Sweetster's students took a look at how well campaign blogs speak to potential voters. I know the folks at techPresident have weighed in on this, but I think it's great they looked at it from a dispassionate, academic perspective. From the release:
And as any good student of social media would, they have a pdf of the paper and a podcast describing the results (found at the link above).
From their study, the group found that Democratic candidates made up 65 percent of the sample, which indicates that the Democratic Party has embraced blogs as a campaign tactic more than Republicans since the 2004 election. They also found
that presidential candidates displayed the most dialogic features, which they attributed to the money, manpower and voter base behind high-level campaigns. Those running for Senate and governor came next followed by House candidates.
The team chose to investigate the dialogic capacity of campaign blogs due to their interest in the upcoming presidential election. "We wanted to see how well presidential candidates used new Internet features to relate to potential voters," said Holly Stiles, a junior public relations and speech communication major from Murphy, N.C. "We started with the presidential race and then it just grew from there."
I've had some great conversations with Dr. Deborah Chung, a professor here in Lexington at the University of Kentucky who studies social media and journalism, and I seem to recall her singing the praises of Russell and Sweetster. Seems their students have some mad social media skilz too.
And I hope when those students graduate they send me their resumes.