"The War Room" Meets Web 2.0
by Mike Connery, Tue Jul 04, 2006 at 08:33:59 AM EDT
Cross posted at Future Majority - a new blog about tools, tactics, and policies for reaching voters under 30
I love that title, unfortunately, I can't take credit for it. I stole it from an MIT blog post I found via Buzz Machine. He used it to describe the potential impact of services like YouTube on the political process.
If you don't know, The War Room is a video documentary by DA Pennebaker about the pioneering of rapid response campaigning by the 1992 Bill Clinton Campaign. It's a great film, albeit a bit dated now since it makes a big fat zero references to the internet. (Which makes any the idea of War Room 2.0 even more fascinating). If you don't know the phrase Web 2.0, you can see what it looks like here and here and here.
From the mystery MIT blogger:
While on one hand internet video could be employed as an effective communications tool, on the other hand it could be a threat to those who ignore it. Few would argue that John Kerry's "I voted for the amendment before I voted against it" quote did not play an important role in the past presidential election. Traditionally candidates have faced opposition campaigns which, at best, deployed a small number of operatives to monitor their opponents' media appearances. In the near future, candidates will have to learn to perform in an environment where the opposition could have a million eyes and ears. A misstep could easily be recorded on camera or phone, uploaded by Joe User, amplified by bloggers, then repeated by the mainstream media in a matter of hours. Think of it as "The War Room" meets Web 2.0.
People will probably fool around with this during the 2006 midterm cycle, but I'm betting that most candidates/campaigns don't really figure it out until 2007, when the party primaries will begin to heat up. Whichever candidates really figure this out first will gain a huge advantage over their competitors both in the media and among voters under 35 - which will be the largerst voting demographic in '07 and '08.
Of course, the beauty of this model is that campaigns don't have to figure it out. Their supporters, or amatuer remixers, will just start to do it - because its their way of contributing to the campaign, or wreaking havoc on a candidate they dont' like. Or just plain because its fun. So I'm sure we'll see some of it during this campaign cycle (my bet is on the Lamont campaign. I can't believe no one's done a remix on that ridiculous cartoon commercial Lieberman put out.) But I don't expect to see campaigns deal with this type of freelance support in an intelligent manner until after it's been field tested a bit.
Buzz Machine hints at the future:
For the upcoming elections, I think any video sharing service worth its salt should enable sharing and editing of video: We, the people, should take along our cameras and put up entire stump speeches. We should also TiVo and share candidates' spiels on TV and also network reports. Then we should be enabled to easily remix compliations of quotes: what all the candidates really said about immigration, or Daily-Show-like what-he-said-then-vs.-now comparisons.