Mobs of lobbyists and networking everybody
July 24th, 2009

Today’s POLITICO’s article, A President Obama accident: A nation of lobbyists, describes what I think was a natural outcome of the 2009 use in elections of smart mobbing. With a full court press, the Obama campaign activated voter involvement through the internet. As the POLITICO article author Andie Coller describes, and Clay Shirky would put it, now here comes everybody. Although the article put the phenomenon in terms of lobbying, I think political smart mobbing will infuse every aspect of politics in the future. Here is some flavor from POLITICO:

“You have CEOs and interest groups who all want their own ‘mini-Obama campaign,’” says another K Street insider, “because it got so much attention — particularly the highlight on technology.”

In the public affairs world, interest in bringing constituents’ voices into the lobbying game has been growing since the early ’90s, when technology and new media began to make reaching and influencing individuals possible on an unprecedented scale. Firms devoted to grass-roots work or that touted a “campaign-style” approach to lobbying began to spring up, bringing both average Americans and local “influencers” into the process. . . .

“Everybody kind of gets it that if you want to make changes in what [legislators are] doing, you’ve got to get the consumer to speak up, that they’re going to be the ones who are going to be affected,” says Mercado. “That’s what Congress wants to see right now. That’s who everybody wants to hear from. That’s just where we are as a country right now.”

UPDATE by Judy at noon 7/24: To my point, there is an example reported in the Dallas Observer of the new everybody showing up in Dallas of smart mobs from both sides flanking each other outside of Senator John Cornyn’s local office.

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