I read with interest about the new five-pronged efforts of Rove and Gillespie to reach out to GOP grassroots and coincidentally raise another $52 million for the conservative cause. When I visited the American Action Network, the American Action Forum, and the Republican State Leadership Committee web sites I was immediately disappointed on at least two counts.
The most stunning proof that the beltway echo chamber is as healthy as ever and echoing with full authority are the Facebook and Twitter links on their web sites. They want to convey the impression that they have finally ‘gotten the idea’ about social networking by featuring the familiar Facebook and Twitter links prominently on their web pages. But when you click them, you are taken to… (drum roll) … their own Facebook and Twitter feeds! Now I know these web sites are the product of well-connected beltway consulting firms who proved in a proposal worthy of a Harvard grad student’s dissertation, that they knew all about advanced social networking that could put GOP ideas ‘over the top’ online. Lame.
A snort of disgust is what they get from anyone who possesses even a smattering of knowledge about social networking. For those who are curious and don’t know, those prominent F and t logos should go to your own Facebook or Twitter page or mine – when you and I Facebook and Twitter on our own feeds about these GOP pages, our friends and followers learn all about what we enjoyed or learned from the site that deploys these buttons properly – and they frequently follow those links to go read what we read. That’s how sites, pages, or articles go viral and how ideas get shared very widely, very quickly.
They don’t go viral at all when the facebook or twitter button points to the echo chamber. It’s a stupid person speaking alone in an empty room.
My second objection to this stunning new list of web properties that were developed at such vast expense is the same objection many had at the old GOP Tech Summit and was partially remedied at the newer our.GOP.org web site: nobody but the cognoscenti are allowed to speak – this is not quite the case at the American Action Forum where one is allowed to comment, but not contribute new content.
There is a reason why web sites like Redstate.com, Resistnet.com and TeamSarah.org have over 70,000 members each and have such a rich exchange of ideas. Our.GOP.org on the other hand doesn’t even have 10,000 members and should have many, many more than Resisnet and TeamSarah combined.
The GOP is making it plainly obvious once again that they simply are not interested at all in listening.
The solution of course, is to do what many of us are already involved in: become precinct captains and run for our Central Committees – by 2014 or 2016 we will have enough influence in the party – locally and nationally – that we can insist that the GOP install prominent web properties that allow the grassroots in the GOP to have their say and openly exchange important ideas. A shout-out here to ColdWarrior who got us all started in our precinct captain and central committee races!