28 February 2008
27 February 2008
Today I'm sharing the Q&A from Dr. Jennifer Selvig, a first-year equine veterinarian and the voice of AAEP's blog. In addition to her obvious skill in equine veterinary medicine, she's a strong writer and an excellent strategic fit for the blog.
Why did you agree to participate in the blog?
I was originally asked by one of my vet school mentors, Dr. Julie Wilson, who serves on the AAEP student relations committee. She is a great advocate for students, and thought I would be well-qualified for this. I'd like to think she is right - I have always enjoyed writing. During undergrad and vet school I worked at The Minnesota Daily, the largest completely student-run daily college newspaper in the country. I held lots of different positions, including editorals & opinions editor and copy desk chief. So I suppose it was an opportunity to use a skill I have to reach out to future veterinarians.
Did you know much about blogs or social media before you started this project? What have you learned?
Only in the sense that I knew basically how they work and that they existed. I never thought I'd be a "blogger" - I'm not a good creative writer; I'm a much better technical writer. I don't really follow any other blogs consistently. I have learned it can be hard to keep up with demand - when I get "writer's block," people start to wonder what happened to me! It's actually a pretty big responsibility.
Do you think you’ll continue working with blogs and social media to share your stories and experiences with young people?
I hope so! If I have the opportunity and the support of a great community like the AAEP, it's relatively easy. I'm not sure about the long-term plans for this thing - it's kind of taken on a life of its own, but it seems to be popular, so I'm happy to keep going with it as long as it's entertaining and useful to people.
The AAEP blog is making you a bit of a celebrity and an ambassador for the profession. How does it feel to be AAEP’s answer to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta?
This part is kind of surreal. I have been to a couple of continuing education events since I started this and it's weird to be recognized by people I don't know, even if only by name. America's Horse, the AQHA magazine, published my first blog entry as a feature, complete with a gigantic picture of me with two of my horses, and it was very odd to have clients and friends come up to me and say, "Hey! You're famous! I saw you in this magazine that goes out to thousands of people across the country!" When I finally got a copy of the magazine, it was pretty weird to see that spread. At least all the feedback I've gotten has been positive!
As far as being an ambassador for the profession - I guess mostly it's daunting to be held up that way when I'm really just a first-year veterinarian. I graduated from vet school less than a year ago - by a lot of people's standards, I don't know anything yet! I just try to do right by the profession and the horses, practice good medicine and keep learning. I hope the more seasoned members of our organization see that.
Part of the way this blog has taken off is with non-veterinary students and non-veterinarians. The original intent of the blog was to give veterinary students considering a career in equine practice a little window into what their first year out might be like. But now it seems my audience is so much broader - so I have to try to balance writing for my original intended audience and remembering that, apparently, a lot of other lay-people will be reading it too. I don't know about being on CNN, though!!
What do you have to say to young people considering a career in veterinary medicine?
My ultimate goal is to balance my career with my life. I have a fiance - I'm getting married in June - and three horses to ride. I want to show the profession it's possible to have a good work ethic and put your time in without burning out, and still practice good medicine. I worked really hard to get where I am - every would-be veterinarian has to work hard. But it IS worth it. Even though you're scared to death the first time you have to make an honest-to-goodness critical decision for the life of a patient, it's still worth it.
My biggest piece of advice for students thinking about vet school: Make sure this is what you want to do - if your reasoning is that you want to be a vet because you like animals and not people, you're heading in the wrong direction. Veterinary medicine is a very human-oriented profession. And then get experience. Work at a clinic cleaning and walking dogs or doing barn chores - it's how I started. You never know when they'll need an extra set of hands to help with an interesting procedure. And it's never too early to start networking and building a reputation as a hard worker.
For the equine vet students, my advice is: Go after the job you want. If that's a prestigious internship, go for it. I was fortunate to have made the connections I did early that allowed me to get a job I love. I have a classmate who turned down a prestigious internship for a job on the other side of the country because he didn't feel right about it - and he's having a blast in the job he ended up with. There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to go after graduation - look for something that makes you happy and fits in your life where you're at, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. You won't practice good medicine and you won't learn anything if you're not enjoying your job.
26 February 2008
But here's the thing: I actually like AAEP's blog, Out of the Starting Gate, a little better than the others because it personalizes the profession. And I think the leadership at AAEP, particularly director of marketing & PR Sally Baker, have been really smart about this. They identified a strategic communications need FIRST - attracting young people to the field of equine veterinary medicine - and saw a blog as a tool to help them meet that need. Then they found a smart young voice for the blog that again filled their strategic need. They're starting simple and then they plan to build more multimedia into the blog as they grow more comfortable with the medium.
I first met Sally Baker when she invited me to speak at the local PRSA chapter. She told me about their blog and asked me to take a look at it. It doesn't offer much in terms of bells & whistles and it doesn't update often, but the content is very strong. That's the most important thing.
Sally was gracious enough to answer a few questions as I put together the column. Here's the complete Q&A.
Sally was also kind enough to ask Dr. Jennifer Selvig, the voice of Out of the Starting Gate, to answer a few questions from me as well. I'll post those tomorrow.
I. First, please tell me about AAEP – who you are, what you do, your mission.
The AAEP is the world’s largest professional association for equine veterinarians. Our most important mission is protecting the health and
welfareof the horse, and we accomplish this through helping our members stay current on the latest advances in equine medicine and educating horse owners about the important role they play in keeping their horse healthy and happy.
The AAEP also works within the equine industry to promote policies that are in the best interest of the horse, and we have served as a catalyst on diverse issues ranging from medication in the racehorse to the plight of the unwanted horse.
II. Many Lexingtonians know a bit about who you are, and that you’re in town, but little else. What do you want your neighbors to know about you?
First, when I tell someone that we have a membership of over 9,000 veterinarians and veterinary students, they are surprised to learn that there are so many veterinarians who do equine work. Many people also assume that most of our members are based in
Kentucky, especially since is the Horse Capital of the World. And while the AAEP does have nearly 350 members in Lexington Kentucky, our membership is international, with representation in 64 countries and in such distant places as Iceland, United Arab Emiratesand . (Horses are everywhere!) Malaysia
III. What was the strategic thinking behind starting a blog? When did social media begin to look like a good communications option for AAEP?
A significant percentage of our membership is under 30 years of age - 28 percent of our DVM members have been in practice five years or less and we have over 2,000 veterinary students as members. We know from the general cultural shift in communication as well as our own surveys that these groups are heavy users of our Web site and e-communication.
A strategic issue for the profession right now is how to attract more students to a career as an equine veterinarian. We then took what we knew about our members’ communication habits and applied it to how we could encourage more veterinary students to practice equine medicine. Reaching this group through a blog seemed like a natural fit.
IV. What do you hope to accomplish with the blog?
We ultimately want those considering a career as an equine veterinarian to view the profession in a positive way. I think Dr. Selvig’s accounts keep readers hooked to her experiences and are a great vehicle for attracting potential horse doctors. The first year of practice for a new veterinarian requires a lot of hard work and includes many wonderful experiences and a few bumps along the way (think Grey’s Anatomy but with horses), and we thought this would be a fascinating time of life to capture through a first-person experience. We wanted potential equine vets to hear from someone who is living the life.
V. America’s Horse, the official magazine of the American Quarter Horse Association, featured a post from your blog. What kind of feedback have you gotten from people who cover the equine industry? How about people in the industry?
The interest in the blog beyond the veterinary community was not anticipated but is a very welcome surprise. Many horse owners are extremely devoted to their animals and want to get as much information as possible. Because Dr. Selvig’s entries really give an insider’s perspective on horse health, we’re hearing from horse owners that they appreciate her candid accounts and her compassion for the horses she helps. Dr. Selvig is very compassionate, and that trait is resonating with horse owners.
VI. How did you choose Dr. Selvig as the “voice” of the blog? How do you think she’s done with it?
Once the purpose of the blog was defined, I turned to our student chapter advisors at the many colleges of veterinary medicine for their recommendations on new grads who were dynamic, enthusiastic and, based on their personal knowledge of the new grad, knew the new grad would click with this type of project. Dr. Selvig was suggested by our chapter advisor at the
, and it was apparent from my first communication with Dr. Selvig that she was the perfect fit for the blog. Dr. Selvig is a rising star in the profession. She was the AAEP student chapter president at Universityof Minnesota , she attended every AAEP annual convention when she was in school and was in constant pursuit of ways to become an outstanding veterinarian. It really was just a bonus that she has such strong writing skills. Her ability to weave a story is key to the blog’s success. Minnesota
VII. The bog seems like a great tool to introduce “lay people” to the industry. Is this a consideration?
As I mentioned earlier, the bog’s appeal to the lay public was not expected. But we’re finding that in addition to the horse owners who read it, the bog is prompting high school students to contact Dr. Selvig and ask for advice on how to become an equine veterinarian. She is definitely inspiring the type of action that we hoped would occur with potential vets, but we initially thought this would take place primarily with current vet students.
VIII. What’s next? Will we be seeing other features for the blog, such as pictures or video, or maybe bookmarking? Will there be other contributors?
Now that the AAEP has dipped its toe in the water of social media, I am realizing how much more we can do with Dr. Selvig’s blog. We now have the ability for her to add photos to her entries, and one of our goals is to post a few short video clips of Dr. Selvig “in action” as she cares for her clients. She has really become an ambassador for the profession, and we can promote that aspect by bringing her physical presence to the blog as well.Since we are now comfortable hosting a blog, I believe it is something that we will continue if it makes sense to do so. Our initial goal was to support our need to attract more veterinarians to the profession, and if another blog makes sense strategically, we’ll definitely pursue it. Hopefully we can keep Dr. Selvig hooked and she’ll continue to share her experiences as her career evolves.
25 February 2008
Research has shown that young women exposed to pro-ana websites felt more negative, had lower self-esteem, perceived themselves as heavier and were more likely to compare their bodies with other women...
Dr Ty Glover, consultant psychiatrist on the Eating Disorders Unit at Cheadle Royal Hospital, said it had proven difficult to shut down pro-ana websites, but the situation was slightly different for sites such as Facebook.
"Social networking sites can censor their material and we expect them to act responsibly," he said.
"We are horrified at the content of these sites and the tips they give on how to be thin.
"People with eating disorders are extremely vulnerable and often have very low self esteem, so pro-ana and pro-mia sites can be very damaging as they are sending out the wrong advice."
So let's be completely clear about this: Facebook and MySpace are currently hosting groups that tell sick girls, on the brink of starvation, to ignore health care professionals and continue to fast, and even provide advice on what illegal drugs to use to get thinner. And they apparently think that's OK, because it's been brought to their attention several times and they've done virtually nothing about it.
If any of the folks running Facebook or MySpace are the parents of young girls, I really don't know how they sleep at night knowing this.
BBC asked MySpace and Facebook to respond to the article. (That's what good journalists do.)
MySpace said they're resisting censorship but at least they're doing something:
"It's often very tricky to distinguish between support groups for users who are suffering from eating disorders and groups that might be termed as "pro" anorexia or bulimia.
"Rather than censor these groups, we are working to create partnerships with organisations like B-eat.
"We have also placed ads on pro-anorexia profiles for up to a year from the National Eating Disorder Association to target these groups with positive messaging about how and where they can get help."
Facebook, however, gave the same stock answer to BBC that they gave me last summer when I asked them the same question for my October 5 Business Lexington column:
"Many Facebook groups relate to controversial topics; this alone is not a reason to disable a group.
As for censoring "controversial" content, we all remember that Facebook had no problem banning a member for posting a picture of herself breastfeeding two children.
Heck, Facebook even banned a picture of a Swedish cartoon character because - Bless my stars! - he had nipples.
You read that right- Facebook banned a Swedish kids' male cartoon character with nipples, but still refuses to ban groups that tell anorexic girls how to lose even more weight by starving themselves and taking illegal narcotics.
It's sad - thanks to all the ranting I've done about this issue, I actually get about as much search engine traffic from people going to google looking for "pro-ana" or "anorexia pictures" as I do from people looking for tips on blogger relations and social media. But I'm fine with that if people read what I'm writing and are motivated to do something.
I don't envy Facebook's job here. Nobody will ever be a perfect free-speech traffic cop. But this is such an obvious error in judgment.
I think it's about time we asked our politicians and candidates what they think about this.
19 February 2008
If you're looking for something good to read check out this from the Boston Globe on one of my favorite ballplayers.
I was particularly impressed that the faculty incorporated simulated blogs into their exercise. Professor Robert Farley (a fella with some pretty solid blogging credentials) created "Man About Havana" to simulate the first-person citizen journalism one may see in this kind of situation.
I wouldn't be surprised if some of Professor Farley's older colleagues dismissed the idea of adding a blog to a global crisis exercise. But interestingly enough, we're seeing the blogosphere play an important role in marking the history of another global "crisis" - Kosovar independence, from both sides of the issue.
And wouldn't you know it, thanks to Global Voices Online's Cuba page, you can already find some blogs providing perspective and commentary on the latest in Cuba.
The Times is on to something, but it's not that moms are suddenly going green. The angle here is the "unlikely" advocate. This is the type of thing I search for every day at work.
For me, Jennifer Lance at Eco Child's Play (an affiliate of enviro-juggernaut and Best Blog EVAH Green Options) and Izzy Irish at Moms Speak Up have been driving the discussion on environmental issues for some time now. It's not that they're on the cutting edge of clean technology like EcoGeek or leading the environmental policy discussions like Maria Energia or Ecopolitology. It's that Jennifer and Izzy help make eco-issues more "mainstream."
The truly important lesson here is that from an online perspective, "mom" serves as a bridge between communities and cultures. Moms care about everything. They talk about everything. They buy nearly everything. They vote on everything. And they're not shy about sharing opinions. However, moms also use their blogs to discuss their unique interests beyond their kids and what's on Oprah. They network with the best of them, and many have relationships far beyond the mom-o-sphere.
This is the thing most online marketers miss - they try to fit online moms into a ready-made demographic designed to assess acceptance of a cleaning product. Try to pitch an online mom to write about an exciting new furniture polish, and you get what you deserve. Engage a mom on the issues she writes about, and you've opened a door to multiple communities.
Saturday I noticed that Liza Sabater from techPresident is linking to Jenn Satterwhite at Mommy Needs Coffee - a gamer and mom in Dallas with a large audience who happens to really like Michelle Obama. Satterwhite isn't really overtly political, but she's very influential and opens a door for smart and strategic political operatives to reach new communities, forge new relationships and alliances, and build coalitions.
18 February 2008
It's a start.
17 February 2008
The American media's coverage has been depressingly lacking. They're only getting to the story in a meaningful way now. It's as if everyone here has forgotten the US-led NATO coalition that brought about Slobodan Milosovic's ouster. European media has covered this as a major story for weeks. I checked out BBC's coverage, and thought it was quite good, but frankly I think no one has provided the perspective that Global Voices Online has. (I follow GVO on Twitter.)
They introduced me to Viktor Markovic of Belgrade 2.0 with some amazing home video, pics on flickr, and commentary. For a time he was tweeting @belgrade. He writes:
There’s too much history per capita in Serbia.
Only during my lifetime, two dictators died (one of them had live coverage on the blog), one prime minister was assasinated, country lost four wars, changed it’s name three times, was bombed once, had about a million protests, demonstrations and revolutions, and today, a part of the country will become – another country.
Still, never a dull moment, right?
So, what exactly is going to happen today around 15:00 and how are events going to unfold the following days? Our prime minister says that European Union, together with the US will “kidnap” a part of Serbia. But the reality is, Kosovo is not going anywhere, Albanians are not really going to take the part of the land and carry it over to a whole different place, as the word “kidnap” suggests. The border will stay where it was, with probably the same crossing fluency. Monasteries will stay where they are, hopefully. The name will change, instead of “Kosovo province” it will become something completely different – are you ready? wait for it… (drumroll) – “Kosovo”.
But the biggest question remains as it has been for the last eight years – non-Albanians’ safety and the right to live and move freely in Kosovo. In the future, this issue will be the responsibility of Albanians only, since our prime minister and our politicians have done very little to show that they care about the people as much as they care about the territory, monasteries and the name.
This is just the latest example of how citizen journalists (egad, I hate that term, but there it is) use social media to share perspectives, expand and enhance their global reach and become part of our living history. It's the kind of thing I like to point to when otherwise respectable members of the political and cultural elite in our country dismiss bloggers as unfit to engage in "proper" global discourse.
You just can't get this anywhere else, and we're all better for it.
15 February 2008
The single most newsworthy item this campaign year continues to be the impressive turnout, particularly for Democrats. In Virginia - a state that chose President Bush over Senator Kerry in 2004 - Senator Obama received more votes on his own than all six Republican candidates on the ballot.
A huge chunk of turnout this year is drawn from younger and first-time voters, and the bulk of those votes are going to Senator Obama - and his campaign is really the last campaign standing that uses social media as a powerful organizing tool.
Everyone uses the online channel to raise money - some better than others. The Obama campaign is aggressively using MySpace - and importantly, other online powerhouse organizations like MoveOn.org - to not only raise money, but turn out voters.
You don't have to agree with his politics to be impressed with his results.
Senator McCain's "presumptive nominee" status may make GOP races a little less exciting and turnout on that side may be depressed a bit, so it may not be fair to compare turnout on each side going forward. I suspect, however, that the strategic application of certain social media tools is having an impact. We'd know more if someone just added a question like "where did you get your information about the election" in the exit polls and see what young voters say.
14 February 2008
Like marking a community people who self-identify as interested in a given topic. Or building a "breaking news" feed in a crisis situation. Or engaging that community to drive traffic to a blog or website. Or engaging opinion leaders quickly and directly. Or establishing yourself as a resource on a given topic.
So I started to tinker.
I found prominent bloggers who also use twitter and I built text clouds of their collective blog posts and collective tweets to see if they use the tools differently. (They did.)
I built a news aggregator for Super Tuesday, and it got some attention.
Now I'm building accounts that follow people and news feeds in a specific field, identifying discussions from selected thought leaders and matching them up with the clients that care about it.
And it's all great. Twitter is getting a lot of attention, and it's well deserved.
Until it doesn't work.
Twitter's had a lot of fits and starts lately, as many of the social media marketing glitterati have reported. I've had a lot of trouble logging in, reading updates, sending tweets, and so on. It's been incredibly frustrating, and I'm looking at other tools to get what I need. I want to be a power user of this tool, but it's not giving me what I need.
I even considered dusting off the Pownce account (remember that week when Pownce was the biggest thing EVAH?) and I started poking around to see who was there. A lot of the people I follow on Twitter are on Pownce and Jaiku. I like Twitter's ease of use, but I'll use whatever I need to get the job done.
Please guys, fix the bugs and bring the tool back. I can guarantee you it's easier to get venture capital when your tool works.
12 February 2008
This is a common question PR and issues management firms like mine receive from clients and potential clients. While the answer usually comes in the form of a multi-page proposal with a laundry list of tactics, another option is to point people to Science Debate 2008 and say, "maybe you should try what they're doing."
WASHINGTON – ScienceDebate2008.com, the citizens initiative calling for a presidential debate on science and technology policy, today announced that it has formally invited the presidential candidates to a debate on April 18 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, four days before the Pennsylvania Primary. The invitation to the candidates can be found here.
I learned about ScienceDebate2008, not surprisingly, from a discussion with some science bloggers. The coalition they're putting together is very impressive. Headlining organziations (there are dozens) now include AAAS, the Council on Competitiveness, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The Chairman of Intel has signed on, as have a number of nobel laureates, college and university presidents, and members of Congress.
Politically, it's a gutsy move. We don't know what the political landscape will look like just before the Pennsylvania primary, but it may very well still be competitive. Three of the four (if not all four) major candidates may still be left standing. From a PR standpoint, setting the time and place definitely sends a cue to the candidates that even if they don't show up - and personally, I hope they will - they should expect questions about science and technology, and stock answers like "investing in R&D is critical to our success" won't be good enough.
While the bloggers I talked with seem to lean left of center, this isn't a partisan discussion at all. For example, investing in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics education can be viewed as an economic issue, even a security issue. So much of our economy depends on science and technology, but in just a few years the overwhelming majority of science and engineering graduates will live somewhere else. Democrats don't own this issue. Neither do Republicans.
I've read some of the naysayers who question the utility of "politicizing" science through a debate, and that scientists might be better served by doing the tough work of lobbying and talking with policy leaders at every level. But the truth is this - science is already politicized, and it has been for quite some time. Scientists already engage in conversations with political leaders at every level, and have been for some time.
Frankly, I think the naysayers miss the point - you don't have a "science debate" to try to convince presidential candidates that science is important. They already know it's important. You hold a "science debate" to educate the public. You demonstrate that the people vying to be the leader of the free world consider this a priority. You give science a stage. Hopefully then politicians and scientists won't always have to make the case that science is important - the public will make it for them.
So tell a friend about Science Debate 2008.
11 February 2008
- Fred Thompson's Reaganesque gravitas is helping Rudy Giuliani at the top of the ticket;
- Hillary "Inevitable" Clinton is recharging her batteries after leaving her rivals in the dust;
- Young voters aren't participating because they never do.
The last GOP senator to win a grammy? Why, Everett Dirksen, of course, for his recorded documentary of "Gallant Men" in 1968. (OK, so, I looked it up. I can handle a little mocking.)
I only raise the grammy point because I noticed the techPresident chart that tracks mentions of candidate names in the blogosphere, and I think folks might see a spike in Obama-blogging that is partially explained by the grammy and not the caucus wins.
So the Barack-star is on a roll. Of course, Senator Clinton isn't out of it by any means - she's leveraging the online channel to the tune of $10 million from 100,000 donors in 5 days. The Obama campaign is claiming they continue to outpace the Clinton campaign. Micah Sifry has been watching the money race like a hawk.
08 February 2008
So right now I'm thinking Beckett, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Lester, and Bucholz, with Tavarez ready for spot-start duty. Coco Crisp is still on the trading block since Bobby Kielty re-signed this week. Let Justin Masterson develop a bit more.
07 February 2008
It's no secret that the Obama campaign has been particularly aggressive in using social media tools to reach voters and pull them to the polls. It's also no secret that turnout among young voters - the most active consumers of social media - has skyrocketed, and they're voting for Senator Obama. (Those whispers you're hearing about a McCain-Huckabee ticket are from people looking at how young people respond to the former Governor.)
Are social media tools creating high turnout? Absolutely not. There are a million different reasons someone gets motivated to vote, and I doubt any of them begin with the word, "MySpace." But these tools are absolutely critical to that campaign's success.
We've known for decades, even centuries, that young people filter information through their peers. This filter makes the information more credible and approachable. That's what social networks do.
While some might think social network utilities like MySpace are just a techie-based wedge to give nerds their own secret club, they're actually filters that break down barriers of communication. They expand access to information. They give consumers some ownership of that information. And the marketing guru-types will tell you when someone feels ownership over something, they're more likely to act.
The tools the campaign has chosen are strategically consistent with the messaging his campaign has developed. "We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change we seek." These statements align perfectly with a communications platform designed for user-generated content. They resonate with a generation that talks back; they appeal to groups that talk with each other.
No, I'm not "endorsing" Senator Obama - as if that would influence anyone. Notice that Senator Clinton's speech Tuesday night (you can find video of both Sen. Clinton's and Sen. Obama's remarks here) has plenty of "we" in it. Remember that a majority of this enormous turnout on the Democratic side voted for her. Her campaign uses social media tools as well. I just don't think they're appealing to the small-donor masses that the Obama campaign reaches.
You know, the small-donor online masses that accounted for $28 million of the record-obliterating $32 million the Obama campaign raised in January alone, compared to $13.5 million for the Clinton campaign. About 170,000 new contributors. In a month.
Micah Sifry says the Internet is the reason Senator Clinton is not the presumptive nominee for President in the Democratic Party. The Internet isn't the reason people vote for Senator Obama, but I certainly agree it's the reason more people have heard his message. It's definitely the reason more people have been able to contribute more money to him in a one-month period than any candidate in human history.
06 February 2008
It was a great night for the bipartisan (and bi-coastal) team at Virtual Vantage Points. First, our "headline" contributors for the evening - Cassandra Pye, Craig Fuller, and Ambassador Marc Ginsberg - provided some outstanding content throughout the night, even well after the polls had closed in California. Second, we were able to serve as a valuable resource to people trying to get the latest information on results through our Twitter feed, SuperTuesday. That feed really engaged people who were interested in the primaries and drew them into a larger discussion, both on Twitter and on the VVP blog. Finally, we had a chance to look at political discussions coming from several state bloggers, and even from some of the online communities one wouldn't necessarily think of as inherently "political" - moms, environmentalists, and so on.
As one would expect, last night the VVP blog got a surge in traffic and inbound links (including one from a "top 20" blog, Read Write Web), and the Twitter feed had over 600 followers for a good chunk of the evening. While I expect some drop-off, I hope that people had a chance to see some of the great content the VVP team cranks out. Bill Pierce has another great post there today about health policy.
Last night was a huge team effort even beyond the headlining authors - everyone did a great job. (I'd mention them all by name but don't currently have permission to do so. I hope to soon.)
As for the election results, I think the big story is what it has been all along - turnout, especially among Democrats. The Dems don't have a presumptive nominee yet but the GOP may be much closer to getting one. Pollsters may be scratching their heads again this morning. I haven't seen all of them or all of the results yet, but I do think Mr. Zogby has some 'splainin' to do about his final California poll - it had Sen. Obama winning there by 13 points. You can check out some of the polls here.
I think last night was a spectacular success. What's next? More great content at VVP, and maybe something special throughout Campaign 2008...
05 February 2008
If you're live-blogging or tweeting, let me know. We'll follow you.
If you're in a primary (or caucus) state today, don't forget to vote! And remember to thank a poll worker.
04 February 2008
But in a national primary campaigns have to use all the tools at their disposal. TV ads may have diminishing returns. Candidates can only be in one place at a time, and surrogates typically don't have the same impact as a candidate's presence. This is exactly the moment the campaigns should be leveraging social media tools to pump up turnout, provide information on polling places, identify and manage problems, and even prepare for the next races. By my read Senator Obama's campaign has used social media the most and the best, and it's reflected in the turnout from young voters. They'll need that tomorrow, particularly in California.
My take on social media tomorrow, however, isn't about turnout per se. I'm going to look at how communities you wouldn't necessarily think of as inherently political discuss the primary and if they use their blogs or networks to get more involved. I'm particularly interested in the environmental community, which I haven't heard much about in the debates or from mainstream media. I'll be looking at them over the course of the evening and passing along any nuggets of wisdom I find.
I'm also going to compare and contrast the discussions from political bloggers in different states, to see if national issues are truly the driving topics or if there are state-based issues playing a leading role.
It all starts tomorrow at Virtual Vantage Points and at SuperTuesday on Twitter.
01 February 2008
Now you'll be able to get updates on all the returns and reaction from the Virtual Vantage Points team wherever you are. We'll be pushing all the returns we see plus reaction from our best political minds and leaders throughout the blogosphere.
Just follow Super Tuesday on Twitter - www.twitter.com/supertuesday