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You Can’t Stop Ron Paul, You Can Only Hope to Contain Him

Posted on May 8th, 2007
By Todd Zeigler in Social Networks, Web 2.0, Politics, Media

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about the efforts of supporters of Ron Paul to promote Paul-related news articles to the Digg homepage. Along similar lines, there was a story yesterday on about a resounding Paul victory in an online poll that asked who won the recent Republican debate. As of this writing, Paul has attracted 13,343 of 15,590 votes cast.

This piqued my interest enough to take another look at the situation on the U.S. Elections 2008 channel on Digg. A quick glance shows that the influence of Paul on Digg has grown since my last look. Here are some key points:

  • 11 of 26 (42%) homepage stories the last 7 days in the U.S. Elections 2008 channel are about Ron Paul. A few months back the number was only 20%.
  • Interestingly, 7 of 26 (27%) articles mention Democrat Mike Gravel. This is a new development. Looks like Gravel supporters are taking a similar approach.
  • Only 10 of 26 (38%) articles did not mention Paul or Gravel, and focused on other candidates. Note that there we a number of articles that mentioned both Gravel and Paul, which is why the math is weird.

So what is going on here? A few points:

(1) From reading the comments of Paul and Gravel Diggers, it is clear that they are turning to Digg and other online venues because they feel they aren’t getting a fair shake from the mainstream media. Gravel and Paul have also attracted an extremely intense group of supporters. So they have gone underground and are seeking to promote their candidates any way they can. Guerrilla campaigning.

(2) Normal diggers seem to be somewhat receptive to the Paul related stories that are being submitted. As an example, this submission trying to get Paul on the Daily Show has attracted over 5,500 diggs so far. This makes it the eighth most popular post over the last 7 days (all the others are about the HD-DVD mess). Paul’s libertarian beliefs seem to have found a receptive audience among diggers. If the Digg community was hostile to this stuff, they would bury Paul articles.

(3) From what I can tell supporters are organizing on behalf of the campaign and not at the campaign’s direction. As Josh Levy has pointed out, the official Paul online presence really doesn’t have much to it at this point.

(4) None of the top tier campaigns (or the supporters of those campaigns) seem to be making a concerted effort to get articles on Digg. Supporters of Paul and Gravel are the only ones really engaged there. I think this goes back to #1 - other candidates are getting plenty of coverage and don’t feel they need Digg. And none of the other lower tier candidates have passionate enough supporters to engage in these sorts of activities.

So does it matter? Is it working?

Sort of. The Paul and Gravel diggers are successfully drawing attention to their candidates and their views of the world. They are reaching more people. That in and of itself is a victory.


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  1. You Can’t Stop Ron Paul, You Can Only Hope To Contain Him « Tons of Fresh News
  2. Nick Anstead » Blog Archive » Could Paul be the Dean of ‘08?
  3. More Ron Paul Buzz » The Bivings Report
  4. Again, Digg and 2008 « Slev
  5. Ojo a este nombre: Ron Paul « Comunicación Electoral
  6. Ojo a este nombre: Ron Paul


  1. pc

    Blatant Censorship of Presidential Candidate Ron Paul by Yahoo! Needs Stopped

  2. nativeveteran70

    The main news media is trying to suppress Ron Paul but I’m going to do my best to teach as many people about Dr. Paul. He’s going protect our constitution and get rid of those World Banker (Fed Reserve)thieves that took our money back during the depression. Go Ron Paul.

  3. thunt

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Ghandi


    An open letter regarding the 2008 Presidential Election (Gravel vs. Paul)

  4. Roxy

    “You Can’t Stop Ron Paul, You Can Only Hope to Contain Him”…kinda like spam huh? Imagine that.

  5. Cutkomp

    It would be interesting to see the amount of Ron Paul stories that have gotten buried in comparison to the other candidates.

  6. Todd Zeigler

    Cutkomp - this is one of the buried stories.

  7. Mike

    Good analysis. Keep em coming. :)

  8. Alex Hammer

    There is a lot of buzz going on, and controversy!! I predict that when the big boys (and Ron is getting there if this continues) will co-opt these trends, but there are so many that are emerging (video, MySpace, Digg).

    It’s exciting times.

  9. Jonathan Rick

    As evidence that this is a backlash against the MSM, one need look no further than an editorial in Tuesday’s Post: “Voters trying to sort out their presidential choices aren’t helped by debates cluttered with the likes of . . . Ron Paul.” Things like Digg and YouTube and blogs represent the nexus of grassroots mobilization and democracy.

    On a related matter, as Josh and Todd point out, since Paul obviously has a tipping point of support online, why is his campaign Web site so bare-bones and simply awful?

  10. Todd Zeigler

    Jonathan - I really think this stuff is being driven by supporters and not the Paul campaign itself.

  11. Michael Wagner

    A great deal of Ron Paul’s support on the net is spontaneous and not related to his official effort. There are many thousands of people from all 50 states who have known Dr. Paul for many years. We have been urging him to run for President for years and now that he has finally agreed (reluctantly, I might add) we are pulling out all the stops to get him elected.
    We have known for decades that if Ron’s message could be brought before the American people, he would have the support of millions who have gotten so disgusted with politics that they don’t even bother to vote.
    Check Ron’s MySpace page and look at the comments. It’s working. A large partion of the people who sign up comment that they have never voted before because they couldn’t find anyone to believe in. Now that Ron is running, they feel they are finally being represented.
    Ron Paul in 2008! Peace and Freedom! Hope for America

  12. Poetry

    Take the Pledge

    All Presidential Candidates should make pledges like those below. If they
    refuse, then you should refuse to vote for them.

    1. No More Oil Wars.

    2. Work for independence from foreign oil on day one.

    3. No more wars for corporate profit.

    4. No more secret deals for $4 per gallon gas.

    5. No more Chicken Hawks promoting wars of choice when they themselves avoided combat.

    6. Make government green–if you can’t make what you have the most control over
    green, I don’t care about your plans to make the country green.

    7. No more torture.

    8. No more lying about torture.

    9. No more re-defining torture.

    10. No more drunken hunting.

    11. No more secret deals with big corporations to divide up the spoils before the war even starts.

about this blog

The Bivings Report (TBR) is a source of news, insight, research and analysis on the web-based communications industry. TBR content is posted, created and managed by internet strategists, media/communications analysts, web developers, designers and programmers, all of whom are employees of The Bivings Group.

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