The folks over at Collactive have put together a great list of tips on designing video clips so that they’ll have the best chance of doing well on YouTube and by extension other video sharing sites. Besides information on preparing the actual video clips, the list includes ideas for promoting them and giving them the best chance of popping to the top of the most-viewed lists, where they may take off on their own.
By the way, check out Collactive’s social media promotion tools if you have a chance — they have some interesting ways to help mobilize your supporters to boost the prominence of news stories or video clips online, for instance, and also tools for maintaining multiple social networking presences.
Hi y’all, next Tuesday the DC chapter of the American Marketing Association is putting on a panel discussion about online political marketing and what folks in the business world can learn from it. I’m moderating, and I bet some of the other names on the panel might just be familiar. Should be an interesting night, and you guys are invited — details after the break. (more…)
Listening to NPR while packing boxes and emptying closets this weekend, I picked up a juicy political-technological morsel indeed: during the 1970s CB radio craze, President Gerald Ford’s wife Betty apparently campaigned over the citizen’s band. She was a big CB lover (her handle: “First Mama”) and apparently used some of her radio time touting her husband’s 1976 campaign. A Google search turned up a handful of references to her CB fandom, for instance this CBS Evening News story summary and an acount of a campaign trip that included an airport meeting with a local CB enthusiasts’ club. I couldn’t find details of her actual on-air comments — if anyone knows more, I’d love to hear about it.
The email advocacy frenzy continues apace — hot on the heels of yesterday’s Post article, techPresident announces that it’s started collecting campaign emails via Michael Whitney’s Politikr application, letting us get a consistent look at how often the presidential candidates are messaging their lists and what they’re sending, information that’s more useful than, say, how many MySpace friends someone has. The first fruits: Michael analyzes recent campaign emails in terms of widely accepted rules of thumb for email marketing. Who makes the grade? Whose messages deserve to languish unopened?
At least, according to Christopher Beam at Slate: he reviews questions from two recent Mike Huckabee conference calls, one for reporters and one for bloggers, and finds that the bloggers asked much more substantive questions. Looking at the list, the reporter questions often focused on the horserace rather than the issues: “Is the drop in violence in Iraq making it a less important campaign issue?” “What’s it like facing the Clinton political machine?” “Why aren’t you spending more time in Iowa right now?” By contrast, bloggers tended to ask about policy, often around relatively obscure issues, and eschewed the usual fluff.
Several of us noticed a similar effect during the Democratic YouTube debate this summer — citizens asked better and more substantive questions of politicians than had reporters or the moderator at previous candidate debates. Traditional media outlets often wonder these days why their audience is steadily deserting them — perhaps a part of it is that people really do look to politics for more than just entertainment, and when they want meat for dinner rather than cotton candy, they have plenty of places online to get a good meal.
A couple of articles of note popped up this weekend about what I still claim is generally the most useful online political organizing tool: email. First off, judging from Sunday’s Post article on presidentail campaign email subject lines, list exhaustion is already setting in, as campaign staffs are being forced to get more clever in their use of subject lines and senders. Over time, just about any email list “wears out” as addresses go dead and as recipients get tired of seeing campaign messages over and over. Advocacy groups have been dealing with this problem for years, since they frequently build up lists over long periods of time and contact the same activists and donors repeatedly.
In the past, most electoral campaigns have typically lasted only relatively a short time and haven’t have to worry much about list exhaustion, but with this year’s extended political season, Obama, Romney, Clinton, Giuliani, et al, have already been sending emails to the same people for months on end. Getting supporters to click and then to donate is clearly already becoming an issue, and if the campaigns they think the problem’s bad now, wait until the spring and summer, when senatorial, gubernatorial, congressional, and other state and local campaigns get into the list-building and fundraising act. Once the full game is on, cutting through the email clutter will have to become a major concern for online organizers. Here’s a start, y’all: some initial tips for building and managing lists.
Without the funds to lay the kind of groundwork other candidates are laying in South Carolina, the former Arkansas governor is relying on a sort of “viral marketing” there, in which supporters e-mail information about Huckabee to their friends, said Rep. Bob Inglis (S.C.), a supporter. By contrast, Romney is blitzing South Carolina Republicans with expensive mailings that highlight his tough stance on issues such as immigration, and has blanketed the state with television ads.
While this is certainly not the first time a campaign has pinned its hopes on supporter activism rather than top-down advertising, the email component is noteworthy. Of course, I bet that Huckabee is counting on a little more than just supporter emails to spread the word — an Iowa or New Hampshire win ought to bring in some cash for a last-minute ad blitz. For more on Huckabee, see why Zephyr Teachout thinks he has the best online campaign.
Something interesting popped up on one of the online politics discussion groups today — once you’re on Rudy Giuliani’s supporter email list, you can check out any time you like, but it looks as though you can never leave. Giuliani messages do have an unsubscribe link at the bottom, but it just bounces you to the campaign site main page rather than actually removing you from the email list. Michael Whitney has looked at this “feature” of Giuliani messages from the point of view of the CAN-SPAM Act, and it since the emails are political rather than commercial, the Giuliani campaign doesn’t appear to be violating the law. Still, it’s bad list-management practice to make it difficult for people to unsubscribe, since you risk taking someone who’s merely tired of hearing from you and making them downright hostile — a potential anti-evangelist for your cause.
Of course, this is likely just an oversight in the email template design rather than some nefarious plot. But at the moment, which way to the egress? For Giuliani supporters, there is none.
AOL has come up with what seems like a more graceful way to advertise within online video clips than the usual show-a-short-ad-before-the-main-event. According to Wired, here’s how it will work:
If you’re watching a TV show, about 10 seconds into the video, a banner ad pops up at the bottom of the window. If you want to watch the full video advertisement — or it could be a Flash ad — you click on the banner. Assuming you don’t want to watch it, you ignore it, and after 15 seconds, it dissolves.
Political campaigns haven’t much boarded the online video advertising train yet (they’ll put their own videos up, but that’s different from what we’re talking about). As less-annoying online video ad alternatives continue to evolve, buying (interactive?) ads on the web versions of popular TV shows may become a useful political tool. Yet another development to keep an eye on.
A quick thought about Google’s OpenSocial, which was unveiled a few weeks ago: while most of the attention focused on the use of OpenSocial Google Gadgets on social networking sites, Gadgets are actually web widgets that’ll run on most blogs and just about anywhere else. As campaigns and organizations develop little advocacy critters using OpenSocial, and as companies build theirs for commercial purposes, people may become more used to installing widgets on their own websites. OpenSocial may help spread widgets far beyond the walls of social networking sites — something to watch.
Just got a “breaking news” alert from The Politico that Barack Obama has accused the Clinton campaign of engaging in “the old ‘Swift boat’ politics,” using as evidence a Bob Novak piece from earlier today that claimed that Clinton was holding scandalous material on the Illinois senator, refusing to use it in public, but spreading rumors about it behind the scenes. The Novak article ran in Human Events rather than in the columnist’s high-profile perch at the Post, but it spread widely over the Web, no doubt in part because it appeared on Drudge. Obama’s statement is quite strongly worded, as is the Clinton campaign’s response (delivered by email), which basically accuses Barack of being such a callow youth that he’ll fall for an obvious Republican dirty trick.
Regardless of where the truth lies, and it’s going to be interesting as hell finding out, what jumps out at me is the sheer speed of this transaction, particularly for a Saturday. Those of us in the online advocacy community often talk about using this tool and that tool to help mold opinions or win votes, but what I wrote after last year’s mid-term election still stands: the most important effect of the Internet on politics comes from the unfathomable volume of information now available and the speed with which it can spread. The existence of electronic networks has utterly transformed all forms of communications to the extent that we hardly notice it anymore, and the aggregate effect of all of our actions online far outweighs their sum alone. All of which is another way to say, damn, that was fast.
In honor of my brother’s flight to Tokyo today, let’s take our own little trip to the always-worth-it world of Japanese TV, in this case a game show that features live-action Pac-Man. Thanks to Danielle Kriz for sending along this Laughing Squid find:
Japan: once again, winning the award for most bizarre industrialized culture on the planet.