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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

technolitics « Previous | |Next »
January 4, 2009

There's been a mounted of stuff like this from Mark Pesci written about Obama's use of new technologies for campaigning and now for what looks like a reasonable stab at some kind of participatory excercise with change.gov. It's literally a world away from Kevin07, the 2020 Summit and the fleeting glog, none of which suggest serious, sustained levels of engagement with the great unwashed.

Via Cam, there's an interesting series of coversations going on among American conservatives, Republicans, the GOP, the right, whatever you want to call them, over how best to make use of the net in view of Obama's success.

In Reinventing conservatism, one tweet at a time, Julian Sanchez has a bunch of links and interesting thoughts on an ongoing, networked converstation which appears to have started with RedState's Erick Erickson. Among other things, Erickson says "Duplicating Obama's technology effort is not the solution for the right and those who say it is are the first people not to hire." There are two reasons for this. "The left and right use the web in different ways":

RedState is unique among sites on the right in that most of our readers do not consider themselves bloggers or blog readers. RedState readers are, trusting in surveys of our readership, much more like the average conservative in what Rush Limbaugh calls “fly-over country.” This is one reason RedState diarists do not generally engage in the “meta-conversations” between blogs. Our readers read RedState, two to three news sites, and sports websites. Seventy percent of RedState readers read five or fewer blogs. RedState’s readership is much more in line with the general right of center activist’s level of engagement.

The second is to do with the demographics of the right's support base. Facebook won't do much good for the stereotypical Palin supporter.

These observations send the whole question back to square one, which is where Sanchez comes in with the same obvious points currently plaguing the coalition here. There's no point trying to use the net to mobilise support for your product when even you don't know what your product is.

At RedState the comments thread is looking at solutions to the tech problems, while the comments at arstechnica illustrate why solving the tech problems won't change anything. There are a lot of would-be Republican supporters complaining about the Guns, God and Gays brigade, suggesting that the Republicans' biggest problem is their support base. How do you go about solving a problem like that?

Erickson suggests that conservatives need to come up with something brand new, the next big thing, the conservative killer app.

Just say you do invent some fabulous new techno beast and potential supporters flock to it. You'd have the GGGs and the Wall Street suits gathered in one spot. They'd actually meet each other. Is that really such a good idea? Do you really want to give your working class sporting shooters the opportunity to crack a tinnie and put their boots up on the minimalist furniture of your private health insurers and telco CEOs?

This represents a problem for both left and right. They both assemble their support from disparate groups which would be unlikely to reach consensus on an awful lot if they found themselves in the same room together.

If Erickson's right about the way conservatives use the net, and assuming that liberals get around a bit more, then the left has a natural advantage, which doesn't bode too well for the right.

| Posted by Lyn at 12:26 PM | | Comments (14)
Comments

Comments

The cyber-Limbaughs and other Alan Jones types will be there beavering away. The backdrop or facade of the left's invicibility in logic as a natural advantage is meantime employed as in previous cycles, as cover while the truth is eroded way by all the cyber- noise, black propaganda and smoke and mirrors.
A new Howard is out there, slumbering but growing toward the day when ignorance and fear overturn common sense. Meanwhile, the Blairite leaders are doing the Right's job for it in its absence, until the old guard figure out how to botox themselves, for the time when the disillusioned voters see thru the that phase of the Orwellian farce and cast about for new heroes.

Lyn,
presumably the mapping of this post would refer to the Liberals in Australia taking up Web 2.0, not the Rudd Government?

Paul,
The left does have an advantage as Erickson pointed out. Activism matters in American elections. It's one thing to have celebrity talking heads preaching to the converted, another thing to have ordinary people mobilising their personal networks. Alan Jones isn't about to drive his Facebook friends to the polling booth.

Gary,
It's too early to tell, I think, what use either side would make of web 2.0 in this country.

We've been pretty good at the formation of online issue publics (eg on the clean feed) and even though the major parties' 2007 use of the internet was tokenistic, the ALP was way better at it than the Libs. Then again, there was a generational problem for the Libs then which isn't so drastic now.

We've seen no real evidence from either side that they know how to make effective use of web 2.0 for party purposes. Plenty of toes dipped in the water, but that's about it. The Libs could be learning from experiments like the glog, but they're preoccupied with themselves.

Thinking about the Libs' potential online support, they'd have Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair and Janet Albrechtsen's audiences, who don't often venture beyond those territories. Just say they established something like change.gov. Would Andrew, Tim and Janet's audiences and their opinions appeal to the middle swinging voters who decide elections here?

The big problem for the ALP, I think, is timing. Between the election and now we've seen issue publics form over the clean feed, climate change, the Murray Darling, the Henson thing, probably the Gunns mill today, so they've already eroded what could have been a much healthier appearance of support for anything else they want to do.

Lyn, history teaches never to underestimate the Right's ability to exploit available resources in pursuit of its aims. Their latest trick arguably been to get hold of the shell of a hollowed-out supposedly social democrat political party and put it in government as the real social-democrat deal, f'rinstance.
It is true that Facebook( or Face-ache, as I call it ), is only one of trillions of novelties that mischief-makers may or may not be able exploit as modes of transferance.
Remember, they do not have to rely on logic, as the left does.
Following the example of the OZ, forms of black propaganda and advertising forsake logic as an impediment in favour even of audiovisual tricks (as with subceptional advertising) or weasel- wording inversions of syllogistic propositions that play on ignorance and fear; that present myth as fact- as with the Aboriginal Intervention here, or with less-informed sections of the Jewish population in Israel, at this time. Intervention of last year.

Which reminds me, as to Lyn's excellent closing paragraph as to issues free-forming with the media xmass break and the resulting "clean" media feed.
A day ago, Fairfax had it that Gunns pulp mill was "lay down misere". Now we read that
Garrett may (yet) be throwing a spanner in the works, according to very latest report.
Like Lyn ( I suspect ), I would dearly love to see media control of issues unnaccountably break down and events like Israel's invasion of Gaza given a chance of assuming their true significance instead of the mediated false one.

Back again.
Hadn't expected to be, but was taken by this report in Adelaide Advertiser just out; "UK cops get green light to hack home pc's".
This is to be done "without warrants" and "drives a horse and coach through privacy laws" according to civil liberties people ( the goons, by contrast, regard the new law as "proportional"! ).
We are the dead?

Lyn
re your comment:

Thinking about the Libs' potential online support, they'd have Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair and Janet Albrechtsen's audiences, who don't often venture beyond those territories.

Isn' that the same for the Republicans in the US?

Paul,
From what I can gather most governments treat the internet as an opportunity for citizen surveillance. Just the UK is more overt about it.

Gary,
Yes, that's what Erickson is saying about the RedState audience. They tend not to stray too far from the familiar.

Lyn,
The Coalition can can no longer fool itself into thinking the country is naturally slanted toward them, or that they have a built-in majority in the electorate.

Nan,
That's part of what I'm trying to get at, not terribly successfully though.

Parties need to convince themselves that majorities are behind them, but to what extent is it also true that they have to convince the electorate of the same thing? Or swinging voters anyway.

Commenters in online forums often think they hold the majority view, especially if there's nobody much around to demonstrate otherwise.

Political parties thinking about using the internet would be limited to using strategies that would promote that majority feeling, without bringing the various sections of their support into contact with one another.

Its surprising, but Malcolm Turnbull, is absolutely kicking arse in social media.

I compared KRudd and Turnbull here.
http://from.simontsmall.com/2008/12/18/fail-kevin-rudd-spams-his-readers/

I've heard from insiders, i.e. people that sit in the car with him, that he Tweets, updates his Facebook all from his mobile.

Unfortunatly, it doesn't trickle down to the other minsters or states, he's a lone agent.

Simon,
well he's way ahead of me. I don't have Twitter. Should I? The art photography crowd in Melbourne are pushing me into this (and skype) and iphone/Mobile me.

What do you gain from using Twitter?

Apparently Obama has so far resisted giving up his Blackberry despite security people's insistence that it go. Kevin is Howardesque by comparison.

Hey Gary,

Twitter has quite a few applications however I use it for:
1. Research, I hear about stuff from thought leaders
2. Promotes my blog posts
3. I share articles I like on it
4. Great way to meet people who care about what you care about (http://search.twitter.com)
5. That's about it for me

And I'm still learning.

And you need iPhone.