In continuing my thoughts surrounding Erick’s Posts here and here, combined with my last post about the use of technology by the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, of the US Senate. It is painfully apparent that no matter which social networking technology is used by the RNC, it will have no value in the coming election cycle without preparation of the correct message.
This is no light banter either. Not because I have an oracle but because I work closely with people who are red to the core republicans who are disillusioned with the GOP message and disgusted that Americans fell for the "flashiness without message" of the Obama win. I say, with no hesitation that duplication of the all flash with no substance ala Obama will result in deeper losses for republicans. Erick and I agree:
III. Duplicating Obama’s technology effort is not the solution for the right and those who say it is are the first people not to hire. -Erick
The typical technology consultant is young, well versed in the jargon of social networking and their lives fully integrated. These individuals fall for the aura and mystique of technology for the sake of technology; I know, I am one of them. Therefore, to improve the standing of the GOP with Main Street Americans the quantity of delivery becomes exponentially less important as to the quality of the message delivered. The conservative that is weary of the GOP will not be energized by Tweets, the size of a Facebook friends list, or how sparkly the images are on MySpace, but by how the message matches their conservative ideology. This fact was never more visible then with the Sarah Palin VP pick.
The first Florida campaign stop by the Alaska governor and Republican phenom drew a crowd estimated at 60,000 by officials in this Central Florida retirement community...
It was the largest crowd ever for a political event at The Villages...
Palin's remarks were occasionally interrupted by chants of "Sarah, Sarah" and "U.S.A., U.S.A."
It should be noted that up until August 29, 2008 Governor Palin was a relative nobody in national politics. In the span of about 30 second, she not only became an instantly recognizable figure, and in my opinion the reason why McCain garnered as many votes as he did. And there is no doubt that the McCain 2008 campaign did not leverage technology well enough to have created the Palin juggernaut; no, it was message, not message delivery that brought excitement. Every single republican across the fruited plains ought to be looking to Sarah for her secret, but alas, that is not happening.
The concept of message content following ideology has been lost on the RNC and many squishy republicans as well. The Big Tent theory has proven to be flawed and hopefully it can be rectified by Chairman Steele and his team in time for 2010.
A recent post by David All over at Techrepublican.com piqued my interest in how he portrayed the effect of using technology on what is arguably a small scale activity for the election of Saul Anuzis for RNC Chairman.
...tasks that should have taken minutes often took hours. This gunked up the process of being able to control the message immediately...
Without a doubt, the biggest challenge we faced was the fact that while most, if not all of the 168-Committee Members used email and the Internet, only about half checked in regularly.
The connected lifestyle we here are accustomed to is not the norm. Blackberry driven attention deficit disorder affects so few people that no matter how many messages could be sent, volume was not the problem, content was.
Regarding content, of the most effective contributions to Saul's efforts was the YouTube video created by Brian Donahue of Jamestown Associates. The video was spot-on message and helped provide a nice product to pass around to Committee Members, press, bloggers and supporters.
We saw during the election of the chairman live updates, tweets galore and of course the subsequent articles of who and what was going on. And by 4:03: Steele wins with 91 votes, becoming the new leader of the GOP. This is not to imply that Saul's message was flawed or wrong but David's philosophy fails to accept that it's content, not quantity that matters. This is NOT the path we need to take.
After all was said and done, David posited the following thought:
IF ONLY...Looking back at the race, there are two [sic] tools I would have liked to have had in my arsenal knowing what I know now.
* Text messaging
* A Truth-Squad Site
* Online Advertising
Unfortunately, David is wrong. He is looking at message delivery as failing to achieve the goals. The RNC, the national, state and local republicans alike must learn from this situation if they are to become a force that equals what we did in 1994.
This idea may seem foreign to many of us readers, but tangibility is a key factor to what a person believes. The message must contain the tenets of conservatism, a clear and definitive statement of what is our philosophy in earning that vote. To conservatives, that is tangible. Clarify what the message is, then, and only then act on the delivery of that message to the people. If, at that point the message is one of conservative principals, the use of all the internet, broadband media and activism can prevail.
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