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We all love a big, bold, symbolic gesture. Especially if it’s made by someone else’s neck on the line. And how we in media love us some big, bold, symbolic gestures when they “print big.” And make for great memes on Facebook nowadays.
Texas State Senator Wendy Davis certainly made a terrific statement during her recent filibuster on the floor of the Texas state senate. Hell, she was a trifecta of Thing We Love When The Hard Work Is Undertaken By Someone Else: symbolic, bold, prints big, and was indeed effective in altering the path of bad legislation. (OK, so that’s four things. Who’s counting when it’s Wendy Davis?! That woman has passed into stuff of progressive legend by now. And how.)
Senator Wendy Davis was right out of post-modern feminism casting. She was exactly what everyone seems to have been waiting for to kick their own southern progressive asses into gear: Smart, good-looking, nice designer suit, stamina of a workhorse. And those running shoes! Oh do I want me a pair now, or what. Must have.
At a fundraiser for State Senator Nan Orrock at Manuel’s Thursday, June 27, the biggest cheer from the standing room-only space of energized supporters as Sen. Orrock took to the mic was when she, Orrock, mentioned Wendy Davis’ 12-hour filibuster ordeal of the Texas abortion bill vote. (Don’t we wish we’d thought of that media-rich tactic and direct action here, eh ladies?)
And Orrock was quick to remind her gathered supporters and constituents that her symbolic gesture of the 2012 Georgia legislative session, along with her legislative sisters in arms/party in both chambers of the Georgia Legislature, made for its own viral-quality media moments when they too protested a 20-week abortion ban stupid bill supported and sponsored by Republicans, although after the vote on stupid bill had been taken. (See picture to left of Ga. House of Representative women in their post-vote protest gesture of May 2012.)
While it made for great photos and TV it didn’t exactly stop a stupid bill from going forward, as did Wendy Davis’ direct action filibuster. But hey, it did indeed move the media meter. And that’s ok. That’s a great start to shoring-up and clarion-calling upon liberals and progressives in a red state.
And something else that goes with media attention as peanut butter goes with the jelly? Money! Yes money, and boy do we hear a lot, in media, about how little the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) has of that stuff. At last count, they say the DPG coiffer was down to a mere $15K. But who’s counting?! Or who’s counting the DPG’s money they clearly do not have?
Since the answer to that is “everyone”, let’s instead turn our attention to where exactly Georgia Dems With Loads of Money are sending it, since they’re certainly not sending it to the state party. Rather, they’re sending it directly to candidates they like a lot. They’re sending it to folk such as the popular, outspoken, and smart ‘n sassy Ga. State Senator Nan Orrock.
That casual, early-in-a-campaign-season, little shindig last night at Manuel’s I mentioned above? That alone took in $25K. So I hear. If last night’s fundraiser was any indication, progs in this new Go Wendy (Davis) Go! political environment are gonna be moving a pen across a check easily, readily and willingly, so it seems.
Memes are great. But real money for a Georgia Dem? Even better.
And WOW what an amazing transformation their social media game has undergone! Just in the last two weeks alone.
Suddenly, they are very responsive to the world around them. To their community here in Atlanta. They’re even dabbling in transparency and straight-up honesty too.
The live Tweets from @APSUpdate during a public forum with the new super Davis last week were very candid. And full of helpful and useful information.
What a difference a criminal investigation can make, eh? But the thing about social media, as any serious practitioner can tell you, social media is a garden; it only produces when meticulously tended.
Let’s watch and see. And participate, cultivate, in this transformation too.
This particular social media swirl is playing out on my territory, and promises to challenge me to TRY to keep up! But you know I’m the woman for that job.
So, let’s over-simplify until I can do a full (video) report on this matter: Atlanta Public Schools (APS) is in a big brewhaha of a mess. It’s a two-prong mess. I won’t go into full mess details here, as that’s the AJC’s job. But first is the CRCT cheating scandal, and second is the APS board’s probationary status.
All could come to a lovely head of face-to-face steam at tomorrow’s APS board meeting, open to the public at 4:30pm, FYI. At APS. (Stay tuned for that live eventing. I may live-stream here. Haven’t decided yet if I want to venture out from behind the laptop yet though. And come early to sign-in. Who knows what APS might do about the posted times.)
What’s fascinating, in that horrible fascinating way, is being able to watch the social media tactics and approaches (I’m loath to call them *strategies* as it’s all rather amateurish right now) present… almost in real time. Even I may not be able to follow it all. But I’m sure gonna try.
Let’s explore, with a handy scoring system, where we are so far:
1.) APS social media scorecard – 1. And they get a score of 1 (out of 10) only because they have at least established a Twitter feed for their sunny-side-up bits. Sorry, APS. But you haven’t even touched your Facebook page since the summer of 2009. Not much going on your website. And APS Superintendent Beverly Hall’s letter explaining the accredidation probationary status APS is now operating under arrived at homes via the Backpack Network. Call Hermione for a better spell soon, APS. Or you’ll be overwhelmed. If you’re not already.
2.) A Facebook Group called Atlanta School Board: Step Up or Step Down already has 266 members, and was pointed out to me by an APS teacher, so seems some APS teachers are banding together with APS parents. And heating-up neighborhood discussion boards and email chains and petitions. That’s good. I give ‘em a 6. They’ve got a’ways to go to keep up with this other group that’s sprung from the PR mess though.
3.) ReCallAPS, so far, is posting fewer Facebook friends than the above group, but I’m certain they will catch-up and surpass. They’ve got a blog going already, and a Twitter feed; Twitter being what will fuel the fires the fastest. Their message seems wishy-washy though, so I’m just giving them a 5. For right now.
For what it’s worth, social media is everyone’s field to play in for communications – crisis or otherwise. Have at it. Make it work for you. Just know it’s a game you don’t want to be on the sidelines merely watching.
I watched something very vital and important on Atlanta’s PBA Channel 30 on the (public) service show called In Contact – an honest and frank discussion about obesity in young black girls. And how this epidemic of obesity is, essentially, robbing young black girls of their childhoods, as the rate of sexual activity for obese girls under 13 is very high.
It was a deadly sobering and scary scenario. One that was well-presented on the show by experts in the Atlanta community on the matter of childhood obesity. After watching the show I was eager to share this media discussion within my social networks… online of course.
Well whoa Nellie! for me, as the show In Contact does not seem to exist online. You can pay a lot of money for a hard copy of a show, by some snail mail process though. And sure, who’s going to do all that just to share it on their Facebook?
(And don’t ask me what PBA30 hasn’t been doing over the years of the rise of social media to build their social networks because I sure couldn’t tell you.)
I can tell you however, old Atlanta media geezers in charge, and let me say it ONE MORE TIME LOUDLY… if you do NOT put your media online then the online community can NOT (easily) help you share your mission and your message included within that original media. Put the stuff online, fer chrissake!
Then ASK people within your social networks (you have been working hard building out those, right?) to help you share that media… and YOUR message along with it.
How many times do I have to tell you old dino Atlanta media people this? Good grief it gets maddening as media outreach solutions are so very simple nowadays.
Less yapping, less studies, less dubiously inflated old-school production budgets (you know who you are doing this in Georgia), less 200-page proposals that never get read – and more social media doing.
Trust me, it’s not hard to do… AND it works.
No, Carol Porter has no signature fragrance. I doubt she’s worn much bling out on the relentless, red-clay Georgia campaign trail for Lt. Governor, either. However, she is doing something just the way Kim Kardashian does it – Carol Porter is synching her real-time social media seamlessly into her online campaign presence.
Go to CarolPorter4GA and you are immediately connected to Porter herself – not to a static, processed appeal for donations as most campaign websites tend to present. Porter’s Facebook updates are presented as fresh, updated content on the homepage.
Porter works her Facebook updates very seriously, posting info and news of her day ahead by 6am that morning. You’ve got to be a seriously early riser to keep-up with Carol Porter, whether in social media or out on the grueling campaign trail. There are busy women; then there’s Carol Porter.
To my many friends and social media aquaintances who were running for public office yesterday to serve the state of Georgia…
I am honored and impressed to know so many of you. Good character and good values cross all partisan lines. And I saw plenty of those from the people I know who chose to set themselves up for the scrutiny of our political process… as I also saw their names on my ballot.
Instead of going out to the victory parties or viewing the results at Manuel’s, as I like to do, I ended-up staying home and watching the documentary about the death of Neda in Iran… a story I’ve followed since seeing and hearing it all play out in front of my eyes and ears on Twitter and YouTube and Facebook and MSM… just over a year ago.
The documentary, Death in Tehran, was a perfect affirmation of our unique political process. There was not a moment that was lost to me, in a documentary about the tragedy and horror of political repression, of how blazingly fortunate and free we are in America – when we choose to be so.
And while there is gross apathy, ignorance and contempt for our gift of political freedoms in America I am fortunate and grateful that, for the most part, the people I know and associate with are fortunate and grateful and respectful of a political process we should never take for granted.
You set an example for others in every action, small or large, you do every day. With the greatest example being your belief and participation in a political system you chose to embrace with a great appreciation affirmation of the process we are astonishingly gifted with.
With absolutely nothing to do with a win or a loss, your example of expectant participation and service is a unique and valued treasure in itself.
Atlanta, GA. 10-22-2009 — Reading the cover story in today’s AJC about social media and the Atlanta mayoral race is like dealing with an ADD person – it’s wildly unfocused and all over the place. And not the least bit interested in hearing what you have to say. Except when it does. From the AJC:
And, while the 2009 race will be the city’s first in which social media play a major role, even campaign officials admit being uncertain whether they can turn Facebook friends and Twitter followers into voters. Facebook and Twitter accounts for the major candidates include everything from diehard supporters to spies from other campaigns to folks from far away locales with no connection to the campaign.
Grayson Daughters, a social media consultant in Atlanta, said the move to electronic communications in campaigns is so new no one knows what value it brings. Everybody knows they’ve got to do it, though.
“These are very, very powerful tools,” Daughters said. “These are databases they have compiled. Once these people are in your database, you have access to them 24/7.”
Will social media drive boots to the polls, so to speak, this year? We’ll know more on November 4th… if we have some, any, exit polling data to give us an idea of what did motivate people to get up off their arses and go vote for a particular candidate in the Atlanta mayoral race of 2009.
It really would be genuinely super-fantastic to have some genuine data in regards to social media and politics. Some kinda science behind the wildly speculative and hypothetical ya-ya that surround social media use in southern politics right now.
Otherwise we’ll just have to slog through more rambling stories that leave us only scratching our heads in media bewilderment.
In all fairness, I also got a tee shirt when I went to the CBS46 “Blogger Summit.” And a nice highlighter pen thingee in the goodie bag, in addition to the Flip cams CBS6 news director Steve Schwaid and co. handed out to the 25 or so assembled Atlanta blogerati who filled up an empty studio with pizza and some lively chatter about community, social networks, and what bloggers can and cannot add to the broadcasting milieu on July 20, 2009.
Come to think about it, CBS46, or WGCL, did a remarkable thing this evening – they invited Atlanta bloggers and social media utilizers from the metro area into their station to talk about, er, stuff. I can’t say this has ever happened before in Atlanta – the MSM reaching out in such a way, other than that one ill-fated meeting at WSB-TV a couple of years ago, but that meeting was so pointless and futile it’s not really worth mentioning so I’ll leave it at “ill-fated.”
I admire their chutzpah at WGCL if nothing else. It may be a case of nothing left to lose so why not go for broke? But to widen the net towards taking seriously Atlanta’s numerous community content providers seems like a reasonable, if not likely highly lucrative, approach.
The chit chat at CBS46 was brisk and spicy, as was the A-listing of some of Atlanta’s longtime, well-regarded bloggers who showed. Spotted in the crowd were Blog For Democracy’s co-founders Catherine Smith and Melanie Goux, Peach Pundit’s Buzz Brockway, Dan Greenfield of BernaiseSource, Amani Channel of My Urban Report, Rusty Tanton of Georgia Podcast Network, Tessa Horehled of Drive A Faster Car, and Doug Richards of Live Apartment Fire.
(Oddly enough, as CBS46 isn’t a Cox Plantation property, a couple of reporter/bloggers from the Cox Plantation Big House showed too, but I’m not sure why they were there as they never said a word. Go figure. Your guess is as good as mine.)
CBS46 wasn’t too coy about why they wanted us bloggers and SM users there. They wanted us bloggers and citizen journalists and writers and marketeers and promoters there to ask us to provide content. For free. To them. (Thus the handing out of the Flip cams.)
And that’s ok. I didn’t think we were invited in to be given paying jobs as journalists and anointed Queens and Kings of the ATL. CBS46 wants to try new things. I assume they need to try new things. They’re willing to experiment, in a rather large way, with citizen journalism and the news content they broadcast. My hat’s off to anyone willing to experiment with change in a traditional medium and not be crystal clear as to what, or even where, the road ahead is going to be. (That approach having been my personal MO for the last couple of years or so.)
But I gotta tell you, with so many places to give our content away for free, other than our own blogs, at some point I’m going to get hyper-picky. No one’s offering grownup money, so until they do we’ve got to be happy with a tee shirt, free pizza, and an occasional guest flash of our homemade news-style content wherever we can get it.
I don’t know if this is the formula for changing the world, and somehow I doubt it is. But in the Atlanta market at least it is a fresh approach and a start to messing around with the status quo of local news broadcasting as we’ve historically known it. (White anchor, black anchor, traffic chopper, and a whole lotta crime scene tape.) And that’s got to be a good thing.
So is the nifty Flip cam handed out by CBS46. I’ve been wanting one of those puppies for a while now. I got mine home and pointed it at the dog. She didn’t seem to mind:
Atlanta, GA. June 22, 2009: WaySouth Media discusses Iran and the internet with IT security expert, Ariel Silverstone. Silverstone explains how the internet functions in Iran… and elsewhere within government and citizenry.
Silverstone also discusses pending United States internet-related legislation, communication tools and privacy issues, global engineering initiatives, YouTube, Twitter, media, and the future of the internet-related communications. Silverstone’s blog is here.
What do a few longtime Atlanta media folk have to say about social media? What blogs do they read? How social media savvy ARE they? And what about Twitter? Their answers may surprise you. This has been a WaySouth Media quickie production: waysouthmedia.com