Archive for November 15th, 2011

NewtHampshire!: Newt’s on NationBuilder

Or at least, he will be soon. Yes, just a couple of hours after we here at Epolitics.com made fun of his overpriced website/CRM system again, it turns out that Newt Gingrich is soon to launch “‘Newt Hampshire!‘, a social media volunteer platform wholly dedicated to Granite State volunteers” and built on NationBuilder. Good for Newt! He’s actually adopting some solid (and relatively cheap) technology. Best part of the announcement, as quoted by First Read:

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?

cpd

6 comments November 15th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

As Newt Gingrich Rises in the Polls, Why His Grossly Over-Priced Website Matters

Update: Only hours after this piece was published, the Gingrich campaign announced an upcoming New Hampshire-focused site based on the NationBuilder platform, which is good technology. Perhaps he’s learning!

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’ll take as one piece of evidence his grossly overpriced website/email management system, which reportedly cost close to $800,000…for a competent but thoroughly pedestrian site (built in Drupal, an open-source platform) married to a cookie-cutter mass-email system. Which of course should have cost him closer to a range of $25,000-$50,000 at most. Why does this matter? Because it goes to his ability to deliver. For a candidate who touts his “big ideas,” who aimed for a high-tech campaign launch and who’s long been “preoccupied with technology,” he sure doesn’t seem to know much about putting any of it into practice.

Okay, so he overpaid for standard technology by a factor of 20 or so. Despite that little flap over potentially fake Twitter followers, perhaps he’s mobilized an internet army that’s poised to act on his behalf? Apparently not, since Atlantic correspondent Elspeth Reeve had to look far and wide to find much grassroots support for him online at all. He does have SOME digital support — at least judging from the three comments left yesterday on the previous Epolitics.com Newt website story — but so far the only thing I’ve seen him do is to send a relatively high volume of emails about Newt (I’d be fascinated to watch the trend of open rates on those…).

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.

cpd

1 comment November 15th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us

Should OWS Switch to Online-Enabled Guerrilla Actions?

Also published on HuffingtonPost

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.

(more…)

1 comment November 15th, 2011 Trackback Bookmark on del.icio.us


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