Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#AskBobby about his Geek Appeal

Ted Cruz knows what the kids like to do with their internets. They like to trap him with sex.  Wait.. no, that's not right.  They like memes and stuff.  And Ted Cruz is really good at those. Just ask Ben Smith.
Smith added he was impressed with Cruz's chops.

"He's good at the Internet and approaches going viral like it's his job. He did these impressions like it was his job," he said. "He very briefly prepped with his staff and then just killed it."

As part of their collaborative approach to social media, BuzzFeed staff blasted out the video and the interview on Twitter throughout the afternoon, with @BuzzfeedNews declaring, "@TedCruz Knows How To Go Viral."

Two hours after the post went live, with 60,000 views on Facebook, Smith said it was too early to tell if the post would actually go viral.

"But it's definitely, like, totally delightful," Smith said.
The potentially viral thing in question there is a video of Cruz doing impressions of Simpsons characters. You can decide for yourself whether or not it is, "like, totally delightful."  But Buzzfeed is pretty insistent this indicates to us that Ted Cruz knows how to use the internet and that this is noteworthy.

A few years back, Gambit ran a cover story telling us much the same thing about Bobby Jindal.

At the core of this movement, if that's what it is, lies a generational shift that has anointed Jindal as its leader. Oddly enough, Jindal doesn't exactly fit into the Pearl Jam demographic that his campaign has so skillfully wooed with launches on YouTube, promises of "revolutionary reform" and video-editing contests. He may look like the runt of the gubernatorial litter, but Bobby Jindal has aged beyond his years.

This time around, Team Jindal is managed by a set of tight-fisted handlers; the candidate isn't the easygoing 32-year-old who granted all-access passes to the media in 2003. Today, it's all business. The new Bobby Jindal has been packaged, mass-marketed and slapped on a bumper sticker -- literally.

At the Mello Joy Café in Lafayette, Jindal is at least 30 minutes late, but no one seems to mind. To help pass the time and market their candidate, a group of young volunteers -- all on the Jindal campaign payroll and who seem to be in their 20s or early 30s -- sets up a table at the front entrance for supporters to pick up yard signs and choose from a wide selection of bumper stickers. Various stickers target farmers, veterans or sportsmen, while others have the themes and colors of Louisiana colleges and sports teams. LSU, UL-Lafayette and the New Orleans Saints asked Jindal to stop using their marks the same week as the Acadiana leg of his statewide bus tour. He granted their requests -- after supplies ran out. Still, the stickers remain a prime example of Jindal's cross-marketing. In contrast to the varied bumper stickers, Jindal's Internet campaign targets one group above all others: the 26-to-46 crowd. He has zeroed in on them better than any Louisiana politician before him, says Ann A. Fishman, president of the New Orleans-based Generational Targeted Marketing Corp. He has more than 500 digital friends on his MySpace page and another group on Facebook, a similar social networking site. There's also a horde of pictures online at Flickr and eight videos on YouTube, all edited with punchy music and quick cuts. The Web sites are connected to Jindal's campaign page, which likewise hosts a blog, RSS feeds and online donations. Georges is the only other candidate with such a formidable Web presence, but he was months behind Jindal in getting it online.

Jindal's youthful zeal plays to the demographic as well, right alongside his impassioned calls for reform. Earlier this summer, a conservative Web site started selling red T-shirts with Jindal's face superimposed over the head of Che Guevara, everybody's favorite South American Marxist.

"Pearl Jam demographic."  In 2007, that was a big thing. Anyway, see, Jindal had a "Geek Appeal" that used the power of MySpace and RSS feeds to sell Jindal Che T-shirts and also elect Bobby Jindal Governor. In other words, Bobby was the Ted Cruz of the internet of the time.

But today we are using the Internet of 2015 when nobody even knows what RSS stands for. (No one ever did, but shut up about that.) How is Bobby managing?

Not as well, apparently.
Someone on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s campaign staff had the brilliant idea of opening up a discussion between the Republican hopeful and Twitter. The result was a terrible idea, poorly executed.

"Someone" on Jindal's staff turns out to have been (probably) someone working for Believe Again, a SuperPAC affiliated with the Jindal campaign.  Some tweets to get the gist of that across:

There are other facts in that string. Believe Again is registered to Baton Rouge Busisness Report publisher Rolfe McCollister. McCollister was a Jindalista from the very beginning. He headed up Jindal's transition team in 2007 and remained close throughout Jindal's tenure as Governor. Bobby appointed him to the LSU Board of Supervisors, where he's done a bang-up job. Rolfe helped get Bobby the use of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for his prayer rally last year, for example.

But despite his background as a communications professional, McCollister must not have understood how easily a hashtag can get hijacked. Maybe the Jindal team needs to go back and work on its Geek Appeal some more.

On the other hand, we might consider that the real trick of the Internet of 2015 isn't so much about controlling a message as it is just plain getting attention. After all, that's practically Buzzfeed's founding principle.  Maybe Ted Cruz still has something to learn from these guys after all.

No comments: