This was actually inspired by an Erick Erickson post on RedState. His diary, a rehash of something he wrote in 2008, is about how Republicans need to use technology better. His premiss is that the Republicans don't need politicos who are tech savvy, they need people who actually understand the technology. And he is right, but I don't feel particularly inclined to offer the opposition advise, so I will post here.
Warning this my sound a bit too 'Big Brother' than some of you are comfortable with, but it is reality.
The comment on RedState was:
I'm not trying to be offensive but I see little utility for technology for the republican party as a large part of the republican voting base is old people and again no offence intended but old people aren't exactly the best with technology. However it could be a way to make inroads with youth voters. The tea party movement was primary physical activism not digital activism to be the best of my knowledge and I feel the republicans should play to their strengths. Again I'm not trying to be offensive, just being blunt.The response from a moderator was:
What a load of crap. You are offensive. Don't do it again or you'll be using a bit less technology...ie, this web site.They both missed the point. Technology is what happens behind the scenes. You don't need to know how satellites work to watch the Food Network.
Just being blunt.
For millions of you, every time you change stations form Antony Bourdian's No Reservation to CNN Headline News, that click is being recorded and loaded into a database. Within three clicks you can tell who it is holding the remote. It is anonymous, so they don’t know that it is SallyCat, but they know someone unique, with tractable habits, is now in control of the remote. You can tell if the person watching is a liberal or conservative. (Liberals watch Modern Family, Conservatives watch crime dramas.)
Smart phones are cool. Multi-touch screens are cool. Parallel programming in multi-core processors and GPUs is cool, if you ask me. But all this hardware technology pales in comparison to the data revolution. Data is the brave new wold.
The new technology is in data. (Actually, I think this is where the U.S. Economy should be looking for the jobs of the future.) Every time you use your debit card to make a purchase, every time you launch a projectile in Angry Birds, every time you make a turn in Google maps, your clicks are being recorded. It is anonymous, but it is recorded.
It is not all bad. The CDC learned that they could tell where flu outbreaks were happening by tracking Google searches. It is the landscape of political technology. The Obama campaign was able to make thrifty buys on places like the Food Network and late night T.V. that targeted those voters who they needed to turn out, and they won the election - but that is just the beginning.
The first commenter on RedState was concerned that the older voters who vote Republican do not understand technology and so it was of little value. But, like I said, you don't need to know how satellites work to watch Little House On The Prairie.
Here is just my modest suggestion of how it works.
By over laying demographics against the collected data, you isolate the people you need to reach. That part is already being done. But further, you identify the person who needs to knock on their door. Yes that is what I am saying. It is not Facebook, it is not email, it is not Twitter, it is knocking on the door with the right person. Me? I would be fine with a dirty hippie, I like dirty hippies, but for many that might not work. With overlays you identify those voters who are on your side, AND you identify the right person to talk to them. You send the grandmother from across the street. You send the dry cleaner from down the block. You send the vet who fought in Iraq. You don't send 10 seconds at the door and hand 200 people fliers; you spend an half hour over coffee with 10 people.
That is what technology can do. And that is how you connect with the voters. That is where future elections will be won.
[We are reaching the point where the commercial you see during your favorite show is not necessarily the same one your neighbor is watching. Every frame of a T.V. show has meta data. In the very near future, you will be able to instantly buy the exact boots that you favorite T.V. character is wearing. And then – I don't know - pin it so your friends can buy it too. It is a brave new world, and the data revolution has just begun. I am not all that tech savvy, and I can already use matrix reduction to find relationships between seemingly unrelated data. The amount of data being collected is enormous- and it will be used. Stay tuned. :-)]