What works on MySpace

Over here at Future Majority, I answered a question about how one can make MySpace work. I brought up an example of “virtual-to-field back to virtual mobilization.” The hugely unfunny and equally popular comic Dane Cook is the example.

The basic point is that the best political tools on the internet have been invented by people who have done field work on campaigns. These online tools have been invented to help power and steer existing physical campaign infrastructure.

This is a really important point to understand about online strategy: it must match and harmonize offline strategy. The internet works as an effective complement to each and every traditional campaign department.

Whether it be a campaign for Jim Webb, a cause like New Yorkers for Parks, or a singular event like “Come and See My Comedy Show” online works with offline.

Really. Here is this comedy organization’s “Get Out The Audience” strategy. They considered splurging for an ad, like any campaign, and hoping for the best. They might do well to put an ad in a funny periodical such as The Onion, or in a neighborhood bi-weekly with a circulation in the residential buildings around the venue. While that’s a little more targeted, and better than an ad in the Post, DailyNews or even Time Out, it’s still not great – and it’s by no means “enough.”

A winning strategy acknowledges this:

No, a comedy group has to also do field. You could employ a barker. Literally a guy who stands on the street with “coupons” to the show. He harasses people in Times Square and tries to get tourists…

But of course, the better way to recruit for a show is to talk to your friends, people who have seen you, and help them recruit their coworkers. For instance, you might wanna find out from your buddy if anybody in his office is having a birthday soon, and then help that circle of friends organize a birthday night – after work… at your show.

Finding which excuse jives with the right circle of friends is the secret.

This is the Republican’s GOTV model. The Democratic Party’s model is still to blow tons of cash on expensive ads and pay a barker or two.

The comedy group used a smart MySpace strategy to sell out the biggest Comedy Club in Times Square three times.