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The Republican Party And New Media

by @ 5:33 pm on November 25, 2008. Filed under Internet, Politics, Technology, Virginia, Virginia Politics

Jason Kenney has another post up at Bearing Drift about the disconnect between the Republican Party of Virginia and the New Media:

[W]hat works on a national level, with a national party, does not necessarily work on a local, grassroots level. While a web presence is a must for any campaign in this day and age, a full fledged eCampaign is not necessary for a Board of Supervisors race or even some Delegate races.

What are the best online tools to use to appeal to a district in Southwest Virginia? Is it worth using Twitter to connect with activists and voters in Virginia Beach? Do Richmond voters care about Facebook?

These are questions best answered not by someone familiar with the tools but by someone familiar with those areas, those markets, and how they can best be served by those tools. A national director of eCampaigning is merely a big name that one can slap on a panel to make it look official but delivers no real lesson to those that need it most.

A national director of eCampaigning is merely a name out of a rolodex because RPV had no idea who else to turn to.

When the party is faced with a tough road ahead it needs solid leadership behind which it can unify. A standard bearer that can craft, deliver and control a solid, unified message that brings the party together. Instead, RPV is delivering a disjoined effort in communicating its brand, an effort that threatens to derail not just RPV’s attempts to communicate with the new media but any attempts to communicate with and rally the grassroots as we approach 2009.

Along the same lines, Eric Odom points out the fundamental mistake that Republicans seem to be making when it comes to eCampaigning:

The GOP has a hard lesson to learn here. In summary, that lesson is that you can never, under any circumstance, control new media. You can’t control the message, you can’t control the technology, and you can’t control the people. You can’t “use” new media, and you can’t make it push your agenda.

And you can never, NEVER insult the blogosphere and then expect it to embrace you.

The real trick is to roll your sleeves up and immerse yourself. Don’t claim to be a “professional”. Instead, claim to be someone wanting to learn and build relationships. Work to develop networks and build friendships. Work to help people trust you.

Then, and ONLY then can you launch a website and integrate it safely in to the center-right blogosphere. As an individual you can do whatever you like, but as an organization with a partisan agenda, you have everything to lose.

So far at least, it doesn’t seem like Republicans, both in Virginia and elsewhere, are realizing that.

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One Response to “The Republican Party And New Media”

  1. Matt the Great says:

    Ron Paul seems to be the only Republican who has been able to succeed in this area. I realize that he can be crazy at times, but there are so many positives that the Republicans could take from his campaign. I struggle to understand why none of the big-name Republicans want to work with him.

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