Guest article! What happens when politics meets karaoke? We’re about to find out…and we might just learn something before we’re done. Check out the great advice below from Abigail Collazo and Jesse B. Rauch.
What Politicians Can Learn from Competitive Karaoke
Long the purview of large groups of friends belting out Spice Girls or Maroon 5 at Korean bars, karaoke has finally come to Washington D.C. in team-sport fashion with the arrival of District Karaoke, a social but competitive karaoke league. DK just closed its sold-out second season this week, when over 70 members from 9 teams competed at the City-Wide Finals. But we ARE in the nation’s capital, and it is indeed an election year, so here’s some insight from two politicos and karaoke enthusiasts as to what political campaigns and candidates can learn from powerhouse songbirds.
1) Know Your Audience
Karaoke is not about you, the performer. It’s about the audience, and about you entertaining them. There’s nothing more mortifying than having your audience turn away from you (unless they happen to bring tomatoes with them – then there IS something worse). This is why it’s critical that you sing to your audience and cater to their likes and dislikes. In other words, meet them where they are. This may be as simple as not singing Don’t Stop Believing first thing in the evening to a crowd of millennials – they’ll judge you for it, and not well. Or if your audience trends older, steering clear of Tenacious D or Sir Mix a Lot, and instead dusting off that Frank Sinatra, Etta James, or Nat King Cole number. Choose songs that your audience is familiar with, tunes and lyrics that resonate with their experiences and lives.
If you have some connection to the online organizing tool NationBuilder, you probably got the email printed below, which alleges “harassment” of the company’s political customers by rival NGP VAN. NGP’s response to the NationBuilder email is beneath, and see also Steve Ofner’s “what a CRM is and isn’t” article inspired by progressive criticism of NationBuilder over its contracts with Republicans.
NGP VAN harassment of NationBuilder customers
I hate having to send this email, but we are getting numerous reports that NGP VAN is both lying to and bullying some of the Democratic candidates using NationBuilder. This is appalling, and we want to make sure our customers know the truth.
They are saying that your data is not secure and more specifically, that we give it to your opponents. This is utterly ridiculous. You own your data. You can export it, import it, and share it with whoever you want, but we will never give it to someone else. Ever. Our entire company and infrastructure is set up to preserve your data’s integrity.
Some of you are also receiving threats from NGP VAN and being prohibited from importing your data into NationBuilder. I’m so sorry you are being treated like this.
In the video below, Aiden and I touch on a ton of good topics, including the power of data for microtargeting in general, for cookie-based voter-file targeting, for multi-variant email fundraising campaigns and for tracking supporter actions, including social sharing. We also talk about the new NGP/VAN Social Organizing tool, the importance of trained staff, differences between Democrats and Republicans online and kinds of content that work online. Check it out:
For more on key 2012 tech trends, see also the series I cranked out a couple of months back for Campaigns & Elections. Delicious and nutritious!
A coalition of diverse organizations in New York City has banded together to escalate the conversation regarding paid sick days for workers, with an emphasis on getting the NY City Council to pass legislation mandating paid sick days. So far, Council Speaker Christine Quinn has not called for a vote on this issue. But now, it just may happen — after the coaltion (with a little help from their friends) gave us an impromptu course in how to run online rapid response.
Last Wednesday morning, the coalition announced that they were teaming with Gloria Steinem to ramp up the pressure in this campaign. Speaker Quinn must have realized she needed a powerhouse of her own. So on Thursday, Susan Sarandon (aka, a celebrity activist who often ends up on the progressive side of things) tweeted this:
Shortly thereafter, the coalition sprang into action. Using other online tools such as email and Facebook and even offline tools like phone calls and text messages, they urged supporters to ask Susan to use her relationship with NYC Council Speaker (and expected candidate for NYC Mayor in 2013) Christine Quinn to allow the council to vote on paid sick days legislation.
What followed? A firestorm of over 100 tweets within a few hours:
Hi folks, here’s a quick update on the latest Epolitics.com e-book, How Campaigns Can Use the Internet to Win in 2012: as of this morning, it had been directly downloaded 3243 times! And of course, that number doesn’t include any forwarding-via-email, thumb drive, printout, floppy disk, microdot, carrier pigeon, etc. Most people (not surprisingly) have gone for the free PDF, but about 100 folks have shelled out the big $2.99 to buy the Kindle version in the Amazon store.
Very cool all around! Many thanks go out to anyone who’s downloaded it themselves or helped to spread the word, and I’d also love to hear back from anyone who’s putting it to direct use in the field. These things are a ton of work to pull together, but they’re worth it — they have a heft that no blog post is likely to manage, and they help to reach entirely new audiences. Wonder what’s next? So do I…though I have a few ideas floating around, and you’ll be the first to hear about them.
The upshot: the vendors I talked to agree that it’s part of a balanced breakfast, an important tool but not the be-all and end-all of digital persuastion for campaigns. Check it out and see what you think.
Daniel Kreiss, a professor in the school of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC, just put out a new book that examines the adoption of digital technologies by the political Left in the U.S.:
My new book, Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama, was just published with Oxford University Press in their Digital Politics series. It is available on Amazon.
I interviewed many participants on [the Progressive Exchange listserv] in the course of researching the book, which tells the history of the uptake of new media in Democratic electoral campaigning over the last decade. To do so, I focus on processes of technological innovation, progressive infrastructure-building, and the organization of new media operations on campaigns.
Hey kids! Tonight (Tuesday) I’m speaking at a Progressive Tech Meetup/happy hour at Public Bar. The subject? People-Powered-Politics, with a focus on how digital organizing can help us counter the wave of big-donor money that’s flowing into the 2012 elections. We’ll kick off the party at 6:30.
Besides the program, which’ll focus on discussion/Q&A, we’ll have drink specials and appetizers, plus door prizes and lots of interesting folks to talk with. Hecklers welcome, though prepare to be schooled in front of your peers. C’mon over and let’s turn it into a real conversation. Here are the deets:
Guest article! A little discussion blew up over on the Progressive Exchange listserv this week, with some folks less-than-pleased that NationBuilder‘s being used by Republicans. Steve Ofner posted the piece below in response to the argument that liberals ought to stay away from it as a result.
Not to stir up a discussion about any specific tool, organization or person, but I’d like to clear up what I think is a common misconception that I keep seeing over and over about CRM. CRM (CONSTITUENCY Relationship Management) was not conceived out of thin air using progressive organizing principles.
I’m saying this as someone who designed several of the systems on the left — I designed ProgressNow (later PartyBuilder and MyBO) at BlueStateDigital to Bobby Clark’s requirements, the first few versions of Salsa/MySalsa and much of the early Act Blue functionality with their folks. In each of those cases, I was building on my experience designing CRM (CUSTOMER Relationship Management) for PetroChems, Wall Street, and Pharmaceutical companies. I know, the three worst industries imaginable. And that was why I left that in 2004 to only work for good.
In the first segment in this two-part series, I briefly explored the idea that social media isn’t just about being social, but is now about social sharing. Today I want to explore how this subtle shift in thinking should affect the content we produce. How do we optimize it for social sharing?
First, Content that is visual or audio is more likely to get shared. With the constant bombardment of online of messaging, visual messaging caters to our increasingly short attention spans. I recently saw an infographic on Pinterest (surprise?) that indicated that over the last 10 years our attention span has gone from an average of 12 minutes to 5 minutes. In a 2010 NY Times article it was stated that on average approximately 44% of the audience will stop watching a video after the one minute mark and 10% will abandon the video after just 10 seconds. [Ed. note: I'm surprised the number is only 10%!]