My hubbie brought home The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything, by Joe Trippi on Friday night and I can't put it down.
Trippi, author and Dean's campaign manager for much of 2003 - 2004, is a TERRIFIC writer. His humor, use of metaphor, and brutal honesty make him REAL and a REALLY likable guy in my book. He sounds like a smart, hard working, pain in the ass - a suitable job description for any revolutionary. More important I can't get over his prescience. The way he just knew, before many others, that the Internet would unlock the power of the Dean Campaign and INSPIRE thousands of everyday folks (like me and you) to get involved changing our government.
We all know that the Internet was the Dean Campaign tool of choice out of necessity and strategy. They turned to the Internet to raise a little money from a lot of folks because they didn't have a wealthy supporter base. (Sound familiar?) They also used the Internet because it IS the tool of choice for organizations interested in "creating a populist, insurgent movement." (Sound familiar too?) Finally, they used the Internet because Trippi knew that it was much more than a tool for reaching donors, clients, and customers - it's a tool for EMPOWERMENT. It's a tool for equalizing access to knowledge, ideas, and each other sans gatekeeper, sans bureaucracy, sans credentials and THAT IS WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT THAT MORE NONPROFITS "get it!"
But so many of us still don't...
Read any job description for Public Relations.
"We're looking for someone with media contacts, the ability to write and place op eds and press releases and represent (insert name of nonprofit) to key media." Blah, blah, blah....
Why are we stuck in this passive mode - waiting (and hoping and praying) that someone will cover our stories, run our PSA's, and give us the time of day on the local news? Why are we pursuing such a subservient and ineffectual strategy ESPECIALLY when we and the people who love us most have the Internet (and the amazing tools it encompasses) at our/their disposal?
Stop hiring folks who do traditional PR. Stop relying on traditional media to "televise" your revolution. Stop wasting time trying to "get covered."
Cover your own stories by:
Use the Internet to develop DEEP relationships with the folks that you already know and who already know and love you and TOGETHER work to achieve your goals.
This is a much better way to work. It's more efficient and strategic and INSPIRED.