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4/28/2006

THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED

Joe Trippi is so liberal he gives Kennedy the creeps, so megalomaniacal he makes Bono seem sheepish, and so right about the internet he makes everyone still relying on top down marketing and leadership look like neanderthals. Often self-absorbed, Trippi seems to truly believe his readers shelled out $26.95 to read about his long history of political involvement ranging from student body elections in college to managing the Howard Dean campaign. I did not.

For that reason I found reading the first two thirds of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised to be like mowing a redneck's yard in search of a buried pickup rumored to be hidden somewhere between the pink flamingos and the collection of yard gnomes.

It was there. I found a Buick sized portion of inspiration and ideas that made even the drudgery of whacking through his self-congratulatory moments and rants about conservatives worth it.

The book is divided into three parts. Part one: Life before Howard Dean - TV and big money controls politics. Part two: The ascent of Howard Dean and the rise of the common man, the internet and small donations in politics. Part Three: The collapse of Howard Dean and what we all can learn about technology based leadership, community and marketing from the candidacy of Howard Dean.

Like I said there are many finds in the weeds here. A few are:

ON THE EVILS OF TELEVISION:
"As I've said, TV is a passive, top-down medium. Sitting around watching television inspires nothing but more sitting around and watching more television. As Robert Putnam writes in Bowling Alone, 'television watching and especially dependence upon television for entertainment are closely correlated with civic disengagement,' People who call TV their 'primary form of entertainment' are far less likely to go to church, to write letters, to join clubs and organizations, or to attend public meetings. One estimate is that every hour of television watching translates to a ten percent drop in civic involvement." (He's quoting Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam)

ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF INTERNET ACTIVISTS:
"Internet activists generally share a few common traits: They tend to be younger, they tend to be unafraid of change - in fact they demand it - and they tend to distrust the mass media to express their particular viewpoint. And so whether it's the Drudge Report or Daily Kos, the most successful web sites and blogs on the Net have about them the unruly whiff of rebellion."

ON BUYING THE PRESIDENCY:
The secret to Bush's fundraising is bundling, finding those corporate donors who can hit up their employees and country club friends for $1000 and $2000 checks. The Bush team calls people who could bring in $100,000 Pioneers. Donors who bring in $200,000 in bundled checks are called Rangers. ...between 1998 and May of 2003 Bush raised $296.3 million and at least a third of the total - many sources believe more than half - was raised by 631 people. ...bundlers get "credit" for their fund-raising work. ...So what do the Kenny Boy Lays [Trippi claims Lay brought in $600,000 for Bush] of the world get for their money? ...two of the five people named to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had been recommended by Lay. In effect...he got to choose 40% of the government agency that would regulate his industry and his corrupt company! (Trippi gives sources for this information in the book if you're interested)

Trippi's main point is that success in the industry he cares most about, politics, is up for sale to the highest bidder. He claims that the candidate with the most cash always wins. This is so, he says, because TV, before Dean's internet campaign, was the best way to make an impression. And those TV ads cost money - lots of money. Combine this fact with the suggestion that rich white guys buy influence with the President's party and you get the picture: Presidents are bought and not elected. Democracy is an illusion in America. Shocker.

Enter Trippi, a seasoned pol and a longtime geek with a history of dabbling in upstart tech companies. He sought to use technology to drop "pebbles" into the masses and help the ripples spread the word about Dean and his new open-source governance. (I'm not telling you anything about how he did this. Buy the book.)

The downside? Dean lost. And the method, rather than the message, was what Dean supporters really rallied around all along.

Trippi is middle school idealistic. He's the guy who still thinks we'll drive flying cars to work soon. He envisions an open-source president corresponding with voters on his blog, taking the names of thousands of every day Americans he knows from his blog with him to Congress to convince Senators not to side with lobbyists on issues voters care about, a president who is controlled entirely (in a sense) by citizens with internet access - and he thinks this is good leadership. He thinks he's replaced TV and radio and traditional American politics with a younger, faster internet driven model forever. Maybe he has. At the very least he's combined the two into a powerful new machine anyone can learn from and adapt to their own industry.

Hmm. Replacing TV's power is one thing but can the influence of Christian radio be usurped?

14 Comments:

Anonymous jwise said...

Shaun,

I've read statements like this article where you talk about Christian radio, but in this post you seem to drop Christian radio in at the tail end with no explanation. Could you explain a bit more what you mean by that statement? Do you think Christian radio influences enough soccer moms today that it's a significant political tool? Just curious :)

4/28/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

"Political tool"? No. Marketing tool? Yes - the one at least some labels find most influential these days. Influential in that it exposes large numbers of people to music that those people then run out and buy.

4/28/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

btw, I wouldn't say those things in that article the same way today. What you have there is an immature artist ranting to a friend who sees things the same way and happens to be an interviewer with a small upstart web site. Who knew the web site would become popular and be quoted on blogs everywhere.

I didn't. Joe Trippi probably did. Every conversation is public now thanks to the internet, and especially blogs. Yet another point from Trippi's book. There is no privacy any more so be careful what you say.

4/28/2006  
Anonymous keith said...

"...can the influence of Christian radio be usurped?"

Maybe when cars come equipped with Ipods and wireless internet connections rather than radios and cd players.

4/28/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

They're being built as we type. A friend at EMI in Nashville (the largest Christian Music Group) told me a couple months ago about cars built with satellite receivers that are programmable: the drivers enters or uploads a list of artists or songs or albums or genres or ...he/she likes and the system scans the satellite signals out there and stores up the songs the driver has custom ordered, along with local news and road info if desired, playable in numerous ways decided upon by the driver. Complicated but could be cool. Other systems are glorified iPods built into cars with the addition of satellite radio feeds. All of this is coming because car companies have watched Apple's profits soar. Money made radio and money could ultimately destroy it.

Are Terrestrial radio's days numbered?

I don't want it dead. I just want an alternative marketing tool. Both/and would be great.

4/28/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

I can't remember where I read it (maybe Seth Godin's blog) but he was talking about how my generation (gen x) may be the last to be able to broadly share a common joke or memory based on a certain tv show or media in general.

As the internet grows and as more people adopt broadband and eventually city wide wifi, people are going to be spending most of their time on the net - participating in niche communities. Already, there are sailing, rock climbing and gardening "tv channels" on the web. There are online communities for any topic you can think of and it's only a matter of time before those communities become more media rich and capable of entertaining rather than just offering information.

All that to say, I think that the same sort of thing will happen in the music industry. I think the importance and popularity of "mass" Christian radio will be dramatically reduced, thereby making it harder for an artist to reach a mass audience. I think more artists will be able to make a living at what they do because there will be a strong demand for niche music and vehicles through which to deliver it (artist's websites, community sites and social networking sites).

With the coming of city wide wifi, I really do think the days of terrestrial radio are numbered.

Just my 2 cents.

4/28/2006  
Anonymous jonathan said...

With the days of mass radio as we know it becoming a thing of the past, my question is what entity will be there to continue to bring fresh new content to our ears? Radio is easy - tune in and listen. Not everyone has the time to search and find new music (well, maybe I do), so who/what will fill the void of the easy radio? I have over 13GB of music on my computer, but alot of the songs are tired, andI like to tune in to Lightning 100 and hear what's ahead of the curve.

4/28/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

102 lines of text.
13 paragraphs of text.
2 lines about Christian Radio.
7 comments about those 2 lines.

hhhmmmm.

brody

4/28/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

In addition to web based radio "stations," I think sites *like* pandora.com, grassrootsmusic.com, purevolume.com, myspace.com and lastfm.com will be the primary way that people find new music and "stay ahead of the curve." The websites out there now, that specialize in the news and music of certain genres will have audio streams of their top artists as well as new artists.

For example, sites like Lastfm.com allow you to create your own "radio station" of your favorite music. I think the social networking sites like myspace, friendster and facebook will have similar audio streams (beyond the limited ones they have now) which will also allow people to introduce new music to others.

Brody, seriously, did you really count all that? I think there are seven comments about Christian radio because that's what his last line was about and it was a question.

4/28/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

A rhetorical one. But, sure, I understand all the attention to that last line.

Point well made though, Brody. So, what about the other 101 lines of text? Anything in there provoke a thought or two?

4/28/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

No.

4/28/2006  
Blogger The Cachinnator said...

Kidding! I'm kidding. Heck yes it provoked a thought or two. I can't help but thinking that Trippi and Kat are two sides of the same coin here. Both are touting the niche community, the online community, the tight community, the community where a buzz becomes a fever that gets passed quickly and easily. But Trippi is a fool to think that politics will be revolutionized by this trend. Will politiking be changed? Absolutely. Will campaigning be changed? Absolutely. Will politicians stop being useless? Nope. They see it as a new mode to beat their same old awful drums. They are missing that it is a sign that people today are starting to move to a different beat.

4/28/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

shaun -- OK. OK. OK. So I am a megalomaniac! But I am much more of a reformer than I am a liberal.

Joe Trippi
http://www.joetrippi.com
joe@joetrippi.com

4/29/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Good to see Joe practicing what he preaches - using blogs to spread ideas...even if the idea is him - his ideas and media consulting business.

And he's stinking good at it.

Thanks for stopping by, Joe.

Now, why haven't the many authors, musicians, theologians, promoters and others I've blogged about not taken the time to post a simple comment like Joe's. Joe will get hits from it. He could even sell books because of it.

I reckon it's because most of us don't know how to know who is talking about us out there and don't know what to do about it when we do. What do you think? Is it valuable info to have, to act on, and how do we act on it? What could acting on it do for you, your business, your ideas?

SG

4/29/2006  

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