Image via WikipediaCarolyn Maloney has decided she is not going to debate Reshma. (Debating Is "Stunt" In A Maloney Democracy) I wish Maloney all the false confidence in the world. She is relying on a poll her campaign conducted before Reshma did her months of field work.
The most talked about race in the state of New York is not going to have any debates if Maloney will have her way.
Daily News: Maloney-Saujani Primary Got You Worked Up?
Of all the races in all the state, why does this one have people so passionate?Obama won Iowa. The polls did not show that he will win, and they did not show his eventual margin. Why? Because the pollsters kept calling up "likely voters," their name for people who voted four years ago. But what Obama had done was build an army of new, first time voters on the ground. And so the pollsters were left in the dust. And, mind you, these were not pollsters hired by the Edwards campaign.
And you have Maloney basking in the glory of early, internal polling. I wish her a ton of false self confidence. If this race were such a shoo-in for Maloney, why is it the most talked about race in the state? It is such a talked about race because it is a competitive race.
But asking Maloney to do two debates a month to election day is like asking the mullahs in Iran to hold a reelection: not gonna happen. (Iran: The World Has Wasted A Year)
So what do you do? While at the Reshma 2010 party last night, I thought about this a whole lot, at the party and after the party. (Reshma 2010 Party Tonight)
I think the answer is social media. The answer is new media.
There were about 100 people at the party, in and out. Victory lies at the 1,000 mark. Once the circle of core supporters expands from 100 to 1,000, we win. Because all we need is 30,000 votes to win.
There was so much positive energy in the room last night. You could feel the tremendous momentum.
Already the candidate is doing an average of three events per day, events big and small. That is a tremendous pace.
Why do we want debates? So we can air our views, and we can get media coverage. We get on local TV. Are there other ways of achieving the same goals? I believe there are. Social media does better what traditional media does pretty good.
I was at the party last night, so I saw what happened. What if I was not there but wanted to know what happened? If the campaign were to post 100 pictures from the event at its Facebook page, if the campaign were to post a five minute video clip from the party at its YouTube channel, I might get a feel for what happened at the party last night. The audience for that video might only be 500 strong right now, but that is what social media is all about: media for all audience sizes. Small audiences matter, small audiences are intimate.
I say do events and be your own media, cover all events. There should be at least one photo from each event, posted at the campaign's Facebook page. Short video clips are great. They are free to produce. Long live the Flip camera.
And we have to produce full length videos of Reshma giving speeches on all major issues. We asked for but did not get two debates per month with Maloney. But we could easily do one major speech per week on our own.
I am all about taking attendance with the camera. When you capture a candidate speech on camera, it is important to capture all faces in the room. It is not just about the candidate, but also the crowd.
Upload the full speech, and upload a shorter video of highlights. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, one speech a week keeps Maloney away.
Another strategy would be to keep going on TV and keep challenging Maloney to do the debates.
Social media is not an imitation of old media. Social media is more. Social media is much more than saying, okay, we are going to be our own C-Span.
Social media allows you to turn your organization into a jellyfish. I am using that metaphor to hint at transparency. There are things that are private, but then there are things that are not private. The private strategy session that decided on the new office space was not something that needed to stay private. A three minute video from that session would have been great. You do that for your core 1,000 supporters. You are not on the staff, you were not even in the office that day, but we want you to feel included.
How much of the internal operations can you video blog like that?
I am for uploading five minutes of video every single day. The whole exercise is free.
And then there are the giants: Facebook and Twitter. Most everyone on the East Side who will vote on September 14 is on Facebook. I am guessing that to be the case. The campaign Facebook page has to be taken to new heights.
- Get the candidate a Droid X. After Swype, you no longer need the BlackBerry keyboard to be able to type fast. (Swype: Type On Your Smartphone At Laptop Speed)
- For every event the candidate does, at least one photo with a brief description has to end up on the Facebook page. It should be super easy for our core supporters to follow the campaign, and the Facebook stream is perhaps the best way. The accompanying staffer, also armed with a Droid X, can perhaps take care of the social media part of events.
- Post video clips on Facebook.
It has to feel like there is a lot of activity. And you soon enough get the snowball effect. This is not about faking it, this is about engaging the core of the organization.
And then there is going out there. Take the NYDailyNews.com for example. It is not like they push six Reshma articles per day. It is one every few weeks. But those articles generate a lot of comments. Well, we can make sure at least 30 of those comments come from Reshma supporters. And if we can do that, more supporters will come out of the woodworks. This digital engagement is important because it is free, and it is real. These are real people. Many more people read the comments than leave them. That is an interested crowd.
Maloney's perceived advantages from dodging debates can be neutralized through a thorough use of social media. If she opts for just one debate early in September, we have to turn that into a slam dunk. And we can do that if we make extensive use of social media in the weeks before that.
If a tree fell deep in the forest, and nobody heard it fall, did the tree fall? Social media is about making sure people hear the tree fall. One photo per event, I would think, is the absolute minimum. The goal has to be to capture every face that shows up for every event. This is as much about covering the candidate as the crowd.
The idea is to produce short, compelling video clips for the Facebook stream every other day, so compelling people go ahead and press the Share button. If we are not going to get the free media from debating, we have to fill up the gap by becoming our own media. New media is better media.