The Howard Dean Defense Forces
Howard Dean, the presumptive front runner in the Democratic race, gets it. His campaign has used the Internet, weblogs, MeetUp, and text messaging to absolutely blindside his lumbering mainstream competition. They never even saw him coming. Heck, I can’t imagine a fossil like Joe Lieberman even knows what text messaging is.
Now Dean has the Dean Defense Forces (DDF), who via a blog and a listserv, mobilize swiftly and massively when anti-Dean hit pieces appear in the media. According to DailyKos (sorry, can’t find the specific link now), DDF strikes back fast and hard, sometimes getting out hundreds of protesting emails and phone calls within hours. News organizations appear rather stunned by them.
Good. If Dean gets the nomination, he will be up against major league thugs and his by-then-seasoned DDF may play an important role.
Here’s how the Dean campaign uses the Net to organize, get the message out, and counter-attack. Books will be written about this campaign’s use of the Net, trust me…
Dean campaign home page
Dean Defense Forces
AKA Rapid Response
Dean was the first candidate to have a blog. Plus, it supports RSS, which means weblogs like this one can easily subscribe to the content. Blogs from other Democratic candidates, like Kucinich, don’t support RSS – a seemingly small, but actually quite major difference in the “Do they get it?” question about online campaigning.
They send short text messages about the Dean campaign once or twice a week to mobile devices, mainly cell phones. This, the main group, currently has 2536 members with many smaller, regional groups also in existence. The messages are very brief and few in number, something which also shows They Get It.
This is an amazing way to organize, and is free. Meetup allows groups of people to organize physical meeting places and times. The Dean meetup group has 69,000 people, and will be holding meetings in a potential 500+ locations this Wed night, 6 pm.
So how come they don’t have a camblog yet!
PS When it comes to the Democratic candidates, my heart is with Kucinich and my head is with Dean. If either one wins the nomination it will be a political earthquake.