Paul Carr has just released his recent book, "Bringing Nothing to the Party", for free, online. Wanna download the book? Is this great PR? Of course, people who wouldn't buy or haven't heard of Paul's book can now access his ideas. Is this link-bait? Of course, Paul's getting thousands of links to PaulCarr.com or the TC article. Don't think that Paul's decision is anything but a PR move, but that doesn't change the outcome. Think of Leo Babatua, of ZenHabits.net. Leo has released all rights and claims for copyright to all his work. His calculation is that people that want to buy his work will pay for it and people who want to steal his content weren't going to pay for it anyway.
At first, I couldn't even make out what the heckler said. I heard the President interrupt his speech to correct the offending congressman. Watched the rest of the speech, some of the commentary, etc. Then someone mentioned it was Joe Wilson R-SC, 2nd District. Wow, my congressman. Great, just what SC needs. A philandering governor, some of the highest unemployment rates, lowest test scores, and now, a heckler that called POTUS a liar. Great. So, I visited Twitter.com. Wilson was the 3rd, then the 2nd, and quickly the number one trending topic on Twitter. I was getting 200+ updates per second. Googled Joe Wilson; his campaign page was offline with a DB error, his House.gov page was overloaded, many reports of all his phones being busy, and the comments were rolling in on his Facebook page. A normal post on Joe's Facebook page garners about 4 comments or 'likes'. Right now, he's looking at over 1150 comments on the top two stories. Here's the after action report: Joe's House.gov and campaign site are still offline, his FB page is overwhelmed by folks who take issue with his statement, I'm sure his voice mail is full, and he's succeeded in getting his name in the papers. Sure, there will be plenty of folks who see Joe as a hero for opposing Obama, but most people are disappointed or offended by the outburst. Now, Joe's apologized and there's no reason to think he isn't sincere. It was an outburst, he publicly apologized, now let's move on. He doesn't need to resign or any of the such and it's unfair to try to beat that drum. There's more to this story. Joe is running against a young Democrat in the 2010 election. Rob Miller is a USMC officer and Iraq War vet. Seems like a capable guy. When this whole thing started last night, I checked his Twitter page, @RobMillerUSMC. He had about 300 followers. This morning, he's up to about 12o0. He's raising money through a site called ActBlue. Last night he raised over sixty thousand dollars from folks pissed about Joe Wilson's comments. Rob's site crashed due to the overwhelming traffic. So what are the takeaways from this situation? First, control your anger. Second, not only is there a 24 hour news cycle, there's a 86,400 second/day social news cycle. It took seconds, literally seconds, for Twitter to explode with the news of Joe's outburst. His servers started failing, his FB page was hit hard by commenters and I'm sure folks started unfollowing him on Twitter. In Joe's defense, he quickly apologized, but not until after he was the #1 Twitter trending topic. He's updated his FB page, mainly because his other pages can't handle the traffic. But, he hasn't updated his Twitter page since Monday. He could have quickly released his apology, posted a link to twitter, used the hashtags that were trending, and tried to push his message onto the screens of the upset viewers. Not great, but at least meet these folks where they are. Now, Joe's not the only one doing a poor job of managing this situation. Rob Miller isn't really grabbing this one to run with either. Now, I don't mean beating poor Joe up too badly, it's still early in the race, no need to go negative this early. But Rob's missed a few opportunities. Since this outburst, Rob Twitter.com followers have increased 300%, his FB page has been getting a ton of traffic, I assume, because his site was offline last night and those visitors needed somewhere to go. Here's what Rob should have done: First, I would have had a WordPress.com blog online already, probably not expecting something like this, but just to have the domain. When Joe was confirmed as the heckler, I would have called my hosting company and, if they couldn't meet the bandwidth needs, done a 302 redirect to my WP.com site. This would have ensured that no one saw an error page. The only thing on the WP.com page would have been links to other hosted services: my FB page, Twitter page, and this ActBlue thing that raises money for Dems. So you've solved the offline page problem. Since the outburst, Rob's only posted three tweets. There were thousands, probably tens of thousands of democratic leaning, upset voters with credit cards in their pockets. A quick email to all your supporters, encouraging them to visit FB, Twitter, etc and show their support for you and their displeasure with Joe. Ask them to RT a short message about you, with a link to your donation page and the #joewilson hashtag. None of the tweets from Rob contain a hashtag linking them to Joe Wilson. Finally, on the FB front, there are hundreds of folks telling Rob that they'd like to help, but can't vote for him since they live outside his district. Respond to these comments directly, not en masse. Thank everyone for their comment and support. Invite them to join a mailing list just for non-SC 2nd district voters. Tell them that even though they can't vote for him, they can vote with their pocketbooks. It's all really amazing, if you think about it. The power of the internet and social media to knock down the walls between states and congressional districts; the ability of one outburst to raise tens of thousands of dollars for a candidate that no one outside the 2nd district had ever heard of; the crashing servers. Even five years ago this would have played out differently. If people were amazed at the technological prowess of the Obama folks, the 2010 election is going to be a surprise.