LITERATURE Political Blogs
A growing body of work examines the rise of political bloggers, detailing how bloggers use this medium to participate in politics both online and/ or in-person, and how bloggers use their blogs to mobilize readers. While a broad literature frames the research on blogging more generally, focusing on politics and participation this study draws upon descriptive and exploratory studies, and to a lesser degree theory building research.
Earlier works conducted by McKenna and Pole (2004, 2008) investigate the activities of A-list— the most popular bloggers—and average political bloggers. Findings from these studies indicate that bloggers engage in a variety of activities including informing readers, reporting errors and omissions in the media, engaging in advocacy efforts, and soliciting charitable contributions. Specifically, bloggers encourage their readers to engage in a variety of political activities including asking readers to vote (70%), contact an elected official (64%), and sign petitions (46%) (McKenna & Pole, 2008). Complementing these works, Wallsten (2007) develops a system of classifying political blogs. He argues that blogs are used as “transmission belts, soapboxes and mobilizers” (Wallsten, 2007). Political blogs link to other sites, provide a forum for discussion and encourage readers to mobilize. This study of women political bloggers builds on the findings from these studies.
Emphasizing well-trafficked blogs, a study conducted by Perlmutter (2008) examines the impact of blogs on the American political system. He asserts that blogs are not especially powerful in the traditional sense of politics since they lack financial, moral and social leverage to induce readers to participate. Despite this, he suggests that blogs “improve democracy and enrich political culture” (Perlmutter, 2008). In contrast, Pole’s (2010) study of political blogging focuses not on well-trafficked blogs, but on the political actors and average citizens who blog about politics. Data show that political bloggers are in fact using their blogs for purposes related to politics, and in particular blacks and Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual – Transgender bloggers use their blogs to encourage readers to vote, contact elected officials, and sign petitions (Pole, 2010).