Ironic, since in my very last post I wondered whether progressive political forces would use the “democratic dynamite” of social media. In their new website, www.americaspeakingout.com, the GOP, or Republicans are pulling out the TNT.
According to this Wall Street Journal piece, the site will have online instant polling, “open mics” (podcasted too?), and faciliate itself with smartphone apps and texting services. They are going to the digital spaces their membership now inhabit. They “get” what the Obama operatives had gotten in 2007-08. Giving users interactivity is sticky, and results in a sense of greater user loyalty and ownership.
What? The party of tradition and privilege in the USA wants its members’ ideas? Well don’t get too upset. It seems all democratic, but the WSJ piece says that GOP operatives want user interactivity and ownership, within restraints:
…GOP leaders said the purpose was to solicit ideas for this year, not to create a campaign platform.
The site allows participants to press “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” buttons on various ideas, and lets them earn points for their participation. New technology has changed every other facet of Americans’ lives, several Republicans said, and this will change their relationship with government.
“The American people finally have a way in—an unambiguous seat at the table,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.).
Sensitive to the notion that they have few ideas, and are being forced to ask the public for some, the Republicans stressed several times that they have well-established principles and are asking only for suggestions from the American people on ways to move forward.
“This is not a political party in search of a keel or in search of principles,” Pence said.
That’s right. Your bedrock principles don’t change, just the flow of information around them. The wikiness never imagined it would say so, but here goes: Bravo, Republicans! You have shown a creative digital response to your crisis! Your site shows the intent of allowing for democratic discourse while leaving core activities and functions unaffected. May progressives follow your lead!