He was also keen to stress that the party took the iniative in inviting bloggers to a talk by Obama’s New Media guy, when they could have just confined it to pol corrs.
you’d think they’d learn. To me and others that line is read as “we didn’t have to invite you”. With their symbiotic relationship with the media, Fianna Fáil and all the other equally useless and backwards political parties might have survived on this alone when it came to communications but it’s not going to be so in the future. Bloggers and Twitterers reacted in seconds to the Rospars event, something which as it built, Fianna Fáil couldn’t slow or direct or what they’d prefer: control.
And their beloved political corrs are getting their news from Suzy Byrne at the Ard Fhéis. In the age of a slow news cycle you could afford not to be open. In an age of only a few people being able to access the eyes and ears of thousands, you could afford not to be open. You could manage the news. The media could manage the news. In the world where everyone has a net connection and is sharing information with each other, you’re going to be open or you’re going to be dead. It’s going to be very interesting in the next few years for even the best truth jugglers to keep the act up. Deception is an expensive and fatiguing business and leaves trails. Watch as people will falter and crash. Publicly.
A good thing done by Fianna Fáil this weekend was inviting people who blog to the Ard Fheis, a bad thing was dumping them in the press area and thinking that was it. Media organisations brief their newbies about Ard Fheis’s yet Fianna Fáil missed a huge chance to develop a relationship with these bloggers if they had down them about and told them how things work in FFland. It’s a different world if you’re not a hack who puts Jackie-Healy Rae before Jesus or someone paid to smile politely as a councillor acts like a dick.
Sunlight is the great cleanser yeah? If Fianna Fáil really opened up and gave access to the public and worked with them they’d not have much leeway to pull as many stunts and crimes as they’ve done. They built an environment that allowed wholesale crookery and thievery and while most of the Irish public didn’t care as they too took advtantage, the teacher is still partially to blame for the unruly class. Other parties need to fully open up too.
Another thing not to do is run an event about blogging and snub bloggers who are there. These politicians will have to work and converse with the bloggers who could have met them on their turf.
Without being too harsh, if political parties don’t end their love affair with their beloved traditional media and cop on to where people are going and forming opinions online then some new political entity will swoop in and take over. At best political parties, even the “open minded” ones are Hilary Clinton in mindset and at worst John McCain. There is a huge space right now for someone with enough initial cash to get a lead and then build up enough of a war chest to obliterate the traditionalists. That sounds like someone I’ve heard of.
People seem to think that it was a Democratic Party win in America when it wasn’t, Obama stayed the hell away from the headless main party and Washington itself. Instead Obama and his army of supporters are populated with a lot less hacks. People used to not playing politics. It must surely scare the hell out of the parties here (if they look out at the real world) that within months they and their supporters could be obsolete and with so many pissed off Irish people, 2009 and 2010 is when it has the greatest chance of happening.
Based on the lessons learned from the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, here are some tips for the other parties:
- Invite bloggers. Don’t care if they hate you or not.
- Brief them and be open with them. They’re nervous too.
- Have them meet and greet the decision makers and influencers in your party.
- Don’t lecture them, converse with them. Take their instant feedback on board. Ask for it.
- If the traditional media get pissy cos bloggers are getting access to your people, remind them that these bloggers aren’t salaried to be there.
- Don’t start a bloody blog or Twitter account or Facebook Page just for the local elections. All these are about building longterm relationships, not shortterm ones.
Nice guide from Suzy on suggested Dos and Don’ts.