Credit Where Credit Is Due

Good move by the RNC. -Patrick

I have been a pretty harsh critic of the RNC and its Internet operations.  I have argued for some time that the RNC really doesn't foster a sense of creativity or innovation.  While I still maintain that is generally true, I have to admit I really like their latest project -

The idea is very good.  Facebook captures the interconnection of people, so how better to demonstrate Obama's connection to some really shady people than a FB parody. It's not quite an exact rip-off of Facebook's profile page, which would have been easy enough to do, but I suspect they were trying to make it different enough that they wouldn't get sued (friggin' lawyers!).

Some might argue that mocking Facebook is a bad move given that FB co-founder Chris Hughes is running  It may call attention to the fact that Obama has attracted some big tech names to his side.  I disagree. 

I think the message is compelling, and I think the connection between Obama and FB really won't get much traction. 

The only real critique I have of the effort is the relative inability to spread it around.  I would suggest to Cyrus and company, that they add an option in the upper right left to "Add Friends", and provide the opportunity for visitors to virally promote the site.  Regular Facebook users would likely click on the link just to see what it does.

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This is a joke; right?

The first lesson in building a successfully Internet presence is never, ever insult your potential participatory market. This "FB parody"  does exactly that, and, by extension, it implies any other GOP Internet effort also cannot be trusted and is considered little more than a joke by its creators on any person stupid enough to participate. People in the beltway may consider this kind of parody funny and worthwhile, but in my humble opinion, it is extremely counter-productive to the overall effort to build trustworthiness in any GOP Internet presence by its participants.

The question that will be left in the minds of any potential GOP web-participant by this web-parody is:  Is this a joke and are these people making fun of my participation?


ex animo


Exactly how is this "insulting"?

Using parody to make a point is a long standing practice.  Take for instance the use of an eBay parody to hit Gray Davis in California. Far from being an insult, the concept is to take something people are familiar with and use it to make a point.

In this case, you take the Facebook news feed and use it to display exactly what Facebook displays - the connections between people.  It's just unfortunate that the connections in Obama's case are sketchy.

Republican online operatives have gotten so used to our offerings sucking that we're prepared to knock anything as bad.  I've been guilty of that myself.  We need to use a new lens, however.  We need to picture the same tool used against us, and try to determine the impact it would have.

Had BarackBook, for instance, been used by the Democrats to display the interconnection of McCain and all his lobbyist friends, I suspect it would have been almost universally heralded as brilliant.

Let the candidates mount their own cyber attacks

The GOP should not be in the business of attacking individual candidates -- they have much bigger fish to fry.

Lets make sure the GOP uses the Internet to perform its proper political function, to build up its base.  Believe me, the candidates are more than able to mount their own cyber parodies against each other, or at least they should be by now. The party's proper political function is to grow its political base.  Using the Internet correctly will make that job a whole lot easier.

ex animo


Using the Internet correctly?

I've been using the Internet in campaigns and party jobs for about 15 years, and I've never heard of a "correct" way.  Maybe you could give me a copy of your rulebook.

Parties get involved in candidate on candidate fights all the time.  I've been in more than a few cases where candidates had screwed things up so badly it was only with the Party's help that they were able to eek out a win - races from state legislatures to governors and congressmen. 

You can argue whether a candidate like that should or shouldn't be elected, but the Party's ultimate responsibility is electing Republicans.  Period.

A political party's ultimate responsibility... to represent, develop and maintain the political base from which its political candidates for public office can be supported.

Once a political party sacrifices all simply to get someone with an "R" attached to his or her name elected, period, at any political cost, those cherished ideals will become irrelevant, as will the party. Perhaps this is why a person like John McCain is having trouble with his base -- because the base and the party are serving two different masters.

ex animo