The peasants are revolting! The latest evidence comes in a quick email from Convio, one of the online advocacy providers:
Please be advised that the House of Representatives is currently imposing limits on inbound communications from constituents because volumes are so high that Congressional websites and web forms are becoming non-responsive. A limit on the number of emails that can be sent via the “Write Your Rep” web form system (the software that a majority of Representatives use to power their web forms) is being imposed during peak email traffic hours.
Clients may want to adapt their campaign timing or switch contact methods (to phone) to avoid delivery disruptions due to these limits. The throttling is dynamic, so unfortunately there is no simple guidance we can offer that will ensure delivery. The throttling is likely to remain in place until the end of the current legislative session.
More here from The Hill, which reports that the change was announced to members via a “Dear Colleague” letter today [Update:Wired has a screenshot, and c.f. tPrez]. Welcome to an engaged (and enraged) citizenry! Question: how long before the switchboard melts from all the calls?
Update: The House isn’t the only one having trouble today; Dem fundraising site ActBlue also seems to have gone down, at least according to several Twitterers, though it was working when I checked. Somewhere, a techie has been sweating blood… Update 2: they were down from 2:35 to 5:10 this afternoon (ouch), and apparently the end-of-quarter fundraising rush was just a bit overwhelming.
Palin needs to be replaced, immediately. Both conservatives and liberals have acknowledged this openly and repeatedly – not from any ideological bias, but from a deep-rooted concern for our country.
As a Republican, I am embarrased by the postings on this board. Any poster here that defends the unmitigated ignorance that Palin has displayed repeatedly does not have the interests of the GOP in mind. We once were the vanguard of political thought. We’ve become the intellectual equivalent of a Jerry Springer guest – attempting to shout down anyone who disagrees with our embarassingly flawed positions.
Of course, of course, we can draw the most limited of conclusions from website comments, since the people who leave them are both functionally anonymous and not a representative sample of the population. But illuminating nonetheless — Palin may have excited social conservatives, but what about those Republicans with OTHER priorities? How fired up are THEY going to be about voting on November 4th?
But here’s how the internet REALLY interacts with the presidential debates — it’s going to help shape the collective water-cooler discussion tonight and tomorrow, and the campaigns are going to be fully in the fray from the start. McCain and the Wall Street Journal might have jumped the gun with victory ads today, but surely both the McCain and Obama campaigns have online search/display ads, videos, emails and text messages ready to launch. During and after, they don’t want to miss a beat in trying to shape the public’s perception of what happened and what’s happening.
Here’s something to keep you busy for a couple of hours on a dreary Friday afternoon: a comprehensive collection of political campaign television commercials dating back to the 1950s. Revealing for more than just political reasons, since they also capture the aesthetics and pacing of the televised culture of the time. The best stand apart: if you’ve never actually seen the LBJ/daisy ad from 1964 in its entirety, watch below. Even forgetting its political/communications significance, it’s a fantastic piece of design.
Note that like a lot of current YouTube “commercials” (i.e., campaign videos), it ran only once as a paid ad, but was amplified by being shown to the huge audiences then watching the network news shows. For a good introduction, check out John Dickerson’s playlist — terrific stuff (in the G.H.W. Bush one, notice how funny the words “In a world where…” sound — too many movie promos…). Or, create and annotate your own, a nice social media touch.
Matchmakers, Matchmakers, Making a Mint. The modern business of dating in DC, so much more complicated than the old standards, which are (in reverse order) roofies, chloroform and the stench of raw power.
Sure, the elections have gotten most of the attention this year, but if nothing else could, the current crisis in the finance system has cut through the clutter to remind us that the REAL business of politics often comes after the ballots are cast. In Washington and every other capital, many actors play on the public policy stage, working to get legislation and regulation in place that reflect their interests. More and more often they’re finding that new media play a key role, and a new bipartisan group blog has popped up to focus on the role of the internet in getting work done in Washington: K Street Café, sponsored by the Adfero Group. E.politics is honored to have been asked to be one of the founding authors.
File this under creepy sales follow-up: a couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a company that sells client/contact management software for public affairs firms. I’d participated in a couple of events for one of their competitors, and I assumed they’d scooped my address up and put it in their promo database. The heart of the email was a link to a page on their site on which they compared their services to those of their competitor, under quite favorable terms of course. Being a big fan of propaganda, I clicked.
Hey kids, plenty of good stuff going on this week. First off, Hank Dearden’s Capital Cabal returns tonight, but this time it’s in Bethesda, so at least the DC types won’t have to swim the Mighty Potomac River to make it. Next, on Wednesday the Young MC’s will have a rooftop happy hour on I Street — apparently, no turntables necessary, only an interest in communications. The weather should be perfect, and thanks to the lovely Shana Glickfield for the tip.
Finally, the much-awaited First Presidential Debate is on Friday, and e.politics is co-hosting a fundraiser/watch party down at Left Bank (Adams Morgan) starting at 8, which should be a hoot and a half. Can’t quite make it all the way up the 18th Street hill? Check out The Root watch party at Marvin @ 14th & U (I may hop the Adams Morgan short bus and hit ‘em both). Nobody call me before noon on Saturday — I’d hate to have to shoot my new iPhone.
Hey y’all, don’t miss out on the OneWebDay fun today: in DC, there’ll be a time capsule burial in the late morning and a happy hour at Tryst (Adams Morgan) after work. You’ll have to dig a hole/have a drink without me, though — I’m hopping a train to NYC for an afternoon client meeting.
A tough question came up in a conversation with a visiting group of Danish communications professionals last week — how do you actually measure the effectiveness of social media outreach? At that moment, the questioner seemed to be looking for some grand sweeping mechanism, but I think the reality is much more complicated: how you measure social media depends on what you’re trying to make it do.
Trying to Grab Hold of a Cloud
Here’s the problem: as with so much communications work, the effects of social media outreach can be quite diffuse. Say your advocacy campaign has a video on your issue out on YouTube — how do you measure the influence it has on the public mind? Some thing with that network of activists you’ve laboriously built up through Facebook — how do you find out how much good they’re actually doing you?