Archive for October 25th, 2006

The Worst Political Websites of 2006

Margarita recipes! Blogging dogs! (“Sometimes he sings to me and I dance and wag my tail…”). Indiana Dan (Burton), complete with bullwhip! These join empty pages, typos galore, “under construction” signs and the much-loved <blink> tag as ways to get on CNET’s list of the worst political websites.

Sweet Jesus, how I love sites that are this bad. I love them like I love hair metal power ballads, Teenagers from Outer Space, 1950s educational films and home-edited skateboard videos (actually, never mind, some of those are really GOOD). In this case, the small-timers, fringe-runners and also-rans have an excuse, but not the incumbent congressmembers. That’s what makes it fun. Via Politics and Technology.

cpd

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Google Destroyed Message Control

At this week’s Mobile Monday meeting, Alan Rosenblatt said something else that got me thinking: “Google destroyed message control.” He meant it specifically in the sense that he thinks Google has made obsolete the old rule that you should never repeat your opponent’s message. He argues instead that you SHOULD repeat it, so that your version can be found online by someone searching for it, but that you should reframe it in the process — the old subtle what-he-says-sucks-and-here’s-why strategy. If you show both sides, your credibility goes up. And if you package both your messages and his correctly, you’ll come out looking infinitely better.

I’d argue that Alan hit on a larger truth, though. Google, blogs, YouTube, good old email and all our other fun tools have significantly eroded the idea that campaigns can control their messages and corporations their brands. Yes, there are still intermediated media (if that’s a valid phrase), particularly television, through which you can spread your unfiltered talking points via ads or through surrogates pontificating unchallenged on “news” shows. They’re not going away any time soon.

But they have competition now of a very different sort: online information consumers have too much power for a top-down-only strategy to work for long. Campaigns swim in a competitive sea of ideas and information, and they’re part of an ever-unfolding discussion. They need to join that conversation and shape it, rather than shout their voices down from a mountain on high.

cpd

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NPR: YouTube Emerges as Political Tool in Campaigns

YouTube, land of the free and home of the, well, really free. At least when it comes to political ads and any shred of responsibility for their content, acording to a segment on last night’s All Things Considered. Here’s an example from the race for Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District:

Ron Kind even spent your tax dollars to pay teenage girls to watch pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia.

Oh, my. I must say, that’s one sentence I never expected to write on this site. For more excitement, listen to the piece. Besides describing mainstream campaigns’ use of online ads and the fact that video can occasionally backfire, it talks about how YouTube can get national attention for an obscure candidate, particularly if he or she does something outrageous. Like accuse his opponent of being a sex merchant because of a vote over NIH research.

cpd

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