Blogging, as a means to give every disenfranchinesed individual a mouthpiece, has grown to encompass cities far beyond Silicon Valley. Take Greensboro, North Carolina, for example. The local City Manager recently met with a group of individuals who had a few complaints about how the city operations were being run. What did they have in common? They were all bloggers, for one.
For a full 90 minutes they peppered him with some seemingly legitimate questions while others made outright accusations about inappropriate usage of funds. Regardless of the details of the manager’s tenure in office, what’s fascinating is how entirely legitimate and grass roots blogging has become — and in particular, political blogging — that such a meeting would take place.
Many institutions are grappling with how “new media” or “social media” is affecting how the public perceives them; the US presidential race has been quite eager to embrace it, as evidenced by Barack Obama’s own version of “myspace”, and four years ago, with Howard Dean’s efforts directly through blogging. However, what remains to be seen is how political leaders at local levels are dealing with this kind of phenomenon, and how fast any of them are adopting similar strategies. The stakes might not be as high, but its clear that as a process for energizing political tensions, it can’t be ignored.