Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

Old Ideas in a Web 2.0 World

December 3, 2008

Many may ask, why cling to old ideas in a world that is rapidly changing at the drop of a hat? I graduated from college four years ago, and when I graduated we all still took notes on paper. There was no WiFi and one Ethernet port per classroom on the off-chance that someone brought in a laptop. Now, four short (and might I add quick) years later, all freshman get a laptop, the school is completely networked for WiFi and no one takes notes on paper. So in a world where everything changes quickly, why cling to old ideas? Why, because they work. They worked in 1776, 1876, 1976, and will continue to work. Even though everythging around us is changing freedom, liberty, and prosperity remain constant. The government was the problem then and remains to be the problem. The more we can weaken it, the better. Poeple have always been the best advocates for themselves.

A lot has been said, since the election, that the conservative movement is dead (especially by sites like The Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo). The conservative movement is not dead, nor do we need to press the “reset button” as some have stated. All we need to is realize how valuable things like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social networking sites really are. The message does not need to be changed, just the way we deliver it. The days of postcards, and robocallers are dead. That is how we came to power in the 80s and mid-90s. That was 15 years ago. A lot has changed since then.

We also need to promote the right message. We cannot get tied down in the petty games of unimportant problems (the Obama birth certificate is the most recent and most ridiculous). We need to focus on the real issues, not issues that are irrelevant to the average person (McCain learned this the hard way with William Ayers). We also need to have plans for our policies (as Eric Cantor pointed out). I think most of the conservative blogosphere is doing a relatively good job of that, but we need to be doing a lot better.

A week, or so, ago I was in the headquarters of Americans for Tax Reform attending a social media roundtable with a who’s who of young conservatives. The main speakers were the people behind The Next Right and RebuildtheParty (the same people).  The purpose of these gatherings is to share best practices and tips with other conservatives. Since this was the first meeting, they just gave an overview of why the Web is important to the future of conservatism. That also happened to be the day the Washington Post article about Obama’s success on the Web came out so that was the main subject. I believe the mark was missed. All they talked about was incredible it was that he got 13 million names to sign up for his e-mail list. How much of a genius he was and how techy he was.

As my colleague so astutely pointed out, Obama is not some Internet guru. He was a social sensation. Had Reagan been running in 2008, he would have had 13 million e-mail addresses too. Obama captivated people and made himself available on the Internet. It was very smart strategy for Obama to invest so much time and money in the Internet from the very start of his campaign, but he just tapped into an already existing market that was waiting for him. No one on McCain’s side was waiting for him, so he started from scratch. He did all the same things Obama did with YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and the like. He just didn’t captivate people. How did Obama get this ready-made network to tap into? The left blogosphere made it for him.

The left blogosphere rose to prominence by pointing out missteps of Republicans. When what was said didn’t match with what was done, they were on the Web informing people. the right rarely does anything like that. Instead, the Web is treating like talk radio. Instead of going after policiy issues, they go after misstatements that are, most of the time, taken out of context. That will only succeed in driving people away. Matt Sheffield should be a model to us all. His site, exposed Dan Rather’s misrepresentation of facts on Bush and helped to get him off TV. That is real activism that people can get behind. My Colleague, Conn Carroll, has been doing his best to keep up with the trials of the left.

If we are to succeed in the 21st century we need to adapt to new technology as it changes, not after we lose elections because we were scared to adapt. We can be the trendsetters. We have to be.