I had a fun time with my obsessive side project, AldermanicWebsites. I learned a ton about current modes of online campaign management, I spoke to lots of the candidates, and felt like I really had a handle on the issues that were of interest at the Ward level. It was also cool doing a Hack the Election session at ORDCamp with my man Dan Sinker.
I heard from a number of other developers who used my stuff as a starting point (just like I had used the excellent work of EarlyandOften as a basis for mine). The Chicago Tribune used my site as a source for building their top-notch election Web site. That is a great source of pride for me, beacuse I think they do great work.
If you are looking to do something like this in the future, these resources might help: the spreadsheet I used to pull it together, screenshots of every candidate Web site I could get my hands on, preserved in hi-res on Flickr, and the site itself-- AldermanicWebsites: More than you ever wanted to know about political Web sites in Chicago.
I used Update Scanner to monitor all of the Ward Web sites, and since I was cleaning it out over the weekend, I figured I would pull together a topper-offer post to put this project to bed. Here's a review of what I saw:
I've never run for office, and one main reason is that I hate losing. But the losing candidates had differing approaches to their Web updates. 2nd Ward candidate Genita Robinson went the Thankful Route, with a plaintive look back at the campaign and failing to mention the victor, incumbent Alderman Fioretti:
George Rumsey over in the 4th was optimistic about the ward and looked forward to working with new Alderman Will Burns:
Many candidates took the Take The Signs Down approach, erasing their sites right away:
Some are unwittingly contributing to the GoDaddy Ad Coffers (I sympathize-- this has happened to me before):
Speaking of the Sixth Ward, here's the Best Use of Old School Pic:
Here's a "Thank You Note"-style update that references the winner's margin of victory, which is sort of like telling a guy who owes you money what a beautiful tree he has in his front yard.
Former candidate Erick Von Kondrat seems to have turned his campagin Web site into a platform for civic change. He says, "My mission is to foster economic development, promote the development and redevelopment of real estate within the 28th and 24th wards, create viable urban communities, and preserve the character, culture and history of the West Side".
Former 47th Ward Alderman Gene Schulter might consider giving his URL, http://www.ward47.com/ to new Alderman Ameya Pawar. Right now the property provides stultifying links to info about Pittsburgh Steeler wide receiver Hines Ward.
See you all back here in about 3 years!