Rediscovering CBC Radio3 couldn’t have come at a better time…mentally & work-ily preparing for the trek back to Canuckistan. Like a good little borderline OCD nerd, I’ve got a zillion notes & links & half-finished thoughts & nutty schemes that I’m eager to launch. Need to take a step back & synthesise all the thoughtful answers, interesting case studies & inspiring organizations I’ve encountered over the past two weeks & puree that into some coherent thematically-linked presentation. Yeah. Easy.
Well, my colleague Boyd makes it LOOK easy – he has a lovely post on his Intangibles Blog here after attending a lecture by Rahaf Harfoush (Obama social networking/new media strategist) at U of T’s Rotman School of Management.
Boyd’s takeaways beyond Rahaf’s presentation – in brief:
1. SocMedia platform should improve intimacy among your audience
2. Integrate, integrate, integrate
3. No off-the-shelf social media solutions
4. Find the digital sweet spot but prize agility
Would like to add my 2-cents/4-points after a two-week-pre-inauguration-navel-gazing-immersion-course (parantheses-&-hyphens-a-plenty, of course…):
1. If you build it, they won’t all come, so deal with it – MyBO.com had significant membership (2M, & whether it was a ‘true’ social network prompted a cool debate during a meeting in DC…), but the BO team wasn’t so arrogant as to think that MyBO would supplant a robust presence on existing, popular social networks. BlackPlanet, MiGente, Hi5, MySpace, Twitter, Eons, Facebook (Esp. ‘Facebook Connect’ w/ MyBO.com application broadcasting actions into NewsFeed), you name it, BO was there (16 sites total, over 5M external site ‘friends’). (Bitter aside: If the Dean crew had a YouTube channel to leverage in 2004 & hadn’t been, essentially, forced to create DeanTV, it would have been a different ballgame…)
2. ‘Social Objects’ are more relevant than the networks themselves. To blatantly rip off TX’n transplant-guru Hugh, our intentions online isn’t to have a solitary experience – it’s to find a human, collaborative, shared space. BO was successful because *he* became a social object – AntiBushites/Progressives/DeclaredDems/Disaffected*InsertGroupHere* name-dropped BO, & later co-opted his name, image, video clips, iPod playlists, history, narrative, quotes, & everything he represented/touched to coalesce as a group.
3. ( or 2.a)?) Build a digital infrastructure rooted in #1 & #2 – which means developing easy, slick, compelling prompts, apps, sites & materials to grow your audience, on all platforms. Ex-1. BO’s iPhone app had a two-front visceral halo effect – physically people gather around someone as they demo it on their phone & are then compelled to ask its owner to email them (or vice-versa – people receive content from the app & want to watch it ‘in person/at work’). Ex-2. Self-starting enthusiasts didn’t wait for permission to help/advocate/volunteer from campaign HQ via MySpace & Facebook – this is unprecedented from a political standpoint & generally with overall advocacy work via NGOs, etc.
4. And Then? To defy assertions made in this seminal film, there must be an ‘and then.’ BO supporters were happy to take on the campaign gruntwork – logistically & organizationally – now they’re eager to share ideas. How can we use online collaborative tools to improve contact with government officials, link like-minded organizations, create more effective/efficient coalitions & crowd-source solutions? How can we take advantage of the innumerable free tools, enthusiastic & skilled users eager to contribute? First step – embrace transparency, design cleaner interfaces for data accessibility & farm-out raw data to organizations that can better organize/mashup/display what is public information.
- Facebook sprawls: 10M of its 30M users are 30+ years old, 3.3M are 40+ (FB Ads Data) – BO had 3.2M fans & there were 5.4M ‘I Voted’ Americans on E-Day
- Hugh is true: “People respond to genuine social gestures instead of being bombarded with messages.”
- This was the first election cycle where *boomers* were comfortable passing on political information online. Even if a boomer wasn’t on Facebook, their email list makes them ’21st century political pamphleteers’ – (phrase h/t to Andrew Rasiej, Personal Democracy Forum)
- To quote the first TV Pres, JFK, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” Successful online strategies require the equivalent of successful field strategies – research, manpower, accurate demographics, compelling content and a charismatic leader (or social object).