C-SPAN Providing Social Media Hub for Conventions

cspan.pngPolitical junkies are in the prime of their year right now. Tomorrow in Denver, the Democratic National Convention begins with the GOP convention slated to start the week after.

C-SPAN is offering a social media hub for both conventions with featured tools being video giant YouTube, which will be present at the Big Tent in Denver (see Google) as well as in St. Paul the week later. Also a featured partner is Qik, the live streaming video social service. Twitter is aggregating #DNC08 and #RNC08 tagged streams direct to the website as well.

C-SPAN is not affiliated with either party and the effort is to provide a grass-roots level into the conversation surrounding the conventions from interested parties in person (on site) and remote. I was asked to participate in video and twitter coverage, and I may, but it is not my niche. You’ll more likely see any real coverage over at my personal blog.

A personal shout out to my friend Leslie Bradshaw (and an amazing Latin linguist, I’ve discovered this week) for working with C-SPAN in this effort.

As a disclaimer, I am a non-partisan Barack Obama supporter so, while I’m most interested in the Denver coverage, I’ll be watching the St. Paul coverage as well.

Barack Obama Wins the Democratic Nomination with 3441 Delegates

Forget Independence day, also known as June 4th (Yes, I do know Independence Day is July 4th, but thanks for the correction. The statement was tongue in cheek.), also known as the day that Presidential hopeful Barack Obama claims the Democratic nomination for president. We’ve suffered through five months of primaries and caucuses and all of the tree decorations that have been this Democratic primary season. Today, we stand five days shy of the Montana and South Dakota primaries that will wrap up all 48 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and American Samoa.

Michigan and Florida don’t get the distinction of being called states, in this post, due to their decision to buck the party system and make their own rules. Damn those independents!

So, though Obama appears poised to claim the victory, we thought we’d take the technical approach to the nomination process and figure out what Google Fights has to say.

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According to Google, Barack Obama has won 85% of the vote for a total of 3441 delegates.

One wonders why it has taken this long to find a nominee…

Update: Digg it if you wish.

Lessons in Brand Management from Barack Obama

Note: This is not a political post, nor is it a political endorsement.

Wednesday morning. Just about twenty-four hours have passed since Barack Obama addressed the nation on the issue of race and his relationship to firebrand pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. If you’re American, you’ve probably heard the speech by now, or at least heard excerpts. Even if you’re not American, given the high profile nature of this political campaign, you’re probably more than aware of the circumstances surrounding the Wright-Obama relationship.

In summary, Wright is the spiritual mentor and long time pastor for Obama, and has been the catalyst for tremendous questions surrounding Obama’s ability to be a uniter, and the life principles that drive his decisions. As the spiritual advisor to Obama, multitudes of sermons denouncing the United States and white people has created significant controversy and question about Obama’s ability to be qualified for Presidential office.

Watching the reactions of pundits, bloggers and listening to radio call ins, it’s apparent that the field is split as to whether Obama knocked the speech out of the park and put aside the concerns of critics, or if he didn’t do enough and that “true bigoted colors” shown through.

Regardless about how you feel about his success, I personally feel like he painted a beautiful picture of how to manage brand. Listening to critics, it’s apparent to me that those who didn’t think he did enough feel that way because they want politicians to play a political game. Obama has to say just the right thing. He has to do just the right thing. And if he doesn’t, he’s not fit to be President.

I’m of the mindset that politics is not what we need in politics. As I’ve said many times before, brand is about authenticity and trust. Relationship is built on authenticity and trust. I’d have more distrust of Obama if he came out and threw his spiritual advisor under the bus, because his spiritual advisor is part of who he is! Whether he threw Wright under the bus in public or not, Wright would still be a significant part of who Obama is! And that cannot be denied or covered by politics. Faking it will always cause distrust.

A difficult part of blogging, particularly professional and corporate blogging, is the balance between what makes sense in terms of transparency and what could ultimately be detrimental to your company or personal brand. The beautiful thing about Twitter is that the flow of real time conversation allows people to put themselves on display. We see folks for who they are, if you’re like me (and I’m guessing most of you are), we like people and trust them more for it. That’s brand. It’s trust. It’s relationship.

At the end of the day, I don’t know how much the Obama speech helped or hurt him in the polls. We’ll have to wait and see. I don’t know if that makes him electable or not. Time will tell. The transparency of a man who is under fire regarding a very sensitive socio-relational issue in America, makes him more electable, in my opinion, than any politically charged and correct speech he might have otherwise made yesterday.

Again, this is not a political endorsement, but it plays well to the things we deal with daily.

Primary Endorsements

Super Tuesday EndorsementIf you’re not a U.S. citizen, please feel free to read this but also feel free to ignore. This is intended exclusively for U.S. citizens eligible to vote in the primaries (or dead people in Chicago, if you’re so inclined).

First of all, since my early days as a blogger where I covered a lot of political commentary when I was getting started (the election of 2004 was a fun time for political bloggers, even those of us who were nobodies), I’ve made an intentional effort to avoid political blogging. This entry does not mark a departure from that routine.

However, this presidential election has serious ramifications for those of us in the technology and business communities and we should not simply look the other way and not concern ourselves with the politics of the day. Nor should we retreat to party lines and simply say, “I’ve always been a Republican, therefore I’ll never vote for a Democrat”, or “George W. Bush was a Republican and because I want change in Washington, the only options I have are for a Democrat.

That said, if you’re registered a Democrat you’ll likely only be able to vote for a Democrat in your primary and vica versa for Republicans.

I’m an independent and therefore I cannot vote in my state’s primaries. I am enjoying the politics on both sides and firmly believe that party politics is a poor reflection on America, which is not as divided as most people would like you to believe (at least not most people in the media or in Washington). The reality is that we are all shades of left and right and that most of us tend somewhere toward the middle. If you don’t, you’re blindly following an ideology and not thinking for yourself. In which case, why are you reading this blog? Smart people read this blog.

Because this blog is non-partisan (happily), and because I have intelligent people reading this blog that are voting in both primaries tomorrow and on through the Primary season, I’m going to follow Mike Arrington’s lead and endorse two candidates – one from each party. These endorsements are for the nomination – not for the general election. I will have my own endorsement for that in late October or early November.

I will also clarify that, regardless of your political views, these endorsements are largely based on how I feel the candidate would be for the technology and business community. I do not speak on other, unrelated issues that, while important to consider as a whole, do not play to the interests of the technology and business communities.

Democratic Endorsement

There are two primary candidates for the Democratic party – Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. There is clearly only one candidate that is palatable in the area of science and tech. That candidate wants to empower the private sector to innovate, create and connect America. That candidate understands the concept of openness and how it can fuel innovation and thus, is driving to conquer the digital divide in poorer areas of the country. Clearly, one candidate stands above the other as the only one with a vision for technology in the government and openness in an increasingly open society.

In the wake of 9/11, a glaring weakness was revealed in the FBI’s technology infrastructure. That has not been addressed. As one with first hand experience working for both the Department of the Navy and Health and Human Services, I can attest to technology tone-deafness. One candidate is proposing the creation of a CTO position to ensure that all government agencies are moving forward into the 21st century with modern technology at their fingertips. As a sidenote, how is it we don’t have a CTO already”

That’s why, if you are a Democrat, you should vote to nominate Barack Obama as your nominee for President.

Republican Endorsement

As Mike Arrington noted, the Republican side is quite a bit more blurry. However, unlike Arrington, I come to a different conclusion.

Though there are three potential candidates on the Republican side – John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee – the real race is between only McCain and Romney. McCain probably fits my overall perspective a little cleaner than Romney does. However, I believe Romney is a more solid candidate for the business and tech community.

Unfortunately, neither of the leading GOP front runners have established any kind of solid business platform. While Romney is disturbingly heavy on “War on Terror” related issues, his history presiding over the 2002 US Olympic Committee and the failing Salt Lake City Olympic Commission, as well as fiscal success as Governor of Massachusetts makes him the most appealing candidate as a business community champion.

Lacking the emergence of any slam dunk “business and technology” leader in the GOP race, I cautiously endorse Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination.

Go vote. It’s your country. Your leader.