Thursday, December 01, 2005

100 to 3!

My sheer happenstance, today is the 100th post on my blog. So I was simultaneously honored and amused to learn that my blog has been listed as the third best legislative blog in the country behind Detroit Congressman John Conyers and Texas State Rep. Aaron Pena. The site, called Lawmakers, is all about getting legislators at every level into the blogosphere, which is a fine idea which could know no limits in both the information department nationally and the entertainment department locally.

The site has profiles on some of the bloggers, including Tom Cross, (who they somehow have running for Governor, what are you posting over there Parillo?) and myself. My only gripe is that they stated that the only thing keeping me from being moved up even higher in the rankings was my failure to include Sitemeter on my blog. But after looking at the numbers of the two guys ahead of me, I'm taking solace in the fact that while Conyers' numbers blow mine away, I'm consistently outpacing Pena in readership. (Especially on the days that Rich Miller mentions me:) )

Regardless, several months and 100 posts later, I have come to the following conclusions. It is much more work than I had anticipated. I am still baffled by people who will repeatedly visit my blog and then complain that they don't like what I'm posting. (hint-stop visiting if it bothers you that much).

But most importantly, I think that the blog has succeeded in its main goal of opening the lines of communications between elected officials (at least myself) and the public. And to that end, I am convinced that once my colleagues, at every level, see that I have survived this exercise relatively unscathed, they will be that much more likely to jump in and test the waters themselves. And that would indeed be in everybody's best interest.

So thanks to those of you who visit the blog. I'll keep trying my best to make it worth your while. All I ask is that you recognize that some days my best is better than on other days.

In closing, let me pose this question. Do you think that having blogs by elected officials is a worthwhile endeavor, if so, why aren't more electeds jumping in?


At December 1, 2005 at 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, we don't need every legislator to have his or her own blog. That would be a bit much. I mean Adeline Geo-Caris doesn't even know what blog is and Toni Berrios will be blogging about Nick and Jessica, and the OC.

At December 1, 2005 at 10:56 AM, Blogger Bill said...

I don't know why you have to keep picking on Toni. She is one of my favorite legislators.

At December 1, 2005 at 12:15 PM, Blogger Lawmakers said...

Having blogs by elected officials is not only a worthwhile endeavor in my opinion it should be required by law.

If I were King of the world I would hang any Representative who did not blog for the people every day with reader comments.

I think the reason there aren't more electeds jumping in is because the great majority of the electeds don't give a rat's behind about the people.

But the people have let them get away with that in the past. So I guess the people get the government they deserve.

If the people were to learn about blogs then maybe they would start to wonder what their elected representative did today and go to check out his blog and see what he did today.

A crook in office won't like the blogs because he'd sure hate to have to report to the people what he did today. How much money he stole or whatever. But a good honest man would welcome the blog with open arms, because now he has a way to share what he is doing with the people.

I see blogs as almost an acid test for honesty. If a man has a good blog with reader commments and he posts every day and makes links and all that stuff, well then, it seems pretty obvious that he's got nothing to hide.

If a man refuses to blog, and refuses to allow reader comments on his blog, well then, that makes me wonder why that might be.

As far as your sitemeter. I don't see it on your blog anywhere. If you know that you are consistently outpacing Pena then you must have a sitemeter. If I can't see it then you are hiding it from me. If you are hiding it from me then you are hiding it from the people.

Share your traffic stats with the people like Pena and Conyers do and we'll move you into the ranks of the best. That is all that is holding you back.

Thanks for blogging and keep up the good work.

Doug Kenline

At December 1, 2005 at 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish more elected officials blogged, It helps reveal the thought process and the views of the elected official. My only caveat is that they don't view the blog as a glorified press release or form letters to constituents via email. That is scenario is a waste of time.

I don't think most elected officials over 50 will blog because of aversion to technology. In addition, I think they have to maintain a fine line between being interesting to the readers without shooting themselves in the foot (aka, giving opposition researchers easy ammunition for attack ads). You seem to maintain the balance quite well, but I don't know if every legislator is up to it.

At December 1, 2005 at 3:18 PM, Blogger ndpotus said...

Congrats John!!!

If you keep on blogging, I'll keep on reading...


At December 2, 2005 at 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an obviously inherent danger when a politician is brave enough to have a blog. As John has said, some days 'his best is not as good as other days'. That politicians are actually real people is sometimes overlooked. It has to be remembered that just the slightest faux pas can be a major catastrophe at the polls. And, since ego is a factor in any pols life, I would think it very difficult to not state your innermost feelings when sitting in front of a computer without any yada, yada, yada in the background. Those statements could come back in a disasterous way. To be truthful and be a diplomat is certainly a trait that few politicos have. Therein, only a few will ever be brave enough to blog.
Personally, I blog because I don't have to maintain 'political correctness'. It allows me to put things in front of the public that newspaper op eds won't even touch because of fear of recourse from the subjects that I blog about. The truth of matters needs to be touted in a major forum. Unfortunately, the mainstream forums, i.e., newspapers, TV, etc., won't present a view that isn't politically correct and neither will any politician that seeks to maintain his office.
As to making 'elected official' blogs mandantory by law, hardly. What would be next, web cams in their offices and bedrooms? Leave the blogging to those that can handle the pressure that results from their personal beliefs and postings. For those that choose not to blog, they simply leave the opinion to the minds of the masses. Kind of scary but that's the way we've done things for 235 years.

At December 2, 2005 at 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously real, insightful, forthcoming blogs from elected would be a tremendous help for citizens.

But c'mon, it's a huge risk. Show signs of inner conflicted thoughts? The ability to change your mind and contradict yourself when you realize you're wrong? Disagree with your party?

Only people who are safe bets for re-election would do that.

We all know John is one of the most honest, coherent, intelligent and *forthcoming* member of the Illinois House. But does anyone think for a second he'd be so open about his inner thinking if he were in a 50-50 split GOP/Dem district?

This blog would cease to be informative if John was a tier one target and had to get into serious campaign mode.

I think asking every elected to do a real blog is a mite pie-in-the-sky if you ask me.

At December 2, 2005 at 2:34 PM, Blogger respectful said...

Pols in safe districts are the most likely to blog for reasons stated earlier by others.

At December 3, 2005 at 9:33 PM, Blogger Amy Allen said...

Congratulations! Sharing traffic stats? I can't imagine that Conyers or Pena provide anything close to the insightful commentary coverage-not the rah! rah! promotion of constituent accomplishments and personal initiatives- that Rep. Fritchey does.

At December 4, 2005 at 10:29 AM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

Aw shucks, thanks Amy.


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