Robert Scoble’s political journey with John Edwards recently bought back memories of when I once worked on a Presidential primary campaign in 1992. It’s hard and one of the most tiring things you could ever volunteer to be a part of! Regardless of your political beliefs (I’m generally a politically interested independent issues driven voter), you can’t help but gain respect for anyone willing to put themselves through the grueling election process once you’ve seen it up close. Scoble’s posts made me think how can we truly integrate social media into campaigns(and after the election). John Edwards said in his interview with Scoble that we need “a bottom up democracy.” It’s an amazing challenge requiring change in our government not seen in over a generation. The campaigns for President of John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Vilsack, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Newt Gingrinch, Frank Keating, Chuck Hagel, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Mitt Romney and Tommy Thompson would be wise not to adopt this as a tactic but as a way to redesign government’s interaction with our citizens. Democrat or Republican is not the issue here. Oddly it came at a time where another conversation begged to be mashed up with it, so here it goes:
Robert Scoble stated: “As for how bloggers can play in this process? I think we just are going to come up short in coverage of campaigns when compared to the mainstream press.” I agree with almost all of what Robert did on the trip (based on what I’ve seen so far). That said, I think Robert had his PodTech/video blogging hat on a little too tightly here when making this statement that covered his listening ears!
Seperately, Karl Long in his debunking of “Social Media is Dead” stated: “To me the difference between social media and “the media” or “big media” is control and influence. Social media is primarily controlled by the participants, by the viewers, readers, listeners etc. where as traditional media is primarily controlled by an organization with a narrower agenda like a corporation, or a political party.”
So how do we build a mandate to create government listening via social media to take election control out of the hands of money and the media elite? Likely through a series of incremental steps towards a social media society. Call it “average Joe accountability politics” (Open to better names if you’d like).
In Paul Tsongas’ 1992 campaign book, “A Call to Economic Arms: Forging A New American Mandate”, a pre-Internet era publication, still stands as one of the most comprehensive documents a Presidential candidate has ever published about what they would actually try to achieve after being elected. I urge you to familiarize yourself with this document as it A) is amazingly relevant after 15 years (many of the problems remain) and B) Paul argues in the document that a mandate is necessary for a new President to press through a change agenda.
The end of that 72 page document contained the following which serves as a platform for empowering the masses to have their voice heard. It serves as a blueprint for innovation minus the blogs and social media tools of today:
We will be what our culture empowers us to be.
To strengthen our common culture must be our common mission. Recognition of, and dedication to, that mission is the mandate of our leadership. It doesn’t lend itself to ten point programs and quarterly reviews. It will be a discussion that will never end. It should never end. The journey to renew America’s spiritual base will take us back through our history to harvest the wisdom of that history.
We will revisit our ancestors’ thinking and learn once again to pay homage to the basic values that made America. Those values, long since articulated, will then serve as our safe passage to the future.
In our collective veins flows the blood of those who crossed the Bering Land bridge. Of those who endured deprivation during the winter in Plymouth. Of those who suffered in the holds of slave ships and on the decks of immigrant ships. Vietnamese boat people. Hungarian freedom fighters. Salvadoran refugees. On and on.
Above all, there flows the blood of those who died for America. For our freedom. Not so we could be cynical, or uncaring or second best. But in the belief that we would be worthy of their sacrifice in how we lived our lives and how we honored our country. This is the New American Mandate.
VII. Return to Purpose
Adversity tests the character of individuals. It also tests the character of a people. We are now being challenged by outside forces that seek to erode our standard of living and by others that portend environmental and energy cataclysm. In addition, we are challenged by internal forces that are undermining the fabric of our social order.
What would our ancestors have done? Simple. They would have accepted the challenges and pushed ahead secure in the knowledge that their destiny was within their control. Avoidance was not what they were all about.
So it must be with us.
Facing our challenges forthrightly is how we honor the labors of our forebears. It is our moral imperative.
But, more importantly, it is the source of our hope. We are a blessed America. It is our will and determination that will deliver us. Let us, again, unleash the spirit of the American people and again secure our future and the future of our descendents.
Let us return to purpose.
This is a post on how to use social media to improve accountability in political campaign. As such I’d like to learn which Presidential campaigns are actively monitoring the blogosphere. Please leave a comment if you have an official association with one of these candidates and feel free to discuss this post in your own communities. Thanks!