Yet another online channel to keep in mind: embedded PowerPoint. Salon’s War Room critiques the online version of a stategy presentation delivered by House Republican Leader John Boehner. The kicker: you can watch his PowerPoint embedded directly into a web page, giving his talk longer legs than if it’d been kept to the people in the room (or if it were a downloadable file rather than an embed). The embedding tool uses Flash, just as YouTube and other video sites do, and it’s a clever extension of the idea of in-line presentation. Combine with an embedded clip of the actual speech for A/V geek nirvana.
Henry Copeland of Blogads: “As the social media winter looms, the winners will be the folks with strong relationships, low overheads, a strong commitment on innovation rather than coat-tail riding, and, most of all, a indelible passion for the business. We’re looking forward to seeing you after the bust.”
Wired’s Sarah Lai Stirland picked up on a revealing micro-scandal a couple of days ago: Obama supporter Lawrence Lessig has been getting beaten up on Redstate.com and Rush Limbaugh’s radio show over a video he’s used as a mashup example in presentations. The crime? The clip depicts a somewhat swishy Jesus singing “I Will Survive” before a dramatic run-in with a bus proves otherwise (note that the RedState author immediately jumps to the conclusion that this Jesus is gay — musical numbers are always a dead giveaway).
As the Democratic primary process grinds on, the candidates’ supporters are using just about every electronic tool available to swing the race their way. Two cases in point from the Obama side: super.del.egates.us is a wiki-based contact list for voters to use to reach the precious unpledged delegates to the Democratic Convention, while Yrmomma4obama aims to help young voters (and those too young to vote themselves) to use text messages to persuade their friends and family to jump on the Obama bandwagon.
In her presentation this morning, Morra Aarons-Mele made an excellent observation: internet staffers for political campaigns are expected to do everything and to know everything. The same is true in the advocacy world: when I was at the former National Environmental Trust, at various times I was a graphic designer, an HTML coder, an online communications strategist, an email advocacy guy, a database manager, a blog outreacher, a site statistics analyst, a social networking pro, an online advertiser and a trainer of interns — sometimes all in the same day. About the only things I didn’t do were to blog for the organization and to raise money online, and that was only because NET didn’t do those things.
Web staffers are expected to have a broader range of skills than any other part of a campaign or organization (example: do you expect your press relations folks to be fundraising experts?), and yet they’re still often underpaid and kept out of critical communications decisions until late in the process. Bizarre. Oh, and BTW, I can’t fix your computer — it amazed me how often people confused my job with that of our actual (and excellent) IT guy.
I can only assume that this situation exists because the ‘net seems like voodoo to traditional political staff, who often seem to have little idea what actually goes into online communications. As the ‘net insinuates itself more and more into politics at all levels, a change had better come — as Zack Exley put it, you won’t hire an internet person and put him or her in a box, you’ll hire communications staff who actually understand how to use the internet.
Vikki Porter passed along an article today from Rob Garner at Media Post’s Search Insider which details the results of the company’s recent research into political search trends in the ’08 elections. Below are some high points; check out the full piece for more.
Election officials were reporting extremely heavy voter activity in many of the state’s 67 counties throughout the morning, starting with long lines reported even before the polls opened at 7 a.m.
“Let’s just say it’s very busy,” said Joseph Passarella, the director of voter services for Montgomery County, sounding a little harried. “Our phones have been ringing since 6:15 this morning and have been ringing nonstop. We’ve never had a primary election this busy.”
Tonight should be fun! And despite all the wailing, moaning and gnashing of teeth about the prolonged Democratic primary season, how can it be a bad thing for democracy (and for Democrats) to have this many people this fired up?
While you’re waiting for the verdict of the good people of Pennsylvania today, why not check out the beneficial effects of a Googlebomb for a candidate? Go ahead, type “Barack Obama Muslim” or “Obama religion Muslim” into your favorite search engine and see what you get. As former Edwards staffer Tracy Russo mentioned at last week’s Internet Advocacy Roundtable, the first sites you’ll see in the search results debunk the claim that Obama is a secret Muslim Manchurian Candidate. A couple of links claiming the opposite do show up, but they’re well down from skeptical articles from the likes of Snopes, CNN and the Obama campaign itself.
Tracy didn’t go into too much detail about it, but she definitely implied that this distribution of search results was the result of a Googlebomb, which was at least partially encouraged by the Obama campaign behind the scenes. Googlebombing is the deliberate attempt to influence search results through encouraging people across the web to link to certain sites to make them appear authoritative, and it’s been used commercially as well as in the 2006 elections. Lo and behold, here’s a Daily Kos diary piece from March encouraging that very tactic, and note that it mentions that several “yes-he-is-a-Muslim” pieces then appeared much higher in the rankings than they seem to now (not bad results for a month’s work). Andrew Sullivan also reports on various right-wing attempts to bomb Obama over communism and the flag lapel pin, but those seem pretty lame by comparison.
Whether the Obama campaign encouraged or influenced this apparent effort in any way is unclear from the public record, but I would be shocked if their blogger relations people hadn’t been involved in it at some level. It’s another measure of the subtlety of the ways campaigns can interact with the public via the ‘net.