Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Now?

   The celebration is winding down and your Facebook is getting back to the "normal" conversations of "baby cute" and birthdays. The Twitter feed is less spontaneous with more retrospect, more sports, more movie reviews and fewer "new followers". So what is the focus now? Now that President Obama has been reelected and the Senate and House are more Democratic and there are more Women in Congress. Here's a few ideas:

   Register with at least 3 blogs you've been visiting regularly. You've probably been visiting a lot of blogs via links, but be sure to register with those that offer interesting content on a variety of issues. Join in the comments and conversations. Think of it as maintaining an infrastructure of "rapid response political teams". There are still a lot of issues on the table. Obviously, consider donating to at least one that really stands out for you.

   2014 begins today. Democrats have a long-standing tradition of resting on the "laurels". Look at your Congressional District and the immediate surrounding Districts. The Senate alone has 33 open seats and the GOP already have a BIG bank account set aside for the planned "shift in power". Surprised? Don't be, the GOP has a long-term plan and the Presidency in 2012 was never considered a "keystone" victory. Get to know your local Candidates and offer any help you can.

   New Year Resolution. Tired of committing to weight loss each year? Commit to being a voice for Change instead. There are crucial midterm elections coming up and it's never too early to establish your network for 2016. Democracy requires participation, but time off for the Holidays can be just what the Doctor ordered to avoid "burnout" and/or awkward family gatherings.

   The White House Blog   Keep up to date on political and apolitical news from the White House.

   Become a News Commentator. It's surprising how much opinion is derived from reading other people's opinion...just kidding, of course. You don't need a blog, you don't need a website, all you need is an internet connection. Local newspapers, Regional papers and National news. Some may require a registration, but most offer the option of a Twitter or Facebook "login". While the option to "reply" to a specific comment is available, replies to the article itself are most effective. Include the writer's name when you can and offer a civil critique or supporting comment that represents your point of view and political affiliation in the best light. Yes, sell your ideas and attempt to convert the cynics and the opposition. Avoid snarky swipes or tirades. Also, avoid links to other articles, websites or activist groups.

   Letters To The Editor. The value is obvious. To maximize it's impact, share a link of your published letter to the editor through your Twitter or other Social Media accounts. In this Digital World, clicks and views are everything.

   Maintain your Tweepitude. Retweeting is a simple thing to do. Even if you've decided to go into a "down time" mode, occasionally during the day check your feed and retweet something that catches your attention. Think of it as waving from across the street or in a passing vehicle. Just a gesture to say you are still in the community, just a bit busy lately.

   Enter the Lair of the Dragon. Not for the faint of heart or the queasy, join the Breitbart community for access to posting comments. Not only will you be ahead of the curve when it comes to Talking Points, but you will find you are not alone. The format begs for "flaming" and derogatory remarks. After all, the big "sell" from Breitbart is an ongoing ideological "war" complete with militant terminology and attitude. But whether we want to admit it or not, we need to work with each other as Americans. Letting some air out of the "bubble" is the first step. Most "internet warriors" on the right are actually quite vulnerable to suggestion, hence their unswerving loyalty to false premise. Every time their "learned stereotype" of liberal or Democrat is challenged by thoughtful dialogue, they are one step closer to the "freedom" they so desperately seek.  This same theory is applied to News Commentator above.

   Okay, these are just a few ideas I can think of. You might see me in the Comments sections around the internet or on the Twitters, feel free to wave! Peace





Friday, November 2, 2012

Jake Tapper and Social Media

   Jake Tapper has an impressive resume. I have long-respected Jake Tapper and I have read the Political Punch blogs as a regular routine. I follow a very diverse group on Twitter and I've always considered Tapper a valuable resource of information. But as of this morning, Jake Tapper has blocked my Twitter account.
   I'm not writing this to garner sympathy or accolades. I'm just relating my frustration with high profile "media personalities" that pretend to be engaged in Social Media, while quietly censoring criticism and sincere differences of opinion. I had always thought of Jake Tapper as a Journalist. I understand that political bias is the accusation being tossed around at all political news reporters, but Tapper has always kept me engaged in his writing and reporting by asking the questions raised by both sides of any particular debate. You might disagree, but that's been my experience.
   What did I do to receive the reward of a "block"? I made a joke that Jake Tapper had fallen for the Benghazi hype "campaign" conducted by and Fox News. I was referring to the "Drip, drip, drip" article that played on the theme that the President is hiding something and there's new "proof" from Doornbos that security requests were ignored. It just so happens that I have been reading the "drafts" that Doornbos collected from the Consulate following the FBI sweep. The drafts have been rescued from piles of ash and burnt documents. I emphasize that these were "drafts" because Doornbos and independent reporting confirms that the FBI removed "Documents". The difference? A document has been sent and received, while a draft is just like it seems, an unpublished written work. The drafts are important, of course, as a window into the thought processes leading up to the attack. They are intriguing, as well as contradictory and supporting (depending on the assumptions of the reader). Jake Tapper reported that the draft showed security had indeed been requested. But as I understand the draft (and other independent reporting confirms), the request was directed to the Libyan Government. I didn't get quite the same impression from Tapper's article and the hoots and hollers from the Breitbart crowd indicated they were pleased with Jake's interpretation.
   So I made my joke, with a heaping helping of sarcasm and even a "wink" for good measure. Jake asks me if I object to the substance or is ANY reporting on Benghazi considered offensive. He added, "read the article". I explained his article had "fed the trolls" in my opinion, and the Breitbartians were making a "bank shot" off of it. The bank shot being "credibility in the MSM". He added, "I did my job". I did reply by trying to explain my different point of view regarding the Doornbos "evidence", but 140 characters can be limiting. I didn't hear back, but I figured we had just agreed to disagree and move on from there. I was left wondering if I had completely misread his article. I considered a reply to his "I did my job" tweet. I was honestly thinking I should tweet, "I understand that" or something, but it struck me as too much "brown-nosing" and it wasn't like he would block me or anything...
   I looked for other articles he had written to retweet, but again I was hit with the thought that he doesn't really need my apology or anything, he's a journalist after all. But this morning I checked the Punch and clicked on his Twitter link to see that I no longer "follow" Jake Tapper...because the journalist had decided he is really a media "personality" that can't be bothered with any opinion that might challenge his judgment.
   Granted, I'm just a guy on Twitter to those who don't know me in the real world. I'm also just a guy that Jake could have ignored. My joke was actually a reply to another "tweep", but I don't like the idea of "tweeting behind people's virtual back" so I included the @. I obviously "struck a nerve" as we like to say, but I certainly didn't expect the "face of ABC" to pull the plug entirely over a "misunderstanding". Would a true Journalist with ABC plastered on his bio and a big blue check next to his name really alienate a regular follower, reader and viewer? No, but a media "personality" might.