September 5, 2007

Lawton Chiles, Blogging Pioneer

Nowadays, you can be wake up a U.S. senator, get "Youtubed" in the morning, hold a press conference to deny the rumors at 1PM, admit fault at 3PM, resign at 5PM, and go home with head hung low at 6PM. All thanks to the internet.

But going "viral" with a campaign message and playing the free media game didn't start with Youtube. It didn't start with the internet even. It started before CNN.

In my mind, the 1970 Chiles U.S. Senate campaign's plan to send out snippets of the "Walkin' Notes" to supporters and media outlets represents one of the first attempts at a blog.

The Notes are what a campaign blog should be. Short, thoughtful, quirky, funny. It's all you need to know Chiles' personality and commitment to run a fresh, people-powered campaign. And they're straight from the field. You can almost smell the shoe leather on 'em.

Since he couldn't meet everybody--even in the Panhandle--the notes extended his campaign's reach. Once the notes got out in the papers and people's mailboxes, the buzz began. When everyone else was doubting him, Chiles could sleep well knowing he had the Big Mo'.

In his entire 40-year career, he never wrote anything down in formal memoirs or a preserved diary--except the Notes. But what he left is a poem for this entire career.

1 comment:

lawton chiles said...

actually he did take private notes and thoughts down- but I don't think he kept a running diary- he kept a spritual journal of sorts…

I mean, those who keep a running diary everyday either are really detail oriented or think very very highly of themselves. :)