Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scott Brown's Social Networking Election

Here's my comment from last night, at William Jacobson's post, "A Night to Give Thanks":
Congratulations, William. I learned more about this race on your blog than anywhere else.
I really did, too.

I wasn't even following Massachusetts' special election all that closely, but then all of a sudden I noticed that William was getting tons of attention for his coverage of Scott Brown's candidacy. Basically, William's blogging was weeks ahead of the national media curve. If you check over there now, William's got a post up called, "
What A Day," which reports the traffic surge at his blog on election day.

I was planning some kind of post to formally recognize William at my blog, but I doubt I could beat the commentary of Sissy Willis at Pajamas Media, "
Social Networking Key to Brown’s Success" (via Memeorandum):
The inside story of how tea party twitterers, Facebook friends, and Blogspot buddies helped win the race for Scott Brown ....

Starting December 9, the day after Scott Brown’s primary victory, bloggers like myself and Cornell Prof. William A. Jacobson of
Legal Insurrection took Bill Kristol’s idea to make Scott Brown’s race a “referendum on Obamacare” and ran with it. We both communicated directly with the campaign through Facebook and Twitter. We burst out of our virtual worlds from time to time to help get out the vote by phone banking at regional offices. At campaign headquarters in Needham one day, Jacobson was actually kicked off the phone because he was spending too much time on Twitter! Blogging and twittering our on-the-ground experiences, from phone banking to informal exit polling, fired up our readers — from Massachusetts and around the country and beyond — to contribute and volunteer.

The campaign itself was totally social-networking savvy. As New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote, Brown “used Internet fundraising to put the fear of God into” the
old boy network. If you were from out of state or unable to come in to one of the regional offices to phone bank, they had the technology to allow you to make calls from home.

Like-minded big-time bloggers like Glenn Reynolds of
Instapundit and Michelle Malkin showered Prof. Jacobson, myself, and others with links. The message had gone viral, and the comments and tweets poured in, a groundswell of tea party fever that would bring in dollars and volunteer time to get out the vote and help sweep our long-shot candidate to an astonishing 52-to-47 percent victory. One in five Democrats supported Brown, “who benefited from high suburban turnout,” according to a Rasmussen Reports poll, enough of an edge so the Beacon Hill machine couldn’t cheat.

“Winning is fun,” fellow blogger-in-arms Dan Riehl of
Riehl World View twittered on victory night, and the “beauty of New Media is getting local perspective.” Indeed, the ability of bloggers like Prof. Jacobson and others to use social-networking tools to share our experiences instantaneously with tea party sympathizers across the country is akin, perhaps, to the way Radio Free Europe was once used to give hope to oppressed peoples behind the Iron Curtain.
No longer dependent upon legacy media to tell our story, we are able — in Prof. Reynolds’s formulation — to
disintermediate the old boy networks via the internet.
Please head on over to William's page to give a word of congratulations and thanks.

Also, at Sissy Willis' page, "Social Networking Key to Brown's Success: Pajamas Media Lead Story."


Sissy Willis said...

Hey, thanks for that! We WERE mad, but now we don't HAVE to take it any more. : )