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GOP "Webification" Effort Could Backfire

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It is not a bit surprising that Republicans, seeing the powerful success of Obama's bottom-up campaign, with its historic fundraising power, its grassroots mobilization and the database of millions, want to try to replicate the technology. It may not be that simple for newly elected RNC chair Michael Steele to "web up" his right wing minions.

First, the user demographics indicate that Democrats are significantly more likely to use the web, according to the book, Groundswell.

Second, whatever extent the GOP succeeds at incorporating web 2.0, social networking and other bottom-up technologies, they should expect some bite-back-- unintended consequences.


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Former GOP senator Ted Stevens cluelessly described the internet as a series of tubes.


The problem is, Republicans tend to be more top-down oriented. They LIKE authoritarian, father figure leaders. They like the power of the church, of big corporations. They like to give them power. Their values include respecting those in power.

The internet doesn't work that way. WEB 2.0 doesn't work that way. They work almost the exact opposite. There are so many books that have been written on this-- Wisdom of the Crowds, Here Comes Everybody, Crowd Sourcing, Groundswell, The Starfish and the Spider, and What Would Google Do?-- it might be hard to imagine that the GOP wouldn't realize the risk they are taking. But my experience talking to senators has convinced me that they, for the most part don't get it. They might have facebook and twitter accounts, but they don't really understand that the web doesn't just do FOR you, it also does TO you.

One of the reasons the Democrats have taken such a significant percentage of under 30's is the internet and what the internet has done to the neuropsychology of under 30's, also called Millennials.  Between one to many email, instant messaging google, amazon, linux, I-tunes, DIGG, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Wikipedia and so much more-- the web has changed the way this generation that has grown up knowing the internet thinks. The internet enables the bottom up, grass roots, democrat mind. This has changed everything. You can't use the web, especially WEB 2.0 social networking functions-- the kinds Obama's campaign used to beat Hillary's and McCain's campaigns-- without being affected. You start expecting you'll be able to participate, cooperate and have serious input.

The "Millennials," having had their brains marinated in WEB 2.0 and all the stuff the GOP wants to adopt, since their early teens or more, have had all these web bottom up processes and ways of functioning deeply imprinted on their neurophysiology. They see, judge and operate with bottom up values which are far closer to the talk and walk of Democrats.

If the GOP truly attempts to start using these web tools and technologies, they may find the dwindling base they have shrinking, even departing faster than before, as users wake up to realize that the top-down, authoritarian, or screw-cooperation and helping each other libertarian, anti-government principles Republicans embrace just don't gibe with the new "feel" they have for the way things should be.

The Democrats need to be careful too. Obama, while waiting as president-elect, talked over and over again about taking a bottom up approach to dealing with the economic crisis. But he's done very little to really go the bottom up distance, and the members of congress simply think that generating jobs is doing bottom up full service. The truth is there is so much more potential for bottom up ways of dealing with the crisis. While the GOP is bumbling its way into WEB 2.0,  risking accelerating the attrition of its base, the Dems should be tapping the wisdom of the web crowds who lean left-- Jeff Jarvis, Craig Newmark, Clay Shirky, Don Tapscott, facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg-- not that Obama didn't already have Google and Facebook principals on his campaign team.

But we're focusing on right wingers here. The idea that using technology changes the user is nothing new. Missionaries have been using this idea for centuries as a way to win converts. It may be a first though, for a partisan organization to adopt a technology only to discover the adoption has a reverse effect, causing a loss of supporters. Unfortunately for the GOP, there is an inevitability to the need to adopt internet ways. They will, almost certainly, dive headlong into facebook, twitter, and all the technologies the digital, millenial generation lives with. It will be interesting to see if the GOP masters them or if the web technologies master the GOP.

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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.

Check out his platform at RobKall.com

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio:

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, (more...)

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