As the most-popular Web logs gain readership approximating those of bigger, more-established media, it is no surprise that those who have a message to sell are heading directly to their audience - whether that be companies aiming to sell a product, or politicians and advocates aiming to sell a point of view.
Following today's presidential state of the union address, Democratic Illinois senator Dick Durbin, the majority whip for the Senate, headed not to the TV cameras and radio waves to make his case, but instead to Daily Kos, where he took questions and offered answers to the site's visitors.
Though it's not the first time a politician has recognized the immense traffic and power that Daily Kos holds for the progressive movement in the Democratic Party, it's exactly this type of behavior that gets me excited about the potential of blogs. Through this medium, visitors around the world were able to post questions and have a dialog with an elected politician immediately after a news event, something unprecedented only 10 or so years ago. And I respect Senator Durbin's willingness to take a risk, entering unknown territory without a script to offer frank insight on everything from increasing troop levels in Iraq, how to best offer solutions for health care and spiraling higher education costs, and on how he feels the current administration has responded to suffering still being felt by citizens of New Orleans.
This is the real deal. I give Senator Durbin a lot more credit for this than some of the more polished politicians who think slapping a quasi-commercial on YouTube is the new way to be hip to a younger, more connected generation.