Interesting development: @barackobama, which has almost 10 million followers and is run by the President’s re-election campaign, is explicitly asking supporters to Tweet at their Congressmembers. And, they’re naming names and giving addresses:
Tennessee voters: Tweet @SenAlexander and @senbobcorker and ask them to compromise on a balanced deficit solution. (link)
This may have happened before, but I sure haven’t seen it lately — most of the recent traffic on the Obama feed has focused on campaign events or feel-good moments like the women’s soccer World Cup, not on in-your-face advocacy. The Congressmembers themselves are deeply entrenched in their positions, meaning that even a few thousand Tweets lobbed their way aren’t likely to budge them a bit, but these messages (particularly any from constituents) will be a visible show of support for the President’s position in a public venue. Which, as we’ve discussed before, is an opportunity Democrats have gone out of their way to miss lately.
Welcome to the best game of all, @barackobama — politics.
Update: The NY Daily News is making a big deal out of the fact that Obama’s lost some 40,000 followers since his Twitter feed got aggressive. 40k out of 9.4-ish million? That’s less than one half of one percent — which sounds like small change to me. And if these folks didn’t want to get messages from something that resembles an actual political campaign, what good were they to him anyway?
Digital maven and veteran activist Ivan Boothe has sent over an invitation to what promises to be an excellent examination of the implications of Google+ for political advocacy, along with a comprehensive list of related articles (including the early Epolitics.com overview — thanks, Ivan!). Both the invitation and the article list are reprinted below for your enjoyment. FYI, I’m now on Google+ if you want to connect in that brave new land.
Browsing around over at Epolitics.com, an online political advocacy blog by Colin Delany, I was treated to the Allen West ad you see on the right.
This is the first in a two-part series on political advertising. In this post, I’ll focus on Adwords, Adsense, and retargeting cookies. In part two I’ll tear apart this ad in particular, and talk about the best ways to solicit online donations. Also have a look at my album of Facebook political ads.
If you didn’t know, Congressman West is the controversial Tea Party Freshman member of The House of Representatives for Florida’s 22nd district. Most recently he’s been criticized for sending a scathing email to fellow Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, a gentle lady also from Florida.
One more quick disambiguation: Adsense is the Google service used to make money from ads on your site. Adwords is the Google service used to buy and place ads on the ‘net. Today, 97% of Google’s revenue comes from Adwords (down from 99% in 2008).
Why am I seeing the Allen West ad?
How are ads targeted?
Adwords advertisers can specifically target their ads, like the West billboard. Millions of sites use Adsense to make money, so there is many a niche to be found. You can specify what keywords should be on the sites where your ad will be shown, explicitly exclude sites (that might not be favorable to you), and narrow users by their physical location. There are plenty of pre-formatted geographies to choose from, like state, city, county, etc., but you can also draw your own area for the ad to be shown. In this case I’m making an ad to be shown just to people who live and/or work “inside the beltway”:
So to take a long way to answer the question, I am probably seeing this ad because team West is targeting ads toward users in DC who are surfing political-related sites. Good on ya. But, there is one more devious and highly-effective trick that the advertisers may be employing: retargeting cookies.
Mmmmmm, delicious brains…tonight I’m heading over to Georgetown to talk with one of Alan Rosenblatt’s grad classes on digital politics. These discussions are usually great, and I typically learn at least as much from the students as they do from me, which is ideal in my book.
And in tonight’s conversation, “my book” is exactly what I’ll have in mind, at least the e-book variety — I’ve seen a steady uptick in traffic to both the Obama campaign book and “Winning in 2010″ over the last couple of months, which makes sense as 2012 gets closer. The Obama book stands as-is, since it’s a look back at What Happened, but it’s time to put out a new version of “Winning,” this time focused on, you guessed it, using the internet to win in the 2012 elections. I’m planning to get together with a bunch of folks in the field over the next few weeks to gather perspectives, and the first set of ideas I plan to steal are those of Alan’s students. Mmmmmm, delicious brains….
Hi folks, the other day I started wondering just how many people had contributed content to Epolitics.com since the site launched, so I decided to go diggin’. It turns out that sizable bunch of kick-ass experts have shared their wisdom with us over the years — 23 24! guest authors in total, assuming I didn’t miss anybody. Here they are, roughly in reverse-order of when they started writing for the site, along with a link to a representative article (many have written more than once). Wouldn’t you just love to be among their number? Drop me a note with some ideas and let’s chat.
Ah, Next Media Animation, thank you for brightening our lives with your utterly inappropriate and completely bizarre depictions of the news of the day. Tiger suits rule! As do floating hot dogs. Also note Wu’s epic birth, and his apparent ability to transform magically into a bear when menacing women.
Monday night and Tuesday morning checks of the websites of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., showed a “Server is too busy” response on an otherwise blank screen, as did the House Ways and Means Committee website on Tuesday morning. Boehner’s separate representative site was down on Monday night, also, though the district and House Majority Leader sites of Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., were working.
In his article, National Journal’s David Beard also reports that the Congressional phone system almost joined those websites and others in crashing, but that Twitter survived (thank god). So Congressmembers could use social media to send messages OUT to constituents, though I doubt they could listen to many of them in return (comments on Boehner’s Facebook post about his speech already number above 4000).
How can Romney, Bachmann, Cain, Pawlenty, Paul, et al, use digital channels to find supporters and put them to work? Get three expert perspectives in the video discussion below, which features friends-of-Epolitics Julie Germany, Mike Turk and Katie Harbath. The moderator? NBC’s Chuck Todd, for whom I built the Hotline Scoop website when he was at National Journal back in 1999. DC’s a small town….
A little too much of the early conversation focuses on an “innovative” Facebook/NBC online debate scheduled for early 2012 for my tastes, but Julie, Mike, Katie and Chuck do get to spend plenty of time talking about fundraising, media filtering and information overload, volunteer mobilization, social media best practices and a lot more.
Guess what: people tend to give money when they’re all riled up. This week’s example? When Republican Rep. Allen West blew up via email at Democratic colleague Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Tuesday, saying, “You are the most vile, unprofessional, and despicable member of the US House of Representatives… you are not a Lady,” Democratic fundraisers must have broken records sprinting to their computers to crank out emails. Both the DCCC and Emily’s List zapped out messages to their lists on Wednesday, for example, hoping to convert activist anger into money in the bank.
Yes, those fleeting moments can be fundraising gold — remember that the biggest single day of political giving came after Sarah Palin insulted community organizers in her speech to the Republican convention in 2008, when tens of thousands of Democrats responded by flooding Barack Obama’s coffers with cash. Of course, this calculation can cut both ways, since West has also sent out a plea for donations to HIS supporters.
In any case, not all political fundraising attempts to capitalize on a moment’s emotion, but it still never hurts to have an opponent who angers your base. Case in point: Rick Santorum is asking for money to fight sex columnist Dan Savage’s successful (and hilarious) campaign to, um, rebrand the former Senator by asking bloggers to link his name to descriptions of, well, why don’t you just Google it yourself. Good luck, Rick! You’ll need it — The People have spoken.
Finally, another example of capitalizing on the moment — remember that Epolitics.com post on Newt Gingrich’s veeeeery expensive website? Because I was early out of the gate on that one, and also carefully incorporated the words “Newt Gingrich,” “website” and “$800,000″ in the article title, Google has rewarded me with many hundreds of new visitors over the past couple of days, at least doubling the site’s traffic over that period. We’ll see how many of them stick around and say howdy (I doubt many of the random curious are digital politics enthusiasts), but it’s a good example of why a fast response to a breaking story can make a huge difference. In this case, it made the Epolitics.com article the top Google search result on the issue, which does not hurt one bit.
Guest article! Organizing2.0′s Charles Lenchner — a long-time friend-of-the-site — conducted the excellent interview below with the PCCC’s Jason Rosenbaum, another stand-up guy who’s a ton of fun to get a beer with. Check out their discussion about what goes into a making a good new media director, originally published on Org2.0′s blog.
Like many of you on the Bold Progressive‘s campaign list, I saw an email recruiting new media directors for congressional campaigns. As a close follower of how politicians are adapting to the shifting campaigning landscape, I had a few questions to ask. This interview is with Jason Rosenbaum of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
Organizing 2.0: I hear you are looking for a few good organizers…. Jason: Yes! New media directors, to be precise. [Job details here.]
Organizing 2.0: What’s the likely profile of these NMD’s? Are these positions that a congressional campaign would fill on its own, or are you supplying something they simply won’t have without you? Jason: We’re looking for folks that have both great tech skills, but are also (and more importantly) talented strategic organizers who are motivated to help progressives run and win boldly. These are positions that a campaign might fill on their own, but is often filled with a Washington, DC based consultant or by someone less talented and committed.
Organizing 2.0: Are you saying that there’s an evolution going on, where certain tasks once dominated by consultants are now shifting in-house? Jason: I’m not sure I’d describe it as so movement-wide, but certainly, we at the PCCC believe there are lots of consultants in DC who are highly paid to do poor work, and lots of that could be done better and more cheaply in-house.
Gingrich also spent nearly $800,000 on Internet and software-related services from three technology firms. Spokesman R.C. Hammond said the bills were largely due to high start-up costs for a new Web site.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, fell $1 million into debt by the end of the quarter. The campaign still owes more than $200,000 on a $700,000-plus bill from the Austin, Texas, firm hired to develop his website and email distribution platform.
Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond defended the campaign’s Web development costs.
“Reaching out to a voter online is just as important as reaching out to a voter in person,” he said. “It will be a cornerstone to how the campaign communicates with the coalition of supporters we’re building.”
Colin Delaney [sic], founder and editor of epolitics.com, a website devoted to online politics, told CBS Radio News the Twitter forum is a way for the White House to “deliver their message unfiltered.” Delaney noted, “This is a way for them to get their message out directly at a point when a lot of people are paying attention.”