Fanfare greeted the arrival in Dublin last night of Obama’s online mogul, Joe Rospars. He trades under BlueStateDigital and they’re a pretty serious outfit.. (If you don’t immediately get the blue state thing just go listen to Obama’s convention 04 speech)..
Obama is credited with an unprecedented online campaign
Joe was in town to announce a new partnership with Fianna Fail on the parties new website. Whilst in town there was a gig organised to allow him share his wisdom.
I received an invite via the normal channels (FF press office) and it was fairly standard, FF hosting an audience with an online guru, etc etc so far so excellent, and I was really hoping to get along. I was a bit miffed at the short notice and as it turned out logistics would not permit my attendance but it was a great step in the right direction. As someone interested in Obama, FF, politics and technology it pretty much ticked all the boxes for me.
So far, so good. Unfortunately things started to go wrong. The firm charged with pulling the thing together was in hybrid mode, as an FF Cllr who runs his own media firm. Nothing wrong with that, and contrary to popular perception perhaps, Cllrs. do actually need a day job, being slightly (well actually majorly!) less well paid than our town cousins in the big house.
However the problem was whilst one audience were invited to an FF event (albeit a small ‘ff’ – a public talk hosted while he was in town with the party) another section seemingly had no idea there was a political tie-in. A separate invite had been fired into the blogosphere via the tech/media wing of the organising outfit which alas skipped over the basic premise. Result was a crowd of bloggers turned up to hear Rospars but seemed to pop a fuse when the FF logo hovered into view. I can’t speak for the quality of the event not physically being present but reports vary on whether Rospars spoke for 40 or 5 minutes. I certainly would have been annoyed had I cancelled other arrangements and travelled specially to Dublin (as I almost did) only to hear a 5 minute talk but a 40 minute one may have been worth it. Who knows but I will check out the video which I believe is coming onstream shortly.
Long story short an online backlash ensued here here here and here for starters. Some wailing, some gnashing, some grumbling and some grievences. Some gems and some gyrations. I can understand why the guys are complaining btu I can’t help wondering would there have been the same reaction had it been a Campbells soup ad he was in town to launch (for example). But absolutely, the thing should have been made clear what it was all about from the start. I have a slightly different grievance to the rest of the gang possibly, in that I can’t understand why it wasn’t shouted from the rooftops that Rospars was in town and here with FF. Well it was in the invite I got but not in the one that went out through Stawberry media. Lets all sing off the same hymn sheet in future is the message fairly loud and clear and there’s been lots of public mea culpa from the principal protagonist / central cuplrit.
I’m looking forward to getting the vid-cast of the talk itself, and hopefully distilling some nuggets, also looking forward to taking the new site for a test drive. I have a personal reservation as to how well online tactics can be applied on a local level (e.g. for a local election campaign) as opposed to a massive (300 million) catchment for a US presidential one. I’ve been trying out some tools, obviously the blog itself but also twitter and facebook and so forth and have some mixed views. Twitter is an interesting social tool. The blog is an excellent way to disseminate information. Facebook I’ve a few complaints about. But I may return to that theme another day.
Anyway make your own mind up – here’s the new site: www.fiannafail.ie