Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Real Reason That The Online 'Presence' In The BC Election Sucked...


On PublicEye Radio this morning Sean Holman and his Rabble Rousers had a kinda/sorta interesting conversation during the Jack Germond v. Pat Buchanan part of the show wherein they discussed the 'online battle' between the BC Liberal Party and the BCNDP that wasn't.

And while there was a solid, if brief reference to the Liberals silly 'open platform' website, mostly the discussion missed the mark.


Because, it failed to mention how completely lame both parties efforts were for all age groups, not just twenty somethings. This is important because online political activism is most definitely NOT just for pablum seekers.

To be more specific, there was nothing worthwhile online, from either party, for anybody who was looking to really get engaged who wasn't already. Or, put another way, inane twitter feeds and/or softball interviews with Miss 604 just don't cut it with folks who are looking for something that really matters.


This lack of substance was not entirely the fault of the two parties.

Because part of the problem is that there are no online fever swamps on the BC political scene, which is a point that Frances Bula made awhile back (ie. there is no Little Green Footballs v. dKos or even, say Dr. Dawg v. Kate McMillan)...As a result, there are no rock-'em sock'em discussion threads where folks are spurred to action (sorry Tyee, but until you actually get the authors of your Hook pieces to participate in the comment threads under their posts and be willing to voice their own unvarnished POV nothing will really happen there because good blogging and good journalism are not the same thing).

And why do the 'fever swamps' matter?

Because without wide open discusssion spurring folks on to action there is very little that the political parties can hang their on-line hats on.

Witness, for example, what happened in the States during the last couple of election cycles where the grassroots websites themselves pushed the parties from the bottom up (here I'm thinking of advocacy sites like Firedoglake and others that raised money and forced the Dems to push/spend treasure on progressive candidates). To a limited extent, this has happened federally in Canada but in a slightly more sinister, top-down way where the FedCons managed to co-opt/harness their operative S.Taylor's Blogging Tories to considerable faux grassroots effect. Interestingly though, when a Fed-Lib operative named J.Cherniak tried to do something similar with the Prog Ploggers that self-destructed when many of the folks involved, myself included, would not buy into orchestrated codswallop like so many of the BT folks seem to be willing to do


What am I really saying?

That for the BC election just pasy at least, it was all make believe because there was no online presence that mattered for either party.

In fact, the only real advantage, in the end, occurred when the make-believe was successfully turned into fodder for the mainstream media Wurlitzer by the BC Liberals.

The latter occurred when the LINO WarRoom got both the dominant CanWest and BellGlobeCTVRDSTSNAndJustAboutEverythingElse media organs to run with stories about Mr. Campbell's son working it real hard on his Dad's Twitter/Facebook campaigns (which, oddly enough, ran essentially exactly the same posts concurrently).

All of which means that the real honest-to-goddess online fever swamp territory is still wide open, ready to be seized by any provincial party that is willing to get down in the sloppy muck where opinions are flung around like good manure and the roots of the real (ie. not fake) grass first start to take hold.


The Astroturf reference at the end is not a trivial one because the LINOs have used that type of online chicanery to considerable effect as part of their pre-sell marketing strategy when they are getting ready to legitimize their various 'policy' initiatives....But that is not the same thing as whipping the actual electorate into an activist/money-donating frenzy (and heckfire, I'm not sure the LINOs actually want that to happen anyway given where they get their 'real' money from).


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