Archive for March, 2009

Twitter is NOT a Strategy

by Team Politics
Friday, March 27th, 2009

An excellent post over at techPresident, about using Twitter as a communication tool:

The Twitter fixation currently sweeping segments the news media and the political world (particularly on the Republican side) reminds me of those innocent days of the early web. Not to put Twitter down, because it definitely has valuable uses, but it’s just a tool — and if you don’t know WHY you’re using it, you’re probably not going to get much out of it.

“If you’re following more than 500 people, you’re not really following anyone.”

by Team Politics
Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Congrats to Simon Owens, who was named DC’s second-best Twitterer! He also writes a very good blog!

HuffPo proves what we already know…

by Team Politics
Thursday, March 19th, 2009

…that it’s not really a political site. Nearly all of it’s above-the-fold content is entertainment:

Of course, even if you collapse the entertainment crawl, HuffPo’s subtle headlines dominate the premium space:

Reminds us of another classy publication:

Stay classy, Arianna.


by Team Politics
Thursday, March 19th, 2009

It’s time to lay off the RNC and their tech missteps, and lean on the Democrats for overplaying their hand on the Rush Limbaugh “failure” saga.

The “I’m Sorry, Rush” form letter was very funny, but the Rush Limbaugh billboard contest is pushing it, and the finalists were not super funny:

  • Hope and change cannot be Rush’d
  • Failure is not an option for America’s future
  • We can fix America, just don’t Rush it

Who’s writing this stuff, Bruce Villanch? We have some better suggestions:

That last one is a high-functioning Salman Rushdie joke. You see, that’s what Salman Rushdie’s ex-wife, Padma Lakshmi, says when she boots people off of Top Chef…eh, whatever.

The point is that humor is great, and needs to be re-injected into politics. But these slogans are the blandest, least ambitious selections the Dems could have dredged up. And the winner is not only boring, but clunky! It’s seven words, in past tense. Play to win, Democrats!

RNC takes another schizo swing at building a web-home-site-book

by Team Politics
Thursday, March 12th, 2009

After whiffing badly on their first RFP to rebuild the GOP’s web-presence, the RNC has released a second, more-detailed document, this time with a budget ($450k total). It’s rather more fleshed-out than the first one, but still has some screwball directives:

We are looking for a design that is both appealing to new visitors and clean; with the use of white-space and comfortable spacing between sections of the site.  More specifically, while we appreciate the features and rich design of sites like and, we are inclined to favor designs like and  A couple other good sites that are less social oriented but data rich are and

So what they want is a site that is socially-oriented and “clean” like Facebook, but data-rich like We all know what Facebook looks like, this is what looks like:

Gotta love that clean design. The differences between the sites mentioned lead me to believe that the GOP’s tech team has a good idea about what they want from the site, and almost no idea how to express it. Also, is $450k a low-ball budget number for a complete overhaul that is obviously going to drag on for years?

Thanks, techPresident!

Study: Social network ads “not relevant” to 81% of Millennials

by Team Politics
Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

In theory, I’m a Millennial (University of South Carolina class of 2006, baby!), but I can’t speak to the relevance of this:

…an overwhelming majority (84%) of Millennial internet users notice ads on social networks, only 19% find them relevant, and 36% claim they never to click on them, according to research from the Participatory Marketing Network and Pace University’s Lubin School of Business’ Interactive and Direct Marketing Lab.

I know that I notice social network ads, but maybe it’s just a product of my professional life. I know my peers aren’t clicking away at ads, necessarily, but who is? And hey, who clicks on bus shelter ads anyway?

Thanks, Micro Persuasion!

Dinga Dinga What?

by Team Politics
Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Via Wired and Wonkette, a video produced by Israeli arms company Rafael (the homepage seems to be broken, check out the Wikipedia page for more info) to show at Aero India 2009, an trade show for the Indian military. And holy heck:

Quoth Blogads’ Bevin Tighe: “It’s three-and-a-half minutes but it feels like three hours.”

Go political communication! I’ve seen some tone-deaf promotions in my day, but this takes cake (or samosa or knish?)

For more on Rafael’s comm “strategy,” such as it is, check out The DEW Line.

RNC RFP for new website gives tech folks the lulz

by Team Politics
Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

A few days ago, the RNC circulated a request for a proposal to rebuild their website to incorporate all the latest, greatest and trendiest components of online social media and web 2.0-ness.

“The GOP’s web aspirations are as ludicrously ambitious as they are maddeningly vague.

Chairman Steele made his tech priorities clear… ‘bottom line is if we haven’t done it — let’s do it. If we haven’t thought of it — think of it. If it hasn’t been tried — why not? If it’s going to be ‘outside the box’ — then not only keep it outside the box, but take it to someplace the box hasn’t even reached yet.’

“Some highlights from the document’s hopelessly vague and self-contradictory requirements:

‘Integrate outside products through common API’s, widgets, or iframes (examples: Kimbia fundraising, Voter Vault, Widgetbox, Ning).

Flash interfaces can often make mundane tasks exciting, and having Flash developers who understand user behavior will make the site more user-friendly.

No limitations on design; the RNC will be in on the entire process and will ensure everything is to our exact specifications.’

Oh, and did the RNC mention they want the website within 45 days, on a fixed budget? Dale Franks at The Next Right calls the GOP operatives who put the proposal out “clueless losers.” That’s being kind. The last thing any designer wants is a client who’s “in on the entire process,” throwing out buzzwords they read in some two-year-old article about the Web clipped from a newspaper.”

Why didn’t they talk with & really LISTEN to the net-savviest folks around the Republican party (Patrick Ruffini, Mindy Finn, Michael Turk, Mike Krempasky, Jon Henke, Soren Dayton or Chuck Defeo?) before sending out something this vague and unattractive to the vendors who would be able to provide them with excellent, affordable services?

From Valleywag

Brave new world of political video

by Team Politics
Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Hilarious vid from John Amato over at DailyKosTV.

In case you don’t follow celebrity gossip, the video is a parody of this passionate plea to leave Britney Spears alone:

Maybe now I buy it

by Team Politics
Monday, March 9th, 2009

The greybeards have been opining for some now (minutes? months?) Twitter has “jumped the shark”. The shrillest death-knell was sounded by Mark McKinnon over at the disturbingly anti-tech The Daily Beast.

I get it, Twitter is a service that’s suffering from overexposure. So it’s simultaneously cool (because everyone uses it) and not cool (because everyone uses it). But I hardly think it’s irrelevant–it’s one of the great tools for connecting people who don’t know each other. Also, who doesn’t want to hear what I’m having for breakfast?

I will say that Twitter loses cool points for being noticed by that lamest of media players, the political cartoonist.


Obama throws down the gauntlet!

by Team Politics
Monday, March 9th, 2009

Just kidding.

He did, in a recent NYT interview, say that he “rarely” reads blogs. I honestly don’t blame him, he probably has to read a lot of stuff, being President and all. Still, I’ll be interested to hear how the left-bloggers react to this. So far none of the big dogs have weighed in.

Thanks, techPresident!

Why No, Andrew, I Don’t Believe You

by Team Politics
Monday, March 9th, 2009

Andrew Sullivan writes today about some Wikipedia shenanigans. Whether Wikipedia calls him a socialist or not, the real treat of the post lies here:

Believe it or not (and most won’t), I haven’t checked my Wikipedia page in a few years. I’ve learned that it’s better for my sanity not to read everything written online about me.

I find it hard to believe that the famously prolific Sullivan (32 posts on Sunday March 8 alone) can avoid reading about himself online.

US House doesn’t count bloggers as journalists for source confidentiality

by Team Politics
Saturday, March 7th, 2009

“Two versions of a bill in Congress would enshrine a journalist’s right to keep his or her sources confidential, effectively banning the government from forcing journalists to reveal whistleblowers. One version though—the House version—gives an incredibly stupid definition of journalist that excludes not only bloggers, but freelancers, independents, and nonprofit journalists as well.

For the most part, the Senate and House agree on what a journalist’s duties are and what journalism entails:

Journalists Duties
But only the House version, which has more cosponsors than brains apparently, adds to that definition:

More On Journalists Duties

So, in effect, if journalism is a hobby or passion you do as a public service, or if you are a freelancer without a boss—both of which easily describe a blogger—then the government reserves the right to force you to tell them who told you something [...]”

By Jason Lee Miller WebProNews via

fail WHale

by Team Politics
Saturday, March 7th, 2009

The headline says it all: “Uh Oh, White House Seeks Economic Advice From Twitter.”


by Team Politics
Saturday, March 7th, 2009

On Facebook today:

Internet Marketing

See that? Just by looking at this ad I have been marketed to! Now I am keenly aware of a couple who had Olan Mills shots made and who are somehow involved in “Internet Marketing.”

I did end up clicking on the ad, mostly out of curiosity.

PJTV’s subscription model

by Team Politics
Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Pajamas Media shuttered the blog-advertising arm of its biz back in January, with an eye toward building its PJTV brand.

Since they can’t sell advertising, Pajamas Media has made PJTV subscription-based. Now, I’m not against publishers making money by selling subscriptions to premium content — my favorite webcomic does just that. It’s just that for sixty-odd years, television networks have been making (lots of!) money through advertising. And PJTV, is, ostensibly, television.

Weirdly PJTV subscribers don’t even get exclusive access to the most recent content? A cursory look at the page of PJTV’s most famous correspondent shows that his five most recent pieces are free to watch. We don’t get a “subscriber only” video until the sixth piece down.

Enter the Wikipedian

by Team Politics
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Noted D.C. media-type Bill Beutler has just launched a new blog (”the fifth blog … since 2002″), The Wikipedian.

Beutler already writes BlogPI, a general media blog, and used to write for National Journal’s Hotline and in particular, The Blogometer.

Beutler plays with Wikipedia for a living:

In my capacity as Innovation Manager at New Media Strategies I’ve spent the past year (and then some) developing consultative services for clients regarding Wikipedia engagement, leading the white hat approach to Wikipedia optimization.

So prepare to have your Wiki-brains rocked by a pro. Also, he’s a former English major, like yours truly, so give him some love. It’s hard out here for us lit crit twits.

Source:Welcome to the Wikipedian