Want Some Help, Harry?
Some time in the last 30 days Harry Reid (D-NV, Senate Minority Leader) set up his “war room” in the Senate office building to be the human hub of defending Social Security. The internet blogosphere—approximately four million committed liberals who read, comment, and author political blogs and sites—was not invited.
Greatly admiring the crushing win of Barbara Boxer (D-CA) I clicked on the ad she bought over at Kos’s place to stop Condi Rice yesterday. At least she knew where to look for help, but after enough clicks to arrive at “get involved” I was offered one option: give money, liberal.
Such silence and cluelessness is greatly disheartening so, if I may, Mr. Reid, I’m going to offer y’all some explanations and scenarios about asking the blogosphere for help, along with an observation about how your “war room” would be different if you had invited us in. I won’t waste your time, sir.
The blogosphere--part of which rushed into the Dean campaign and showed its power—only has one item on its agenda: activity. That’s it. The only ethos of honor among those chained to the machines dreaming of a real America is that a citizen do something civically. Inviting us in won’t mean we take over the party, transform all your employment to us, or assault your ideals.
Please—there is no agenda or leadership of the blogosphere. There is no threat at all from those who pray at the altar of political http organizing, just a recognition that the browser is a great facilitator of classic political organizing and conversation, not some hoary beast that’s difficult to understand or harness.
The blogosphere likes to serve. If you know how to ask in the right way and ask for the right things you get nuclear results, like a nobody from VT becoming the Democratic candidate frontrunner and getting endorsed by Al Gore.
The first thing you have to do is talk to us, so set up a blog with a great writer in the war room. That’s all a blog does—after reading it enough times we’re positive there’s real humans in the room just like us who hope and dream and work and think and laugh and most of all, cares like we do. Then we’ll trust you.
If you need a blogger, ask. I hope I can explain this to you, sir, but you have to understand that in the blogosphere a Senator is a rock star, a brilliant orb of goodiness in the fevered mind of the political junkie. If you mailed Kos a request for one guest entry to introduce your war room blog it would be one of the high points of his life, a cherished memory of triumph and honor that would throb in his soul forever. In a twinkling forty incredible writers would volunteer, and your umbilical to salvation, presto, would appear.
Your guest entry asks for three goals introducing the war room blog: labor, media generation, and cash.
If a volunteer can show up in DC in five days to work 12 x 7 for 45 days, food and lodging somehow taken care of (local DC Democrats get organized to take them in, hopefully), have a wireless laptop, have campaign experience and always follow orders from a Reid staffer, there are forty labor slots open at the war room. They’d all fill in 5 days, Harry.
Use a media generation strategy that engages the blogosphere with polling. Offer blog readers five different options of a commercial and abide by the will of the readers (this isn’t all of your media engagement, okay? Just try it) in the polling results. Carefully read all the comments to get amazed at the incredible wealth of good ideas, and ultimately great commercials, that come out of this easy process.
Volunteers—earnest, often enviably brilliant human souls who are giddy to help just because you asked—saturate the web with still and Flash graphics delivering war-room approved messaging. Your war room has a web messaging and graphic strategy, right, Harry?
Ahem. Then, sir, you ask for money. Please don’t come to us like a Tijuana whore and demand cash to get involved. Just be yourself in the screens as you have fun in the browser, it’s a blast, I swear, and the money will crash in with just a small donation link at the war room blog.
Still don’t believe me, I see. All right; develop a core messaging strategy—say, “what Social Security has personally delivered to my family”—and ask your celebrity Senate buddies to guest entry on all the big liberal political blogs. They tell their story and ask for cash, for whatever is needed at the war room. Prepare to be amazed, that’s all I’m going to say.
The software tools to do all this are childishly simple and absurdly cheap. IT infrastructure costs are dirt cheap, especially using ROI. All you need is committed humans at the screens, Mr. Reid, because when I started writing at 0430 today your “war room” was empty and utterly lifeless.
Had your net volunteers been asked in at least five or six would have been up at 0430 on a Sunday, working and engaging the base through the screens, just yap, mostly, but I keep being amazed how just a little plain human contact keeps being discounted as unimportant in this world. It’s not, and that’s all the blogosphere represents, Mr. Reid, human political contact with thermonuclear potential.
You war room wouldn’t be dead, but humming with energy, music, pizza crusts, hope and, in a new and exciting way, an expression of the American experience that will keep our cherished Democratic party ideals alive.
If you still don’t believe any of this call me for my resume and I’ll prove it to you. That goes for you too, Senator Boxer.