TechPresident.com tracks the websites

Social networks, YouTube, campaign as "conversation" ... a new blog details the nuts and bolts of what candidates are doing with the Internet in '08.

With John Edwards, Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama offering various levels of citizen interaction on their websites and campaigns, it's only natural that a blog has sprung up to cover the emergence of Politics 2.0 sites. TechPresident.com is a blog dedicated to tracking the technical, social networking and various Web 2.0 features of the primary campaigns, notes the New York Times.

Unlike most politics sites, techpresident.com will be the online equivalent of a trade magazine, aimed at political professionals who need to keep up with the Internet and technology executives involved in creating the tools they use. A group blog with a dozen contributors, it is an extension of Personal Democracy Forum, an online publishing and conference business owned by an Internet entrepreneur, Andrew Raseij.

In classic blog fashion, the site includes campaign photos uploaded to Flickr, the number of friends the candidates have on MySpace and Facebook, and plenty of tagging.

“We think there’s a big story here — not only how the campaigns will make use of all of this technology, but how the voters will generate content,” said Micah Sifry, the editor of the site as well as Personal Democracy Forum. “It’s the lateral connecting among voters that is the wild card.”

Will the blog get farm basket readers from Iowa and New Hampshire? Probably not. But the audience is surely bigger than those actually employed by campaigns. The blogosphere breeds lots of self-appointed experts about politics and the "right" way to build websites.

“This is still a niche market,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project. But those in that niche now pay close attention to technology. “There is now an expectation that something new will happen, equivalent to YouTube in 2006, and it will really matter,” Mr. Rainie said.

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