Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Getting into the flow of campaigns

The year 2007 is barely two months old and we are well into the thick of things when it comes to presidential politics for 2008. With candidates announcing their intention of running, or that they are actually running just about every week, it certainly makes for interesting times. And by judging by the websites and presence online for each of these prospective candidates, we've come quite a long way from the "early days" of online fundraising a la Howard Dean. Unfortunately, it also seems that not much ahs changed with regards to people "getting it."

Recently I ran across a few posts by Zack Exley on this topic. In his first post, he talks about the role of authenticity. Specifically:

Building a “genuine relationship” with your supporter base online doesn’t mean simply writing the same boring emails, but writing them yourself. No, it means writing to your supporters from the campaign trail in the same way that you might write to your spouse (without the smoochy stuff) or to a close friend: tell them the exciting things you experienced that day, what they made you think of, a joke you heard, and what occurred to you is really at stake. Some emails could be four pages, and some could be four sentences. Maybe sometimes you should just send a picture you snapped yourself.
In another post Zack continues on this theme of writing one's own emails to would be supporters:

If you can spend six hours per day on high-dollar fundraising, you can take 15 minutes to jot out a note to your supporters.

These posts are echoed by Eve Fairbanks (via Personal Democracy Forum) where she says:

assimilating Internet tactics doesn’t mean you have to assimilate Internet culture, too
As I wade through all of this in my spare time, I am struck by the juxtaposition of reasoning for people in New Hampshire wanting to keep their early primary. Every time the Presidential election rolls around, the state of New Hampshire gears up for the onslaught of cameras and visits by Presidential hopefuls. While there is something likely to be said for the "I shook so and so's hand" the common theme conveyed by a recent ABC News report was that this hands-on, personable campaigning is the way it's supposed to be.

"It's the way politics should be," New Hampshire resident William Juch said of the onslaught. "These people should come and present themselves."

Put another way, I would suggest that this is a more authentic approach as people are able to look a candidate in the eye, talk with them face to face, and perhaps even challenge them as one would a peer. In other words, the interactions with a candidate provide a sense of feedback to those engaged in the process. Sounds a bit like flow now, doesn't it?

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