Ten Reasons I’m Supporting Ryan Meili – #6 – His Innovative Use of Technology

It’s ironic that I’m sitting in Calgary airport as I type this, on my way to Montreal for the Canadian Library Association conference where I’ll be presenting on “Emerging Technology Use in Public Libraries” to the CLA’s Emerging Technology Interest Group.  I’ll be part of a line-up that includes one of the best known tech-savvy librarians out there in an event organized by two other stars of the biblioblogosphere – a librarian who taught the social libraries course at UWO and a recent winner of Library Journal’s “Mover and Shaker” Award. 

I’ve written quite a bit about Ryan’s use of technology in this campaign, especially in the post I did when he launched his YouTube campaign videos but here’s the ironic part – when I first got interested in his campaign, it was all of the other stuff that drew me to Ryan. The effective use of cutting-edge technology was a bonus I was hoping for but didn’t necessarily expect based on what I’d seen in provincial politics recently (ie. not much!)   

But I guess if I think about that statement, it shouldn’t have been a surprise at all.  Facebook and YouTube are still new and foreign to many digital immigrants.  For someone of Ryan’s age, as a digital native, this is simply expected that he would not only have the standard fare – a web site, a Facebook group, an online donation form – but would use the full range of online tools that were available to him.  (In an early argument online with a Link supporter, he expressed the old school view that poor showings at Ryan’s early events meant Ryan wasn’t doing well.  I replied that if 10 people came out, every single one of them might go home and e-mail 10 or 100 or 1000 friends at the click of a button!)

Or similarly, Ryan didn’t have the resources or the time to visit every constituency in the province like Dwain Lingenfelter has done (remember, Ryan’s still working one week a month as a rural relief locum through all of this!)  But via his use of the Internet, anyone who wants to can visit with and learn about Ryan – at his web site, via his snazzy e-newsletter (sign-up at bottom right of page), at his YouTube page, via Twitter updates sent to their cell phone, via the variousbloggers and mediaoutlets which are closely covering the leadership campaign and many other online options as well. 

And Ryan’s really using this technology – not just giving the illusion that he is.  Someone changed a quote I put on Ryan’s Wikipedia page about his campaign’s use of technology.  (I’ll humbly submit that Ryan was also the first candidate to regularly have his Wikipedia page updated as the campaign progressed as well.)  This person changed the Wikipedia entry to basically say that two other candidates are using Twitter too, you know!  Except that when I looked a bit deeper, I saw that Link’s Twitter page hadn’t been updated (and still hasn’t been updated) since April 3, nearly two months ago.  Yens Pedersen’s has never had a single Twitter update! Deb Higgins doesn’t have a Twitter account at all. 

The person also claimed that Link had video on his site first.  Except that misses the whole point of Web 2.0 services – you put information where people will find it, not where they have to go looking for it.  By using YouTube, Ryan allowed supporters (and detractors) to respond to his videos, favourite them, comment on them, embed them in other locations, subscribe to them, add an RSS feed to their feed readers and so on.  His campaign videos speak the language of the web – short, snappy, information intensive, dynamic.  By comparison, Link has one video on his YouTube page – a static, badly-lit, one-shot of people speaking at his campaign launch (that’s what the videos on his web site are like too – except better lighting but seriously, sitting in front of a fireplace talking?  I made a parody video of that style of video when I was in grade seven in 1986 – no word of a lie!)  As for his single YouTube clip, it’s from last November which is about five years ago in Internet time.  It only has 166 views.  By comparison, Ryan’s most viewed video (not surprisingly given the events in this leadership campaign) is his one on First Nations & Metis Issues.  It has 619 views.  That’s not even counting the dozens and in some cases, hundreds of hits all of his other videos are getting as well. 

Besides the YouTube campaign videos, the other major technological innovation Ryan has introduced is a “money bomb.”  Those were used reguarly in the 2008 US Election but haven’t been used before in Canadian politics as far as I know.  An anonymous poster (who I suspect must be someone connected with the campaign) wrote that the money bomb has generated $7000 so far and Ryan still has a few days until the end of the month deadline for this fundraiser.  (Give Now! )

That number made me do some calculations.  Previous US money bombs have raised anywhere from $131 000 to $6 million dollars with all kinds of figures in between.  But to keep the math easy, let’s say the average money bomb makes $3 million.  Assuming a US population of 300 million, that’s one penny donated for every person in the country.  So if the same figure was applied in Saskatchewan with a population of 1 million, that would mean Ryan would have to raise $10 000 to have his money bomb be comparable to one of the more successful money bombs in the US.  Given that this election isn’t even part of an election battle with another party and with the paucity of media attention here compared to the US, I think Ryan’s money bomb needs to be regarded as an enormous success, no matter what the final figure is! 

Murray Mandryk of the Regina Leader-Post recently reported on the huge successes that the Sask Party is having with fundraising efforts targeted at the business community.  And $400 000 is a huge sum to raise at one dinner.  But as Obama proved in the US, hundreds and thousands of small donations can level the playing field against those who attend $250/plate fundraising dinners.  Ryan’s “money bomb” shows me that he’s laying the groundwork for that to happen should he become leader.  If it’s a success as a “test run”, imagine what Ryan could do in a couple years, having been elected Leader and with that much time to build his mailing list and improve on what he already has in place.    (In fact, the money bomb’s such a good idea, I’m going to sneak a
mention of it into my presentation on technological innovation at CLA
tomorrow.  Who knows?  Maybe one or two progressive librarians will
decide to donate as well!)

Anyhow, I hope the party’s paying attention to the technological and other innovations that Ryan’s bringing to politics in Saskatchewan.  Come 2011, these are the kinds of new tools they’ll need to have a real shot against the Sask Party.

Next: #6 – He Gets Things Done

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 3

  1. From Head Tale - Social Media Showdown – #SKNDPLDR Edition on 05 Sep 2012 at 9:33 am

    […] the last Sask NDP leadership race, I spent a lot of time analysing the social media aspects of each campaign.  As we get another campaign underway, the social media landscape has […]

  2. From Head Tale - Social Media Showdown – #SKNDPLDR Edition on 06 Sep 2012 at 12:35 am

    […] the last Sask NDP leadership race, I spent a lot of time analysing the social media aspects of each candidate’s campaign. As we get another leadership race underway, the social […]

  3. From Head Tale - Ten Reasons I’m Supporting @ryanmeili for #skndpldr (2009 Version Recap) on 16 Jan 2013 at 10:19 pm

    […] He’s got very little baggage 8. He’s run a positive campaign 7. He’s my age 6. His innovative use of technology 5. He gets things done 4. His openness 3. His commitment to Saskatchewan 2. He dreams big 1. His […]

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