This is the Year for NetRoots – We Really Mean It This Time

The title of this post has everything to do with just about every major political race in the country, but I am unfortunately not at NetRoots right now. Jealous, well, yes. Not at Podcamp Boston either. In fact, I am writing this post in my back yard. (Quick note: when I went to find the link to Podcamp Boston, I noted that it says in big letters on the index page: PODCAMP BOSTON IS AT CAPACITY: NO WALKINS PLEASE!). Keep this in mind as you read below.

I don’t get to talk politics much thanks to the Hatch Act (which, as I noted in my final post in my old blog before I erased it) is that the only thing worse than this piece of legislation is Orrin Hatch’s music. And THAT’s bad. But back to my point.

Folks like Patrick Ruffini made this point a long time ago, and David Wescott brought it up again in the context of mommy bloggers as a built-in audience with whom to dialogue. This is the year that we will see a huge impact in political campaigns due to social media. I am not talking fund raising, as much as securing the base; something that John McCain and Barack Obama clearly need to do to win.

Again, with credit to David Wescott who unearthed some research from George Washington University, every campaign manager’s dream is to have a highly networked, connected group of activists just waiting to be mobilized. He also noted in the survey, that politically active people:

“They also tend to visit blogs that share their viewpoint. Think of such blogs as their red meat. Indeed, 94% read only blogs on one side of the ideological spectrum, with 90% of liberals and 90% of conservatives sticking to like-minded blogs. Self-proclaimed “moderates” don’t blog shop either, with 89% exclusively reading either liberal or conservative blogs.”

So think of this: if I am on the political Left and get Daily Kos on my side, it’s a win. On the right, ditto for Little Green Footballs. Everyone waited breathlessly for social media to have an impact in 2004, and it was more of a whimper than a bang.

This is the year, folks. I don’t pay a lot of attention to fund raising on the Internet, because a) I don’t really believe the numbers anyway, and b) it will all equal out on the end on a national scale anyway. It’s about turning out your base, which is how the last two presidential elections were won.

Here we are in 2008, and blogs are hooked to each other which are hooked to Twitter which are hooked to Facebook which are aggregated by FriendFeed. People who read or write political blogs tend to be more politically active and influential – and connected. This is a powerful, new phenomenon that has occurred since the last presidential election cycle. I was a marketing major, and we used to say that you have to touch people five different ways using a marketing mix before you get their attention. See above.

The Perfect Storm is in place, and this is the year.

Curious to hear from folks at Podcamp Boston ot NetRoots on this one.

Mark

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