As Washington D.C. looks to further establish itself as a center for technological innovation, isn’t it fair to ask that our candidates and elected officials maintain a professional online presence? In reviewing the websites and social media accounts of candidates for the vacant at-large seat on the Washington D.C. City Council, is there anything you see (or don’t see) that sways your vote one way or another?
Alan Page: http://alanpagedc.blogspot.com/
A clean and concise WordPress site with simple navigation and plenty of content. Donation links off-site to Act Blue. Twitter feed is featured on the site but no link to Facebook. Bonus points being the only candidate I have seen who is running Google Ads for his own name as well as his competitors!
Facebook: 604 Fans (Most of any candidate)
Twitter: @BryanWeaverDC 1,811 Tweets, 1,017 Followers (Most of any candidate)
Dorothy Douglas: http://www.dorothydouglas.com/
This might be by far, the worst candidate website I have ever seen. Although campaigns for local office are by nature low-budget operations, you can still have something that looks professional and is informative without spending a great deal. As local governments increasingly turn to offering services online, anyone who votes for Ms. Douglas should be very concerned that according to this website: “our company” is located at 123 Main St, Anytown, MA.”
Arkan Hale: http://www.arkanfordccouncil.com/
A good looking, simple WordPress site. Problem is that the blog has not been updated since March 5th. Not even a reminder that today is election day!
Facebook: 157 Fans
Twitter: @ArkanHaileforDC 23 Tweets, 38 Followers
Joshua Lopez: http://joshualopez2011.com/
Would be a decent WordPress site if not for the numerous coding errors and cumbersome 2nd level navigation on the issues, donation and volunteer pages. Last update was posted April 21st. Donation form uses both PayPal and a custom page powered that is ruined by errors in how the form is displaying fields.
Facebook: 150 Fans
Twitter: @JoshuaLopez2011 1,143 Tweets, 476 Followers
Patrick Mara: http://patrickmara.com/
As the sole Republican in the election, Mr. Mara represents his party well with a busy, but functional and professional website. Donations are handled by a customized Piryx page, links to social media channels are abundant and there is plenty of content. Mara is one of only three candidates with an email signup box prominently displayed on the site.
Facebook: 437 Fans. Bonus points for having a custom landing tab!
Twitter: @patmara 1,108 Tweets, 824 Followers.
Sekou Biddle: http://sekoubiddle.com/atlarge/
One of the more advanced WordPress sites of the bunch, includes a custom template from Pagelines. The only site I have noticed that includes an RSS feed. Although there is a form to volunteer, I could not locate a way to subscribe to emails. Donations are sent off-site to Paypal.
Facebook: 292 Fans
Twitter: @sekoubiddle 265 Tweets, 592 Followers
Tom Brown: http://www.whytombrown.com/
Facebook: Like Mr. Orange, the campaign decided to create a group instead of a page, however Mr. Brown does have a respectable 378 members.
Twitter: @tombrownyes 169 Tweets, 55 Followers
Vincent Orange: http://www.orangeatlarge.com/
Powered by Salsa, Mr. Orange has the best campaign site of all the candidates. All the features work well and the site has a clean design that is content rich and easy to navigate. Also to his credit, Mr. Orange has the longest and most detailed “Issues” section of any candidate in the race.
However in the campaign flyer I received today, Mr. Orange’s campaign highlights his Washington Post Endorsement- from the 2010 election. While this is an interesting tactical choice, the obvious intent is to confuse voters into thinking that the Washington Post has endorsed Mr. Orange for this election, when in fact they endorsed Patrick Mara.
Facebook: Using an “old-school” Facebook group, the campaign is posting lots of content but getting very little engagement. 343 total members.
Twitter: Although there is not a link on the website, it appears Mr. Orange does have a Twitter account @VincentOrangeDC which has sent 138 Tweets and has 235 Followers.
Got ideas for improving on the old the ‘series of tubes’ we call the Internet? If your idea meets the following criteria, students from Harvard and Stanford might actually implement it:
- Does the solution meaningfully contribute to building a better Internet?
- Does it enhance openness, accessibility, security, or something else of value to the public?
- Does the solution effectively respond to a particular problem or need?
- What, realistically, will the project change about the Internet? How significant will the change be?
- Does the proposal account for realistic challenges and constraints?
From the press release:
“The Berkman Center and Stanford Law School are pleased to announce a new initiative in which we invite the world to submit their ‘Ideas for a Better Internet.’ We are seeking out brief proposals from anyone with ideas as to how to improve the Internet. Students at Harvard and Stanford will work through early next year to implement the ideas selected. Interested parties should submit their ideas at http://bit.ly/i4bicfp by Friday, April 15. Please spread the word far and wide, and follow us on Twitter at @Ideas4BetterNet”
h/t to Politico’s Morning Tech
In case you somehow missed the flurry of Facebook wall postings, President Obama launched his re-election campaign today with a remarkably scaled down, almost Spartan website and a introductory video that is remarkably similar to another much hyped launch….for Windows7?
To be fair, in the email announcement the President writes “We’re doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas…”
So is OFA / the DNC taking the right approach?
Try watching “It Begins With Us” and the NRSC’s April Fools Day ad- “President Barack Obama’s First Ad of 2012”. Wait 5 minutes, what do you remember? Also note the difference in the titles of the ads- What are people more likely to be searching for? Will this clever attempt by the NRSC siphon off traffic from Barack Obama’s channel? So far the NRSC is ahead in views, the ratio of likes / dislikes and total comments, be interesting to see if their lead holds.
Also worth seeing: CNET’s analysis of the Microsoft Ad… Anything apply here?
If you are or will be in the DC Metro area this weekend (April 2nd- April 3rd) I highly recommend you register for the 2011 Social Learning Summit which has been masterfully organized by Alex Priest of the American University Social Media Club.
Please do check out the excellent schedule of events- whether you work in the business or are just getting started as a student or recent graduate there is something for you. I especially recommend the Saturday morning panel : “Slacktivism or Activism? Liking Our Way to a Better World” which yours truly will have the pleasure and privilege of moderating with a truly all star cast:
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While every year there are bad ads, the truly horribly ones go above and beyond to actually damage the brand they were supposed to promote. Assuming the point was not to distract from Christina Aguilera’s mangling of the National Anthem, Groupon’s ads seem to fall into the latter category (see instant reaction on Slurp140 ).
Groupon’s Tibet Ad
A short sampling of the headlines tells you just about everything you need to know. For those of you interested in following the ongoing PR disaster on Twitter, we set up a new Slurp140 this morning. I thought about limiting the inclusion of tweets about coupons, but at the same time we wonder if those re-tweeting a coupon link are unaware, spam-bots or just don’t care. http://www.slurp140.com/couponads/
“Groupon spends big on controversial (tasteless?) Super Bowl spots” CNN Money
“And the Most Offensive Super Bowl Ad Goes To: Groupon?” Time
”Groupon Tibet ad discounts taste, sensitivity” Chiago Tribute
“Did we just witness a $3 million, celeb-filled Groupon #FAIL?”- Social Media Influence.
At least one excellent post goes above and beyond to recommend some steps for Groupon to possibly recover:
“Groupon: When Being Clever Offends and How to Win One for Tibet” By Liz Strauss
“Clever isn’t clever when it offends. The problem with clever ideas is that they are a social thing. Clever only works where trust already exists. Clever is risky because it gets us looking at ourselves not the people we’re talking to. Clever backfires completely in a venue or a community where people don’t know us yet. “
Liz also goes onto suggest an action plan and possible steps to recover. All of which are very well written and great ideas to consider. I would however respectfully disagree with the idea that Groupon should do anything more than apologize profusely about their ad, which includes attempting to change the subject to raising $ for Tibet. In political advertising, one of the general rules is that you never spend your own money to draw attention to or repeat a negative attack (See Christine O’Donnell’s “I am not a witch ad”). In this respect the quicker Groupon can change the subject, the better. Something along the lines of their unsubscribe page in which the advertising execs eat some serious humble pie would be best.