All this talk about VVP made me realize I haven't really explained how we use text clouds to show what's being discussed in any community at any given time. This tool helps you identify exactly when breaking news becomes yesterday's news, and they help you understand what (and who) is truly important. When you pool leading bloggers together into coherent and relevant communities, you can see the common threads of online opinion leaders by pushing their feeds through the same cloud generator. Here's how it can be used in Kentucky.
Earlier this week the Commonwealth ushered in a new Governor. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, defeated Ernie Fletcher, the Commonwealth's first Republican Governor in over 40 years. Kentucky's political blogosphere - a far more robust and sophisticated place than some might think - has had a lot to say about it.
Prominent local blogger Joe Sonka did me a solid and identified a list of top political bloggers in Kentucky. His list of Democratic blogs include The Bridge, Bluegrass Report, BlueGrass Roots, Ditch Mitch KY, Page One Kentucky, and Kentucky Women: Power, Passion and Politics. Here's what they were saying on Inauguration Day:
Kentucky Progress, Cyber Hillbilly, KYPolitics, Blue Grass Red State, and Osi Speaks. Here's their community cloud from Inauguration Day:
Democrats are obviously excited about the new Governor, but the focus of sustained discussion is clearly on the party's chances to unseat the US Senate's Republican Leader and on Democratic Challenger Andrew Horne. (Now that Horne has announced, the buzz will get bigger for him.)
Republicans have essentially stopped talking about Governor Fletcher, but they're noting that State Auditor Crit Luallen has already bowed out of a race against the Senator. They're also still talking about US presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani's visit to Louisville last week.
The Kentucky Senate seat will be one of the more closely-watched races in the United States in November, and the Kentucky political blogosphere will be one of the most important primary sources of information for voters and the media. People who want to stay ahead of the race will want to build relationships with these bloggers - the new "opinion elites" of Kentucky politics.
I'm thinking about updating the Kentucky clouds semi-regularly - and I'm open to ideas as to who else should be represented in them. I know Pol Watchers has a good list, and I'll probably start there. Any advice on who to include and opinions on what bloggers are saying is most welcome.