Convene your audience but don’t control them

I was just watching a TED video with Clay Shirky discussing the changing media environment. It’s a good summary of the things we are already aware of. But what caught my attention was his lat example where he talks about the Obama campaign. In short, Obama decided to change his mind on the FISA issue and his supporters, ON HIS SITE, formed a group against him. The group rapidly became the largest and most vocal on the site – to the point that Obama issues a press release addressing their issues (he said he would stick to his position). But what Shirky points out, and the group realized, was that the Obama campaign never tried to hide the group, or make it harder to join.

They were mature enough and confident enough to realize that it was their job to convene their audience but not their role to control it.

That speaks volumes about Obama and sets the bar high for everyone else.


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