On Second Thought

He ‘got’ the new media….

On Friday, I was interviewed by Brian Lamb for Q&A on C-Span.

(Sunday nights at 8pm)

The interview was a grueling 57 minutes without commerical breaks, and unedited.

Lamb threw me a few questions I was not prepared for, and frankly that I had not thought much about before.

One of them was which of the current Presidential and VP candidates are using the new media the best.

My answer then was not too good, but I thought about it a lot since, and my answer now would be none.

None of them.

FDR was running for the Presidency in 1932 when he was confronted with a new medium – radio.

FDR ‘got’ radio. He got it in that it was a way to create an intimate relationship with voters, to put themselves in everyone’s living room at the same time. As though he was just sitting there. Today, this may seem self-evident, but in 1932, radio was still little understood, particularly as a political tool, and most radio broadcasts were broadcasts of events and speeches. The notion of simply sitting in front of a microphone and talking to the ‘folks’, (like Rush Limbaugh does) was new and novel. Roosevelt was one of the first to embrace this new medium.

Now we have a web that carries video. And video is one of the most powerful tools of communication that we have ever seen.

But up to now, politicians have used online video as a way of ‘broadcasting’ their packaged messages – packaged and produced by ad agencies.  Sort of the way that Herbert Hoover used radio to broadcast his speeches, but not to create an intimate relationship.

What could a candidate do with video and the web?

Well, they could use a video camera to talk directly to the American people.

All the time.

Whenever they felt it was necessary. At the drop of a hat. In an instant. And on anything.

Maybe it would only be for a minute. Maybe less. A kind of video twitter.

But they could do it

They could do it and upload the clip.

And keep uploading clips.

Until it became a kind of online conversation.

Cut out the ad agencies, the producers, the production companies, the TV networks.. and the delays.

Instant

Immediate

Powerful

Intimate

Personal.

At least, that is what I should have said.

Brian, can I come back for a retake?

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