Clay Shirky alleges that the boost Dean got from the internet was illusory; internet campaigning is a substitute for the real thing. That’s only true if the legions of new internet activists give up, and don’t learn the next steps of political activism.
I’ve seen the gap between familiar and new in Texas. I participated a little in the project to get internet tools for the Texas Dean campaign. Glen Maxey, a sensei of local politics, runs the campaign, and talks about precincts and delegates. The enthusiastic crew building web tools talk about blogs and RSS, PHP and MySQL.
My main political experience has been digital rights issue activism, not political campaigns. Last year, fighting the SDMCA battle, we used email, blogs and wikis to co-ordinate; shoe-leather to lobby legislators, and old-fashioned connections to invite tech industry lobbyists to help fight off the movie moguls.
In the comments to the Shirky post, Rusty Foster explains how the Dean Campaign dropped the ball in the field campaign in Iowa.
The field ops were not, as far as I know, too busy blogging pictures of their cats to handle the strategy. Their strategy and execution just didn