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Christian Crumlish, author of The Power of Many: How the Living Web Is Transforming Politics, Business, and Everyday Life,blogged the Democratic and Republican National Conventions! Read about his experiences at 

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Subjects: Computers; Politics; Business; General Interest; Books


Interview Blogger-Author
Christian Crumlish About:

How the Web is Affecting
the Post-Presidential Debate
Media Spin


Christian Crumlish can discuss:

Both parties are trying to organize their online supporters to vote in online polls, write email messages to network and cable news shows, write letters to newspapers, and call in to radio shows to promote the idea that their candidate has won.

The first debate this year was considered close by the professional pundits immediately afterward but a concerted effort to influence the spin by online Democrats, specifically readers of the Daily Kos (rhymes with "verbose") website successfully cemented the conventional wisdom that it was a Kerry win.

After the vice presidential debate, conservative cable talk-show host Joe Scarborough mentioned that he'd gotten "in trouble" after calling the first debate for Kerry, presumably either by a concerted campaign of criticism from his Fox viewers or from his higher-ups at the network. Either way, the growing media savvy of the audience and its desire to play an active role in managing the post-debate spin is a perfect example of the power of many at work.

After the vice presidential debate, bloggers quickly posted images proving that Vice President Dick Cheney had in fact met Senator John Edwards in the past, negating one of his best "zingers" of the evening and helping to turn around the conventional wisdom on that debate as well.

Right-wing online readers of the Free Republic site ("Freepers"), who pioneered the tactic of voting (and overvoting) en masse in online polls at news websites - called "freeping the polls" by activists - have recently begun complaining about the unscientific nature of these same polls as Daily Kos readers and other liberal online bloggers have consistently tilted the polls for Kerry and Edwards after the first three debates. Freepers now speculate that Democratic supporters are using some kind of 'bot (robotic autoposting device) to "win" the instant polls.

Some people speculate that George W. Bush was caught off-guard in the first debate because his public events have been only open to supporters and he has thus been cut off from the feedback and criticism and fact-checking of the public at large. All politicians and political candidates function to some extent in a bubble created by their handlers, but the Kerry campaign has not had the luxury of screening out criticism and seems to be drawing inspiration from its online supporters. (People in the White House reportedly read weblogs such as Instapundit, as well, although it's not clear if they are paying attention to critical voices.)



The Power of Many, a new book by Christian Crumlish (September 2004, $29.99, Sybex), tells the story of the second Internet revolution, in which the living Web has reached critical mass and is making a significant impact on the real world. Crumlish is a well-known blogger and runs a weblog, Radio Free Blogistan, which focuses on the developments of the web as a living written medium, and is author of several books on web technology related subjects.

Crumlish defines the living web as an interactive web rather than a passive web, changing rather than static, and collaborative rather than hierarchical. It includes web news sites, weblogs, and wikis. "We are seeing the emergence of new forms of laterally organized, network-driven groups that represent a challenge to the hierarchical, corporate-style organizations that we are familiar with," says Crumlish "Furthermore, those who inhabit the living web are now being moved by it to step away from the computer, meet face to face, go door to door, and take action for causes which are important to them."

The best example of the new revolution is the Howard Dean campaign. Crumlish devotes an entire chapter to the living web€™s effect on political organizing, the 2004 election and the impact of the losing Dean primary campaign. Indeed, says Crumlish, citing recent studies from the Pew Research Center, the 2004 election is the most intertwined with the Internet of any election. The Pew report shows that in the winter of 2003-2004, more than 40 million people had used the Internet to research or participate in the current presidential campaign.


For further information, visit the web site:


CHRISTIAN CRUMLISH is a writer, consultant, and artist who has been involved in developing and writing about web technology for the last decade. He is a well-known blogger and is well connected in both the social-software arena and among technically savvy political organizers. Crumlish has blogged both the Democratic and the Republican National Conventions. His previous books include Coffeehouse: Writings from the Web, The Internet for Busy People, and The Internet Dictionary. He lives in Oakland, California.

The Power Of Many: How The Living Web Is Transforming Politics, Business, And Everyday Life. Christian Crumlish. Sybex, $29.99, hardcover, 288 pages, ISBN: 0-7821-4346-6; September 2004

SYBEX INC. pioneered the field of computer book publishing when it was founded in 1976. For 28 years, Sybex has remained an autonomous force and sustained a widely recognized reputation for developing quality, original books on significant technologies. Sybex has principal offices in Alameda, California, and London, United Kingdom, and maintains an international market with its books being distributed and translated around the world.

For author interviews or further information, contact:
Susannah Greenberg, Susannah Greenberg Public Relations,
(212) 208-4629