Monday, November 30, 2009

Bloggy Style

Kevin Robinson, who writes over at Chicagoist, just put up an article talking about one of my favorite topics - me :) Actually, while Kevin is inexplicably complimentary to me (thanks Kevin), the real takeaway from the article in my opinion is not just whether elected officials use social media, but how they use it.
Social networking has become so prevalent in society that even politicians and elected officials use it communicate with constituents. Unfortunately, they tend to use it in a dry and almost "safe" way - sticking to an unwritten script of stating a position on an issue, thanking supporters/asking them to help support a campaign, piece of legislation or friendly candidate, and sharing information about issues the candidate is working to promote or support.

11th District state representative John Fritchey, however, breaks that mold. Fritchey is famous for his Facebook updates - in fact, he's pretty well known for embracing social media applications, from Twitter, to Facebook, to yes, even Blogger.
Those of you that follow me on Facebook or Twitter, or have been reading my blog for the last several years (yes, I am well aware that my blogging has slacked off to no end as my posting and tweeting increased), know that I will be absurdly candid, bordering on irreverent, when it comes to my comments. And while that may give political consultants justifiable pause, for me, it's simply an extension of who I am - for better or worse.

But the point that I tried to convey in the article is that I think the key to maximizing both the intention and the value of social media in the political arena is to use it to let the public see more of who you really are as opposed to simply repackaging the canned messaging that they get all too often from their elected officials.

I know elected officials with Facebook pages and Twitter accounts who likely couldn't turn on their laptop if their lives depended on it; they have staffers handle everything. In my mind, that not only defeats the whole purpose, it actually sends just the opposite message from the one you want to convey.

How's this for a radical concept? If you want to look like you actually like interacting with the public, try interacting with the public. But do it yourself.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Thanks to our Men and Women in Service

This is from an e-mail my father sent me a couple years ago. Happy Veterans' Day to him and to all the other veterans who have sacrificed for our Country.

It is the SOLDIER, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the SOLDIER, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the SOLDIER, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the SOLDIER, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the SOLDIER, not the politician,
who has given us the right to vote.

It is the SOLDIER,
who salutes the flag,

It is the
who serves under the flag,

and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC