Howard Dean showed during his ’04 presidential campaign just how much influence grassroots networking can have on national politics, and early ’08 wannabes are following his lead. Sort of. Most of the big names (notable exclusions include Rudy Giuliani) have some kind of social media/software integrated into their campaign websites, but it all seems vaguely half-hearted. For example:
- Barack Obama has a “group staff” blog on the front page of his site which he doesn’t contribute to, directly or indirectly. His site -does- have a community section, which you can’t access without registering an account. That’s a dealbreaker for me. I do, however, get a kick out of some of the groups on his site: Information Technology Professionals for Obama (made up of “IT professional[s] who are excited about Barrack [sic] Obama’s pledge to build the next interstate system of broadband connectivity”), “The Secret” Believers for President Obama, the Obama Book Club, and my personal favorite: Batman Loves Obama.
- Mitt Romney has his own streaming video channel – Mitt TV – made up of short clips of his public appearances. All in all, there’s not much more info than one might get watching cable news channels … but he does get points for including recent blog entries in his news links.
- John Edwards: I don’t even know where to begin. You can check out the
exhaustingexhaustive list of what he calls “Media 2.0” networks for yourself.
- John McCain apparently considers three linked images a blog, is calling his grassroots campaign area “McCainSpace,” and plans to respond to policy questions via YouTube. Because YouTube viewers want talking heads.
I’m disappointed. Finances can make or break a campaign, most of which are chock-full of workers / volunteers who are young and technologically-savvy, and who could really put this stuff to use. So, why wouldn’t candidates jump at the opportunity? ‘Splain me, somebody. Is there a reason other than fear?