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Hi folks, it’s getting late on a Sunday and I’m coming down from the high of seeing a super-fun band with great stage presence and mad musicianship last night — Super Diamond, the finest Neil Diamond cover band that could possibly be imagined. But now it’s time to confront some hard truths, starting with an understandable one. Guess what: people have stopped buying Herman Cain gear, at least on popular merchandise self-serve website CafePress. According to a CafePress rep,
Herman Cain-tagged merchandise sales nosedived by 62% since October 17, with Cain-related products falling a dramatic 38% since last week.
Meanwhile, for the first time during this campaign, Newt Gingrich-tagged merchandise sales on CafePress have risen two points, from 4% to 6%.
Makes sense — Cain is beset by sexual harassment charges and makes a fool of himself on video (repeatedly), and people quit being so excited about wearing his t-shirts. But here’s something else I read this weekend that absolutely does not compute:
Other evidence? One million talks between current Obama volunteers and staff and people who volunteered for the candidate in 2008, which campaign manager Jim Messina characterized as actual conversations rather than just short fundraising calls. The goal: to persuade people who devoted time and money four years ago to put their training to work again, despite grumbling among some in the “professional Left” that their 2008 investment has yet to pay off substantively. Millions of people made real sacrifices to help Obama get elected the first time around, and his team is doing its best to make sure that the same thing happens over the next twelve months.
Where do you get your news online? For many of us, it’s through the Facebook newsfeed. As US election 2012 buzz heats up with scandals and gaffes, we took a look at how candidates are using social media to connect with their supporters.
From a social media marketing perspective, here’s how they stack up:
What an API does, in essence, is make it easy for the information a service contains to be integrated with the wider Internet. So, to make the metaphor here clear, Occupy Wall Street today can be seen like the early days of Twitter.com. Nearly everyone accessed Twitter information through clients developed by people outside the Twitter HQ. These co-developers made Twitter vastly more useful by adding their own ideas to the basic functionality of the social network. These developers don’t have to take in all of OWS data or use all of the strategies developed at OWS. Instead, they can choose the most useful information streams for their own individual applications (i.e. occupations, memes, websites, essays, policy papers).
Showing some serious geek cred, he next explores the various database calls that would underlie a conceptual OWS API framework. Dude.
Update: Now with a title 50% funnier than the original!
Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin…who was she again? Of course I’m being facetious, but look at the pattern of online discussion around the former next-President of the United States since July 1:
Our new friend Steve Kleine provided this chart via the online monitoring tool Social Radar, and it illustrates dramatically the drop-off in Palin-related conversation since she announced early in October that she WOULDN’T be running for President in 2012. Steve notes that much of the slight uptick at the end of October revolved around speculation about whom she might endorse, along with discussion of her comments that Occupy Wall Street and millionaires were both looking for “bailouts”.
These numbers also suggest why she kept people guessing about her presidential intentions for so long — once the answer was clear, she suddenly wasn’t nearly as interesting. And those books weren’t going to fly off the shelves on their own.
Just launching today: VoterTide, which employs technology originally designed for the music industry and now being applied to politics. Journalists, bloggers and the rest of us can use the VoterTide’s basic version to follow the presidential candidates’ activity, watching their follower growth, see their trending videos, and measure the “Tide Score” generated by the site based on their activity.
But here’s what’s particularly interesting from our point of view: campaigns can use the site’s Pro version to monitor their own and their opponents’ social media presences in detail. Sign up for an account, and you can track a campaign’s social media activity, their followings (and follower growth), the most recent and most prominent online stories about them, and the phrases most commonly associated with them online. Of course, a campaign could hand-assemble most of this data on its own, but VoterTide aggregates it automatically and displays it via a straightforward interface. When your campaign or your opponent generates buzz, you’ll see it quickly, giving staff and consultants much more time to react.
Check out the screenshots after the break to get a taste of VoterTide. I suspect that this service will turn out to be particularly useful for candidates in crowded primaries and for consultants monitoring many different clients at once.
Communications director Matt LeDuc said the site’s content and mobilization strategy will “utterly blow your mind.”
Dude, pass the bong. Congrats to NationBuilder for such a high-profile pickup! And congrats to Newt for getting wise about online mobilization, though of course the proof will be in how his campaign actually uses it. Next up: after full deployment (scheduled for Monday), will the campaign roll out a NationBuilder-based voter-organization system nationally?
Newt’s back! Or so the polls would suggest, though I’d agree with Jonathan Bernstein that he has the proverbial snowball’s chance in Hell of being the nominee, and a negative probability (if such a thing could exist) of becoming President of the United States.
I’m sorry to sound dismissive, but Big Ideas are a dime a dozen — it’s the execution that matters, and in the one area I’m relatively qualified to judge, Gingrich is all self-hype and no delivery. Unless he undergoes some magical transformation, God help the Republican Party if he DOES end up the nominee. And Barack Obama will be the luckiest man you’ll ever know.
With police crackdowns increasing and their physical encampments too-often attracting outright criminals looking for trouble, should Occupy Wall Street consider switching to a largely online existence?
In mid-November, the movement seems poised at a profoundly important turning point. The ideas it promoted — that banks and a wealthy elite have benefited from the current economic system at the expense of the rest of us — have infiltrated the mainstream, with the concept of the 99% resonating profoundly with people across the country. At the same time, a public sympathetic to the physical protests seems to be changing its collective mind as they see violence creep in at the edges and a handful of outright predators take advantage of the naïveté of some of those assembled.
So here’s an alternative: why not cede physical ground to the police and city authorities as needed, giving up on the idea of long-term physical occupation when it’s necessary. Instead, focus on building an online-connected cadre of committed activists who can swoop in for sudden actions in the real world and take over the news cycle BEFORE police can react. I.e., instead of long-term occupations of a few places across the country, why not short-term occupations as they make sense? Much like a classic guerrilla movement, OWS shock troops could then melt away before Bad Things can happen, preparing themselves for the next takeover or encounter.
Last week’s CampaignTech conference was great fun and educational all around, with good friends, good schmoozing and lots of interesting technology to learn about. One highlight: the live interviews conducted by InterCast Network, a company that’ll be working for campaigns in the 2012 cycle. Their staff assembled several of the interviews in the clip below; mine starts at about minute 11:30.
Yes Mom, I’m cranking up the cardio work at the gym! (Your editor is getting a bit portly.) In other E.politics news, an email arrived in the bunker today from a loving reader, whose sole content — other than a name and address which I shall not share — was the subject line, “You guys are jerks.” Buh-lieve me, sir, I have a couple of ex-girlfriends who’d agree with you.