When it comes to innovative uses of the Net in this race, Howard Dean's campaign seized the lead early -- and evidently aims to keep it. The latest new twist from the political team that forced newscasters everywhere to get their lips around the funny-sounding word "blog" is a Web page called Bloggerstorm -- a compilation of feeds from blogs and bloggers on the ground in Iowa during this final stretch of caucus-mania.
What's most interesting here is the Dean camp's stated willingness to include feeds from bloggers who aren't Dean supporters: "The idea is simply to provide a clearinghouse for in-the-trenches coverage of the caucuses as only blogs can provide," Bloggerstorm's introduction states.
Sites that aggregate feeds from multiple sources are increasingly common -- they're relatively easy to construct from any blog or site that offers an RSS feed (as, by the way, Salon's War Room '04 will, soon!). But it's still rare for a political campaign to circulate material that isn't subject to a loyalty test -- to show some understanding that exposing supporters to multiple points of view is inevitable, and even healthy.
Since Bloggerstorm has only been live a little while, it may be unfair to point out that, as I write this, the page is largely dominated by pro-Dean posts. So two cheers for Dean's experiment; he'll deserve three when Bloggerstorm actually displays some items critical of the Dean effort.