Monday, February 23, 2009

It's the Message, Not the Medium

Meagan McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain, has a worthwile article on how the GOP doesn't get the Internet. It's not that Republicans don't use things like Twitter or Facebook. Here is what she has to sat about the website for Rebuild the Party, a group trying to change the GOP:

Although Rebuild the Party is an interesting attempt to reestablish the party's image-and communicating the reasons why one should join-using the Internet, the website is about as provocative as a blue suit, white shirt, and red tie. At the time that I write this, the video on the homepage features various individuals, most of them I would guess between the ages of fifty and sixty, explaining why they consider themselves Republicans. Had I still been an independent, there is nothing about this website or video that would sway me as a twenty-four year old woman to join the GOP. (I was an Independent until I registered as a Republican for Father's Day last May.)

Also in the article, she interviews Rob Kubasko, a GOP online strategist about how the GOP can use some the latest web 2.0 software, but really has no idea what to use it for:

"I've always been an anomaly in this business, for a lot of reasons," he says. "I only became a Republican in December after being a lifelong independent. I think the problem is that we just haven't been able to get many Republicans to obliterate the box they've been working in for years. But we have to understand what drives success. In some ways we continue to put the cart before the horse. Technology does not drive success. Message (especially a well crafted one) drives success."

Take Twitter, for example. "So many Republicans now want to get on Twitter because they know it's 'cool,'" Rob continues. "But few are taking the time to really think about what they should use it for. When that happens, you get far too many 'I'm sitting on the tarmac waiting for my plane to take off' tweets. That's when you just further become part of the joke and not the solution."

What that means is that Republicans need to come up with a good message. And from the looks of it, we have not done that. Politico, reports today that the GOP is dusting off plans from the Clinton era. So, the GOP looking to be the party of 1994, not 2009.

An article in today's Los Angeles Times talks about how the California GOP is trying to find a way to reach out, but the fact is, they are still stuck in the same box. The main theme of their state convention was hating Gov. Arnold Schawrzenegger for daring to raise taxes to fix the state's budget shortfall.

As a lover of web 2.0, I do think the GOP needs to use such tools. However, unless the party is willing to come up with and tolerate new ideas, it doesn't really matter how many "tweets" you post.

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