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Watchblog, A New Weblog About Politics

Dave Aiello wrote, "A new political weblog called Watchblog: 2004 Election News, Opinion, and Commentary was recently launched by Cameron Barrett of Camworld. Watchblog has already attracted a lot of attention in the weblog community. I think this is appropriate in light of Cameron Barrett's status in the weblog community and the novelty of the layout of the site."

"Camworld is one of the most successful weblogs in history, and was one of my early favorites. It went silent for about six months beginning in the Fall of 2002, but it never really lost its status in the weblog community during that time. I used Camworld as the example of a weblog that was popular in spite of its lack of freshnness in my essay The Long Shadow of Past Blogging Prowess written in late March. This essay was a critique of the blogrolling policies of many A-List weblogs, but may have seeemed like a rebuke directed at Cameron Barrett himself. Camworld made a fairly strong comeback in May and has been interesting since then, although I am just catching up with it after having removed it from the CTDATA blogroll and deleted my browser bookmark for it."

"Getting back to Watchblog, the big question in my mind when I look at it is: Will it work as it is currently designed? It's got a couple of novel design elements worth thinking about:"

  1. Three sub-weblogs laid out in a three-column format. It will be interesting to see if this works because the side-by-side nature begs the reader to compare the content in each column. But, length of each post and chronological (rather than topic) orientation will make comparisons difficult.

  2. Implied political orientation of each column. The Democratic and Republican sub-weblogs appear as the left and right columns, respectively, while the Third Party sub-weblog appears in the center. This dovetails with many people's assumptions about the polarization of American politics. The question that springs into my mind is: How big an assumption is it that third parties in this country occupy the ideological center? My initial answer is: That's a pretty big assumption.

"Other issues that will play a key role in on-going interest in Watchblog are:"

  1. Are the contributors for each sub-weblog equally matched? If there is an imbalance in rhetorical strength or posting commitment, this site could get boring quickly.

  2. Can a single weblog effectively cover the entire political spectrum? I think that most successful weblogs that have touched on politics have succeeded by having a clear point of view. Watchblog flies in the face of this notion.

"Several months ago, I decided to move CTDATA.com away from politics, and I'm staying with that policy. Watchblog is worth mentioning, however, because of its unique design and the attention it's getting in the weblog community. It will be interesting to see if Watchblog continues to enjoy the amount of interest that it has initially attracted."

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