Jerome Armstrong learned a valuable lesson in 2004. He watched the Democrats spend time socializing online while the GOP was organizing online. Now he wants to take the social network the Democrats created, and apply Bush-Cheney style mobilization. He’s got the right idea. Now it’s down to execution.
What I‚Äôm really looking for is for the campaign to use the Internet as a field mechanism. That‚Äôs where I really think it has power … making it a tool for neighbor-to-neighbor interaction and persuasion. Taking what the Bush campaign did and making it more personal.
The one advantage we had in 2004 was the Democrats assumed online activity would translate into offline votes. We never made that mistake. Everything we did online was tied to what we were doing offline. Every online event had metrics tied to offline metrics – how many calls, how many knocks, how many votes.
While the tools we used were created to empower the voters, we never interacted with the online community, and never made it part of the family the way we did with other constituencies. We never had the two-way dialog, while the Democrats made faulty assumptions based on the level of activity they saw online.
If the Democrats are applying our organizational tactics to their social network, we should be very nervous.