It is not hard to see that the “new media”: FaceBook, Twitter and Blogs played a major roll in electing President Obama. While John McCain was using US mail and email, Democrat supporters were blogging, tweeting and social networking their way to the White House. In a scene reminiscent of the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation,the collective democrats were able to move, think and speak as one. This was a major tactical advantage. Put out the call for $5 donations and the cash rolled in. Need an instant crowd for a last minute Messiah town hall meeting? No problem. They were all assimilated. Require an instant protest? Tweet one up.
Republicans are slower and more cautious. While they were worried that someone might be able to gather information on them if they put up a FaceBook page, Democrats were befriending millions. Every thought became an action.
Democrats are fond of calling the Republicans the party of no, but in reality Republicans are the party of know. As in they know a good thing when they see it. And the new media is a good thing, and that reality was not lost on the Republican Party of Virginia or Bob McDonnell. Virginia Republicans did not dip in a toe to test the waters, they dove full on into the information age and embraced it as the preferred method of communications. Sure they send fliers, emails, make calls and knock doors, but they added blogging, tweeting, flickr, YouTube and any other Social Networking tool available. Web ads can be produced on a low budget and distributed free. Response to attacks comes at the speed of light instead of the speed of US mail.
No place was this new found tool more prominently displayed than the 2009 Virginia Republican Convention at the Richmond Coliseum May 30-31, 2009.
Bloggers Row was set up for the 30+ bloggers with power and wireless internet provided, as well as tables and chairs located in a prime spot. The candidates for House of Delegates as well as current elected officials and Republican leaders all took a stroll down bloggers row. It was a constant stream of of the parties best and brightest there to shake hands, offer interviews and meet the citizen journalists poised to help the party reestablish themselves as the top party.
Many took advantage of the mini studio platform and held interviews with various politicians and discussed the issues on camera. This was an amazing service for the bloggers set up by Greg Letiecq, Bob Pugh, Art Harmon, Steve Albertson of the New Media Committee, Music Outlet of Manassas with discounts and Cort Putbrese. I am sure I am leaving some out, but it was not intentional.
And one of the highlights was meeting the men and women who are fellow volunteer citizen journalists: Bloggers. After many months or years in some cases of reading the blogs produced freely for the enjoyment and (hopefully) enlightenment of others, several truths were revealed this past weekend. With cool names like Bearing Drift , Black Velvet Bruce Li , SWAC girl , and far too many others that deserve mention, one common thread stood out. You tend to develop a mental image of the raging genius behind each blog. The images I had were totally wrong. Every blogger was taller, thinner, younger, better looking and far more intelligent than any mental image I could ever concoct.
Ok, that last bit might be slightly over the top, but the pride, skill and professionalism I found myself surrounded by was far more than just impressive.
The RPV really went all out for Bloggers Row and we were all impressed. A huge thank you for their hard work.