Republicans' Web 2.0 aims: Streaming video, online chats
Albert Milliron | June 11, 2008 at 08:23 pmby
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John McCain's nomination as the Republican candidate for president hasbeen locked up for more than two months now. An estimated 45,000people, including Republican delegates, are making plans to gather inSt. Paul, Minn., around Labor Day for the party's convention. But thetechnology behind the website for the GOP's national convention isstill taking shape.
Engineering this technology is a man named Max Everett. Everett is CIO for the Committee on Arrangements, a subset of the Republican National Committee that is activated every four years to plan the convention. His goal for this year's shindig from Sept. 1-4 at the Xcel Energy Center arena: to use technology to make more of the convention appeal to the general voting public.
This objective is something both Republicans and Democrats pursue every four years. While 2004 saw its share of Internet-based advances in fundraising, online community building and e-mail campaigns (see IT on the Campaign Trail and Howard Dean Profits from Web Campaign), this year the parties hope to take things a step further-both to broadcast their messages and make up for the dwindling network television coverage of the events. (Also see The Web 2.0 Campaign for the White House and Election 2008: Technology Issues Will Play a Key Role.)
Live from the Convention Floor
Everett's plans include tons of Web-based video from the convention floor and other venues, provided by a variety of vendors. The Web strategy also calls for submissions from outside the convention by members of the public, and real-time question-and-answer chat sessions with convention delegates.
"We'll be using video to provide behind-the-scenes looks at a lot of the things you wouldn't necessarily hear about in traditional media outlets," says Everett, who runs an IT staff of roughly 20. "The ideas here are for everyone to see the message of our nominee and for people to become interested and more involved."
These interactive programs will begin this summer with a number of contests on YouTube, one of the convention partners. Everett says certain details are still sketchy, but that the contests will require participants to submit homemade videos electronically. Everett declined to say what the GOP is spending on its convention website project.
Another effort designed to increase user participation: streaming video during the big event. This technology, hosted by convention partner Ustream.tv, will operate from a studio alongside "radio row," the spot where dozens of radio stations line up to interview delegates during the big show.
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