Impressions on the Social Age

OFA progress goes, “Oof!”

Posted in Reading Response by Trace on June 11, 2010

Since electing the most wired President in history – and I’m not talking about the coffee & nicotine –Obama for America Campaign has become Organizing for America (OFA) and subsequently lost its mojo. After Obama’s victory lap and OFA’s absorbtion into the DNC fundraising machine; it became just another mindless direct-mail system. Asking us to spend small amounts of money and sending us email after email after email after email after email. Which is why we all left in the first place.

The DNC took the OFA and transformed them into the Borg. For those of you that missed the cultural staple that is Star Trek the Next Generation (STNG): the Borg were not a Swedish rock band, but a race of beings that valued the collective over the individual. The Borg assimilated humans & aliens alike, implanting strange lasers, giant metal chest pieces and leg augmentations that looked painful and generally impeded their forward motion. The Borg were the symbol of synergy and collectivism to the point of degradation of any excitement and emotion. Your MBA professor would be thrilled. These part-man part-machine beings were emotionless, grey and did what was best for the collective, often sacrificing their own humanity (alienity?) to serve the hive-mind.

Sometimes, I feel the Borg are around us today in the form of media empires, political parties, cable providers, air transportation companies, cheerleading squads and energy conglomerates. No matter what you do, you can’t cheer for what is important to you or so-help-her Britney will come down off that pyramid and give you a piece of her mind!

Looking back on the Obama for America Campaign (OfAC), I remember how proud I was OfAC were using these new tools to frame and target their messages. They were being different! My excitement was more about the use of the technology and the genial, sincere, messages coming from the email-writers.

Politics was personal again. OfAC took politics from the 18th century and shot it just over the line into the 21st. While the 2008 campaigns were new and exciting, there were those dragged kicking into this new world. As of now there are still hundreds of Congress members not on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or whatever. There are still dozens of Congress members who are on these services who don’t have any real connection to them at all. Preferring to staff them out to interns who they believe more familiar with the technology.

This was the difference between OfAC and OFA. OfAC was like the Federation (the good guys); going boldly where no one had gone before, whereas with OFA resistance is futile.

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