review

After years of wanting to, I finally caught these guys on tour last fall ... WOWWWWW. Blackie Lawless is as intense as he seemed back then, with a flair for the dramatic.

A couple of days ago, I finally got around to purging my 120 CD car case, changing out some CDs with ones I hadn't listened to in a while.

One of those albums was the 1989 album by WASP, entitled The Headless Children. After years of being put square in the crosseyes of Tipper Gore's PMRC, WASP decided to strike back with an album that included themes just as controversial as their past albums, but with a lot more depth and the drums of Frankie Banali of Quiet Riot fame.

For those of you who just have to know, I owned albums with eight of the PMRC's top fifteen most controversial songs ... and look how I turned out. Ok, maybe don't look!

At any rate, this album has absolutely ROCKED! I had to spend a lot of time on the road with work as of late, and had that album cranked up as loud as I've ever played it. Also, a lot of fans and metal critics felt this was their best album ever recorded. Overall, I tend to agree. Great production, thoughtful lyrics, but with all the pure power, drama, and primal rage that is at the heart of much of WASP's music over the years.

Yep, that's Blackie Lawless with his Deaths Head mic stand creation that graced the center of the stage on this '05 tour. What the heck is that called anyway?

Ok, 'nuff said for now ... the links are there, so go check it out for yourself.

10 Worst Presidential moments

A story today talked about the presentation of the ten "worst Presidential moments". This was announced at a conference of presidential scholars, which was held at the University of Louisville's McConnell Center. They listed these moments as:

  1. President James Buchanan's failure to do more to prevent the secession of the southern states during his Presidency in the 1850s.
  2. President Andrew Johnson's post-Civil War decision to side with southern whites and not push for efforts to improve civil rights for freed slaves.
  3. President Lyndon Johnson's allowing the Vietnam War to escalate (neither President Johnsons had much luck in office - strange).
  4. President Wilson's refusal to compromise on the Treaty of Versailles after World War I.
  5. President Nixon's Watergate cover-up.
  6. President Madison's inability to keep the US out of war with Britain, leading to the War of 1812.
  7. President Jefferson's self-imposed embargo of European trade in 1807, during the Napoleonic Wars.
  8. President Kennedy allowing the Bay of Pigs invasion attempt, for fueling escalation which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  9. President Reagan and the Iran-Contra affair (I always felt he was trapped, and would've taken a lot of criticism had he NOT pursued efforts to trade arms for the American hostages).
  10. Last but not least ... Clinton and Lewinsky.
Your thoughts?

Queensryche Tour 2006 info

Following the release of their sequel album to Operation Mindcrime, they will be hitting the road this summer and fall. Here's what I know about their tour, as announced to fan club members:

The show is "A Evening with Queensryche"meaning no opening act. It’s a two part show featuring Operation: Mindcrime for the first act, and Operation: Mindcrime II for the second. I’m told that the show will also feature a full production, actors and the like. It will also have the surround sound again, as well as many new exciting additions (we won’t give those away just yet).

Here are their just-announced tour dates:

Aug-25 Fri Lake Buena Vista, Florida House of Blues
Aug-26 Sat Lake Buena Vista, Florida House of Blues
Sep-03 Sun Myrtle Beach, SC House Of Blues
Sep-06 Wed Kansas City, MO Uptown Theater
Sep-14 Thu Chicago, Illinois House of Blues
Sep-15 Fri Chicago, Illinois House of Blues
Sep-16 Sat Chicago, Illinois House of Blues
Sep-21 Thu New York, New York Nokia Live
Sep-22 Fri New York, New York Nokia Live
Sep-25 Mon San Antonio, TX Majestic
Sep-26 Tue Houston, TX Verizon Theater
Sep-27 Wed Dallas, TX Nokia Live
Sep-29 Fri Denver, CO Filmore
Oct-03 Tue Phoenix, AZ Dodge Theatre
Oct-04 Wed San Diego, CA Humphrey's
Oct-05 Thu Los Angeles, CA Gibson Amthitheatre
Oct-11 Wed San Francisco, California Warfield
Oct-12 Thu Portland, OR Roseland
Oct-13 Fri Seattle, WA Moore Theater
Oct-14 Sat Seattle, WA Moore Theater

... and you can bet I WILL be going!

Confronted by profound intellect

I don't know where this email came from last night, but I'll bet his mother is real proud of him:

-----Original Message-----
From: timothy.yeamancarter []
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 7:01 PM

of everything on earth I love to fart really loud the most.

London's Calling

The last few days I've been listening to the 25th anniversary re-release of The Clash's groundbreaking London Calling album.

The new version includes a second audio CD of studio rehearsal recordings and a video DVD with good background material on the album.

While punk, especially in the late 70s and early 80s when The Clash were out there, the music was about rebellion, and challenging the full range of what was considered "establishment", including political, economic and cultural. Certainly, they'd never have envisioned their music crossing over into mainstream, with the title track being used in a television ad for a British liquor product as well as in Die Another Day, the most recent James Bond movie.

With punk attitude and stripped down guitars, combined with some very interesting reggae influences, the album's style reverberated through the sounds of The Police, and through a whole wide range of punk and ska bands, and was one of the earliest examples of punk's independent DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit branching out beyond just punk rock itself.

Don't just take my word for it - go buy the album. Trust me - it's WORTH IT!

Political bias in academia?

Ok, time to open up a can of worms here by referring to his recent article at discussed political biases among academic faculty. This article was linked from the recent addition of Spectra, the newsletter from the National Communication Association, the big academic association I'm a member of.

In academia, I haven't kept my general right-wing inclinations a secret, nor was a spat with a couple of left-wing profs during my undergrad time exactly low-key, which I survived. That incident aside, I've not had a single problem with faculty in my field, at my college as well as other schools and academic associations.

Part of the problem, in my humble opinion, is in how things have become overly-politicized. While I think the political Left deserves much of the blame for this, I feel the Right does much the same thing. A lot of subjects that I deal with don't have a political position, and even when they have, I've never been penalized for speaking out and expressing my point of view, so long as I could qualify my opinion through a well-constructed argument, and do so with respect for those who held differing views.

In school, I've made a lot of friends and associations with a wide range of people, including liberal Democratic students and faculty, and along the way became persona non grata with the campus College Republicans, in spite of my long resume of political work in the GOP. Simply put, political views never got in the way, and to be honest, they were rarely ever relevant to my academic work.

My senior project on Political Communication and the Internet was an analytical work that didn't examine one side of the other of the partisan divide. As part of that project, I had a lot of help from a faculty member who was a past State Democratic Party director, who I have a lot of respect for and whose help was invaluable, as well as the campus College Democrats who provided the manpower to staff the seminar that was the centerpiece of the senior project.

Consistent with the findings of that article, I believe there are a lot of faculty who are on the political left on campus, especially in my department, but also that regardless of where they feel they fit in, a lot of faculty are decidedly free-thinkers who don't entirely fit well into any political mold. Considering my views, which are farily right on a lot of issues, except where I turn moderate on social issues (except for being very much opposed to liberalized abortion), I tend to think pretty freely myself.

So, to summarize, I agree with the findings of the article that in academia, especially in a liberal arts field like mine, a Republican is going to be in the minority. But I've never really found that to be a problem in my world, and I've even found the diversity of opinions very refreshing.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Sorry I haven't been posting lately (in case anyone is reading), but it's been rather hectic lately and I've been rather busy. Let's see ... what have ya'll missed ... ?

Last week, I had my first two meetings with the Trident Workforce Investment Board. One of the board, and one of the Marketing Committee, to which I was assigned. It's gonna be a lot of work, to say the least, but I'm looking forward to being able to serve my community and help do something to improve the Lowcountry's workforce.

My advisor sent back some revisions on my Iconography paper, which I made, then submitted it for the NCA conference. He seems pretty confident this will be my second presentation & publication. Since this was my first project done completely independently of a class, and my first work to include personal narratives, I felt like I was groping in the dark on this one, but he seemed impressed with the final result of my work.

Dr. Westerfelhaus has been amazingly supportive since my junior year of my undergrad. He was a non-traditional student, like myself, who went back to school, and has pushed and guided me along the last three years. My first graduate award is due in large part to his setting, and holding me to, high standards that he believed I was capable of, for which I am eternally grateful.

Had a cookout at my house Saturday, with a whole pack of friends, in addition to having four girls staying over the whole weekend. I'm still recovering and the party lights are still hanging up on the porch. Thanks to everyone who took the time to attend.

It's nice to do these things every 3 or 4 months, if nothing else, they push me to get my house in order.

This week, with some luck, will be a little more sedate, so I can start thinking and blogging again.


Trident Workforce Investment Board

Tomorrow, I’ll attend my first meeting of the Trident Workforce Investment Board.

The WIB oversees a number of federal and state-funded job training and youth development programs in the Charleston metro area, in addition to the
“One-Stop” centers in which the Unemployment people partner with other agencies and local businesses to provide employment assistance as well as career development and educational opportunities. This board oversees these programs, and approves grants to help support worthwhile initiatives in the area.

I was appointed to the seat representing Dorchester County the day before I was going to withdraw my name from consideration, due to the overload of other commitments I’ve already taken on. Just my luck.

As issues related to economic and workforce development are very important to me, I look forward to serving on this board and helping make our workforce more attractive for employers, to help recruit new business, as well as help support existing local businesses to our area.

I’ve been warned this committee is a working group, with no pay for my time, few opportunities to gain public recognition, but plenty of work to do. That’s my idea of a community service opportunity – we should be ready and willing to serve our communities without worrying about compensation or personal gain of any kind.

Go see Pedro at South of the Border

Back from some time off, and my best birthday present of all was peace and quiet. Now, I'm back in the swing of things and feel great.
I've got a busy week coming up, so I'm going to take a break from the deep and thoughtful stuff to throw out a little cheese for ya'll: Pedroland, the website for South of the Border.
South of the Border is a great place to stop on Interstate 95, just below the NC/SC state line full of cheesy stuff that is quintessential Americana. Those of you who've traveled I-95 have seen the place (you can't miss the Sombrero tower, and billboards lined up for hundreds of miles north and south of the joint along I-95).
If you're traveling 95, go check it out. If you're anywhere near, it's well worth the sidetrip!

Mission Accomplished

After a month of struggle, my paper on iconography is now complete. I'll print it, and set it aside, and when I get back Sunday evening, review it, revise it, send it to my advisor, and submit it for the NCA conference. But for now, it's time to finish packing my car and to hit the road.
I may be fried out and tired, but at least it's over. Thanks to those of you who helped along the way or followed the trials and tribulations. Those of you who haven't helped, and have made this ordeal more of one ... well, take a guess what I'd like to say to ya'll.
Whereever you are, and whatever you're doing, have a great weekend.

Happy Birthday to me

My birthday is Sunday (February 5th).

I'm turning 35 ... but I don't know if that's good or bad.
Ya'll be sure to send me something for my birthday - cash preferred.

For my birthday, I'm gonna pack the car, and then hit the road so that I can run away and hide for the weekend. I promise to have a good time, but sorry, no postcards for ya'll.

Thanks for visiting and reading-
please be sure to have a great weekend.

Iconography paper: An update and preview

For those who may be wondering how my year-long research project into Iconograhy in South Carolina is progressing ... well, it's about 85% done, with an evening or two left to incorporate the remaining personal narratives. The paper will be entitled:
Messengers of faith and tradition: The semiotic role of religious icons as messengers of faith and traditions among Eastern Christians in contemporary South Carolina
For a sneak preview, here is the abstract of the paper:

This study will examine the process in which Eastern Christian religious images, known as icons, serve as symbols which communicate messages related to faith and traditions for Eastern Christians who reside in contemporary South Carolina. This is informed by research in the field of semiotics which studies the assignment of meanings to visual images, which allows those objects to convey messages important to those associated with a given culture, is studied. Using research from published sources, as well as personal interviews and on-site visits with clergy and parishioners of faith communities of Eastern Christians in South Carolina, an examination is made of how religions icons serve to in maintain and express the spiritual faith of Eastern Christians in contemporary South Carolina.

To keep from boring ya'll to death, I will refrain from posting my conclusion, except to say that my research took me, as it often will, in directions which I did not anticipate. Not only did the narratives reinforce the empirical research which validated icons as communicative messengers, but it actually suggested there may be a broader role for them to play in our increasingly-visual society.
The next-to-final draft will be done Monday for review by my faculty advisor before it is submitted to the National Communication Association for consideration for their 2006 annual conference, to be held in San Antonio, Texas.
Stay tuned ...