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October 17, 2006

Person-to-Person-to-Person - interesting primer

Posted by Sanford Dickert | Discussion: 1 Comments

When Julie Germany sent out an email alerting me to her publication, "Person-to-Person-to-Person: Harnessing the Political Power of Online Social Networks and User-Generated Content", I was happy to speak with her about it - and see if the contributors that be were contributing to the education of the political class. After spending the weekend going through the publication, I must say that there are some pearls of wisdom found with, and then there are some obvious plugs for technology plays that you can accept as advertorial or not. The following provides a bullet-point list of the articles within.

NOTE: I have my own opinions on the material found within the document, and my goal is to suggest some of the pearls found within, as well as the amusing factors. All authors did an amazing job (my understanding was this was a hurclean effort in a very short time), but I have to poke a little fun at some...

The Good

  • Introduction by Julie Germany, IPDI
    Very nicely sets the stage for the intended discussion found within. Builds upon the basic principles and explains them in clear language.
  • Social Media by Colin Delany, e.politics
    Simple introduction to social networks and some case studies.
  • Don't Let Go Yet! by Julie Germany, IPDI
    Again, a nice discourse on user generated media and the pitfalls and opportunities found with this tactic.
  • How Howard Dean Turned Online Social Networks into an Offline Phenomenon by Michael Silberman, EchoDitto
    My favorite article on understanding it is the reaching across the virtual divide to "meat space" (as SecondLifer's call it) to reinforce the experiences and actions in the virtual world.
  • Call In Now! by Chuck DeFeo, TownHall.com
    How TownHall.com uses cross media promotion (read: radio and web) with an effective incentive program to keep their activists involved.
  • Building a Blog Network by Michael Kremppasky, RedState
    RedState founder discusses some of the history and some lessons gleaned from building the network - specifically: lead by example, give community some responsibility, don’t underestimate your constituents and let your message be one of many.
  • Go With the Flow by Valdis Krebs, OrgNet
    Excellent discussion about social networks by one of the leading lights in social network mapping ending with a new mantra for politics: "be a good neighbor".
  • Identity Information in Online Social Networking Sites by Mara Johanna Veraar, DIA
    Uses lessons gleaned from online dating sites to describe the importance of building an online identity that can resonate with online activists on other networks. Excellent collection of references in this article (from Danah Boyd).
  • Take it Offline by Brad Fay, The Keller Fay Group
    A interesting paper from a marketers point of view on "social network marketing" and how effective it can be with a few lessons of "listen", "dialog" and "learn" about what the community does or is doing.
  • Building a Network of Political Allies by Gideon Rosenblatt, ONE/Northwest
    Intriguing discussion of "Movement as a Network" focusing on People, Solution and Resource Organizations and how these three fit into the model, with a focus on environmental defense.
  • Videogames are Political Tools by Nicco Mele and David Cohen
    A light discourse on how videogames can inform and impact people's perceptions on issues along with a list of previously attempted campaign-type games
  • Political Organizing Through Social Networking Sites by Zack Rosen, Civicspace Foundation
    A nice discussion on engagement with a story about Fred Gooltz and his low-cost use of MySpace to build a race.

The not-so-Good
These articles are not necessarily bad, rather I felt that they were more advertorial and did not provide any new knowledge that did not inform beyond the obvious.

  • Reaching the Under 30 Demographic by Riki Parikh, IPDI
    Essentially a section saying, "Use use MySpace and Facebook", leveraging the story of Jack Carter's MySpace experience in discussing how reaching the under-age demo will help campaigns.
  • Building Networks of Informed Online Adults by Carl Rosendorf, Gather.com
    Essentially, target your demographic, uses good tools to get the conversation going, trust in the conversation, and find the influencers - and uses Alex Sink for Florida CFO as a case example.
  • The Social Context by Eric Alderman, KickApps
    A curious commentary on the concept of "context" and how it will influence the outcome of where online users will aggregate and associate.
  • The Emerging Podcast Swing Vote by Chris McDonald, LibSyn
    Essentially an essay on the emerging podcast market with demographics and some basic production suggestions - interesting, but not overly compelling....yet. (Disclaimer: I am involved in a number of podcast efforts, and recommend the product when needed)
  • How an Email Campaign Can Tap into Social Networks by William Greene, PhD, RightMarch
    Very basic discussion on how an important issue can gow a network of supporters (read: social network) to perform actions both online and off. Sort of squeezed this one into the concept of "social networks".
  • Moving Ideas by Alan Rosenblatt PhD, MovingIdeas
    Essentially a discussion of MovingIdeas.org, which is described as "a hub of social networks" based on the premise that social networks already exist within non-profit organizations.
  • Essembly by Joe Green, Essembly
    A short discussion on lessons learned from running the Essembly site.
  • Think Like a Rock Band by Justin Perkins and Heather Holdridge, care2
    Love the title - this article is a "discussion on the features required to effectively use a social network for spreading your message across other's connections". Interestingly enough, the list of features nicely dovetails with care2's platform. Hmmm....
  • Creating an Online Voter Space by Ravi Singh, ElectionMall
    Short piece on basic online engagement strategies.

The "what-the-hey?"
This section is my, "What were they thinking?" when added to the publication. In particular:

  • Take Action, Get Action by John Hlinko, Grassroots Enterprise
    "dot-orgasm"? Heard this one back in 2003-2004 when he launched Act For Love. Where is the discussion of learning from the last two years of work with GA?
  • Is the Hot Factor Worth the Trip? by Phil Sheldon, Diener Consultants
    This one I rag on, not because it is missing the point (actually, it talks about the issues of advertising on these sites and such), but because Phil is getting a kick out off how successful the Right Brothers are generating traffic. I have to shake my head and say, "wha?"

Opinion: interesting read for the Amtrak
Not sure if I would recommend it whole-heartedly three weeks later - it is more advertorial IMHO that informative, but for the beginner looking to become facile in the lingo and ideas with some form of structure, definitely consider the $25 for the publication inexpensive after-hours class work.

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