The Rose Enters the Blogosphere

The following article is from our Fall, 2007 newsletter:

In the past few years a new word has entered our digital vocabulary: blog. Web logs are now as common as they are relevant. They are toppling the standard news structure and giving people and organizations a voice of their own. Fittingly, people are increasingly turning to blogs as their source for information. Now, led by Assistant to the Directors Matthew Peterson, the Rose Institute is entering the blogosphere with its own blog, RoseReport.org, providing expert, relevant information directly to the public online.

On the surface, a blog is nothing more than a standard webpage. It has a web address, images, and some text. Thus, one might wonder why the Rose Institute needs another site. A blog, however, is a unique type of webpage that serves an entirely different purpose. Instead of a passively waiting for attention, it actively gathers daily and weekly users. The blog allows us to broaden our impact and generate more recognition.

This impact will be felt in a number of ways. First, reporters will have a constant source for Rose Institute generated news and commentary. We will post non-proprietary information on our projects, ranging from images of new redistricting maps to fiscal analyses from Dr. Steven Frates. Second, we have the ability to remind the public of the tremendous work we have already done. The California Political History Archive and Database is growing, and by linking to it from the blog, it will gain in popularity, helping ground current events with historical understanding. Third, we can post Rose Institute press mentions, potentially multiplying Institute coverage. Finally, the blog provides a new outlet for original opinions and commentary from our experts and students, increasing the publicity of our staff and—with appropriate oversight—opening the door to increased student publication.

The blog does much more, however, than simply publish posts. It also gives us a number of useful marketing tools to increase popularity and readership. New posts can be forwarded, or “blasted,” directly to other blogs or media sources, essentially handing them new stories and potentially multiplying our impact. Moreover, our site can link to other sites, which, in turn, will link to ours. This cooperation is a win-win situation, in effect doubling readership for all sites involved. Furthermore, interested users can subscribe to the blog, so we will have a direct line to distribute our news and analysis.

RoseReport.org will provide a new marketing tool for the Institute, but the value here is not simply marketing. The blog will help fulfill part of Institute’s overall mission: “Using computer technology, students and faculty in the Rose Institute to advance knowledge about politics, and help create services that make the political process more democratic.” With the blog, the Rose Institute can reach more people—politicians, journalists, and curious citizens—in a more direct manner. We are harnessing new, effective technology to help make politics more democratic and to help opinion-makers and ordinary citizens alike make more informed decisions. While the blog—both the word and the tool—may be new, its goal is fundamental.

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