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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Three Ways the Mitch McConnell Campaign Shows how not to use Social Media

March 6, 2013 1 comment

Team Mitch McConnell Harlem Shake Comments Ratings Disabled

Talking Points Memo noted this morning that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign today released a Harlem Shake meme video featuring college students re-enacting the format of a lone dancer dancing until the beat drops in the song and all hell breaks loose. As I’m fairly certain they’ll pull the video as soon as they notice how badly it’s faring in the public space, here’s a cached version:

Ignoring the fact that the voc-over that starts the song is from a reggaeton artist named Héctor Delgado and declares “Con Los Terroristas” which is Columbian/Spanish for “With the Terrorists,” there are a number of problems with the effort.

  1. Know Your Publics: The video is ostensibly to appeal to a younger audience, and campaign spokesperson told CNN that college students actually contacted the campaign and offered up the idea.  I don’t have the data in front of me, but I’m betting McConnell’s base doesn’t have much to do with Harlem, Youtube or college given that the legislator led the effort to cut Pell Grant funding recently and stands at odds with younger voters on a wide range of issues.  Moreover, Kentucky lags behind the rest of the country in broadband Internet access penetration (coming in at 45th in the US) which doesn’t bode well for HD streaming video content as a delivery method.
  2. Social Media Means Participation: As of right now, both comments and ratings are disabled for the video on YouTube.  Not only that, but comments are disabled for four of the six videos Team McConnell has uploaded in the last year.  When you disable the participatory elements of social platforms – you run the risk of driving people to other spaces where they can participate beyond your ability to join the conversation.
  3. Timing is Everything: The video was published today, but I remember seeing pitches to corporate clients about jumping on the Harlem Shake bandwagon weeks ago, and the phenomenon peaked on February 10 when as many as 4,000 videos were being uploaded to Youtube per day.  The speed at which social media moves means most organizations are completely incapable of responding in time to actually appear in-tune and actually risk appearing clueless and out-of-sync with the times.

On that third point, I leave you with a video the Minnesota Timberwolves shot that encapsulates the sentiment toward the Harlem Shake by an increasingly larger portion of the public (which includes a font-based jab at their rivals the Miami Heat in the close):

A Willing Casualty of the Age of Radical Transparency: Why Anthony Weiner Needs to go

June 7, 2011 1 comment

Anthony Weiner's Weiner

In a bizarre press conference, Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner admitted that he did indeed take a photo of his penis and send it to a young woman (and that this isn’t the first time – likely not the last either).

Anthony Weiner doesn’t need to resign because he went outside the bounds of his marriage to flirt with other women.  Had he disclosed that, he’d likely get to hold on to his job and career (like so many other philandering politicians).

He needs to go because he’s so stupid he actually thought (1) these photos would stay private AND (2) that he could get away with lying about this in a digital age where content has a long shelf life and is instantly shared.

Seriously.  This isn’t even the first time a politician has been taken down by messages pulled from a phone – didn’t soon-to-be-ex-Rep. Weiner learn from Kwame Kilpatrick?

Here are just some of the ways the photos and messages from Weiner could have come out: Read more…

A Proposal for the Filter Bubble and the Future of Objectivity

May 26, 2011 5 comments

The Filter Bubble

So, first off, you need to watch Eli Pariser’s TED Talk about “The Filter Bubble.”  It’s getting a lot of traffic and discussion.

Okay.  Disturbed?  I am.

Human beings have a hard enough time agreeing on the basic facts of any given situation.  We don’t need more impediments in the way of our shared perception of reality.  In spite of the fact that more people have greater access to more information and interaction online today, I think most people would agree the United States is more polarized (particularly political rhetoric) than it has been in some time (and some research  even says we’re less informed). Read more…

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Crassly Exploits AZ Shooting With Facebook Ad

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

[Updated] Check out this utterly crass and opportunistic ad that just appeared on Facebook featuring the mugshot photo of Jared Loughner pitching a message in support of gun control.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Facebook Ad

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Facebook Ad

The ad is linked to the webpage of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and a petition to implement gun control measures.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Petition Page

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Petition Page

Apart from the vulture-like timing, there are at least a couple of things wrong with the ad (not the least of which is the reality that none of the measures proposed by MAIG would have stopped Loughner given that he legally-purchased his firearms from licensed vendors):

  1. It uses Jared Loughner’s image to endorse something without his permission.  As near as I can remember, we’re still living in the United States where we afford the accused due process before they’re convicted.  Talk about “poisoning the well.”
  2. Even the Dalai Llama would likely find it difficult to muster sympathy for Loughner, but the reality is in all liklihood he is severely mentally-ill.  Exploiting the fearsome, contorted visage in his mug shot is nothing short of macabre and cruel (and ultimately contributes to the stigma that mental illness carries with it – making it less likely that others will seek treatment).
  3. As if reality weren’t scary/horrible enough, it also appears the MAIG doctored the photo of Loughner; cutting his head out of his mugshot photo and pasting it into a body wearing a hoodie and standing in front of a criminal line-up backdrop.  I guess a suspected shooter in a white t-shirt isn’t menacing enough; he needs to be stereotyped by clothing as well?
Apparently Doctored Photo of Jared Loughner in MAIG Ad

Apparently Doctored Photo of Jared Loughner in MAIG Ad

In the communications field, it’s important to contextualize your message and relate it to current events.  This, however, is a rather cynical and unethical application of those principles.

Shame on the MAIG for exploiting the tragedy to serve their political ends (after the nation has had a long, deliberate discussion about precisely how misguided that practice was immediately after the tragedy) and shame on Facebook for approving that ad for publication.