Monday, June 23, 2008

Will Washington use Mr. Scoble?

The Washington portion of Mr. Scoble's trip starts Tuesday.


Most of these interviews will be 15 minutes and we’ll be literally running from one interview to the next. I am not sure which ones I’ll be able to Qik, but we’ll try to Qik at least some of them:

We have the morning mostly free to get acclimated and get our press passes and all that.
Noon. Senator Tom Coburn. (R-OK)
1:30 p.m. Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
2:30 p.m. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Speaker of the House.
3 p.m. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)
4:30 p.m. Rep. John Culberson (R-TX)
Private dinner to thank Andy Feinberg and his team for planning this schedule, then a night-time photowalk of the Washington Mall.


11 a.m. Kyle McSlarrow, President of National Cable and Telecommunications Association.
Noon Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)
1 p.m. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA)
2 p.m. FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein (D)
4:30 Erik Stallman (Tech Counsel to Rep. Zoe Lofgren)
6 p.m. Party with Gary Vaynerchuk and Jim Long (about 200 already signed up).


Still being planned out. Possible tour of White House. Also will probably play tourist and see the Newseum and other museums. Jim Long, NBC Camera person at the White house, and famous Twitterer, is working on something, but hasn’t been firmed up yet.

Well, I went to Washington a year ago, and I went to the Capitol Building. The reason that I went was to show the city to our Swiss exchange student. Why is Mr. Scoble going? Shel Israel explains:

Most of these video interviews will only be 15 minutes in length and I am relatively certain that most of the people he interviews for FastCompany.TV will give him little more than self-serving soundbites, from elected officials trying to show they "get it" and leaving some questions as to whether they do or do not.

That is not the important part. What's important, is that officials who serve at the will of the people have great instincts to go to where the people are....

I think Robert is opening the door in a way that will not allow the door to close again.

The thing about social media is that the people get to talk back. And talk back they will. Just as a few enterprises have learned that customers who talk back are good for them, politicians are about to learn that voters who talk back in the long term are good for them as well.

But when it happens, there's a little shift, a shift of power from the people inside the Beltway to the people they serve outside of it. We gain access. We gain a new way of talking, shouting, pleading, harassing and persuading the people who are elected or paid to serve us.

I think this is a good thing and I than Robert for breaking ground on our behalf.

But I suspect that the politicians will use "social media" in the same way that they've used "town halls" in the past. If you think about it, a real town hall is one in which everybody yells at each other and Jim goes on and on about how Patsy keeps parking her pickup truck in front of Jim's house. Now look at the town halls that have been practiced during the Clinton-Bush years - sanitized events in which the participants are pre-selected, the questions pre-screened, and everyone is happy. ("Boxers or briefs," anyone?)

Social media? Meet the new technology, same as the old technology. A lot has been made (by Huffington Post and Mother Jones) about the assertion that John McCain doesn't know how to use a computer, but his main opponent certainly knows how"use" social media. Sure, Barack Obama has a presence on various social networks, but I haven't seen any evidence that it's more than a one-way blast machine - not something in which Barack engages with people.

Take a look at these two FriendFeed accounts - I am on the left, Barack on the right.

Let's look at the main portions of the profiles. Both of us include several different services, and both of us subscribe to various people. But compare my "Discussions" area to Barack's "Discussions" area. In Barack's case, there isn't any. Barack and his political staff have chosen not to engage in FriendFeed - they never comment on anything, they never like anything. They just blast their stuff out to the world.

Or maybe they don't. In the process of researching this post, I ran across this May 20, 2008 gem from ReadWriteWeb:

The "Obama" account on FriendFeed is following some of the biggest tech movers and shakers -- including our own Marshall Kirkpatrick, but according to Micah Sifry at TechPresident, who is also being followed, that's not actually Obama. "Someone is 'squatting' on the Obama name on Friendfeed, apparently--though they don't appear to be using it in a malicious way," says Sifry via a source in the Obama campaign.

Also see Micah L. Sifry's post and updates.

So, in essence, Barack Obama didn't think to claim his own name on FriendFeed.

Wonder what Matt Craven has to say about that.

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