Monday, July 14, 2008

RNC Opens Its Platform to the Web

In a very tech-savvy move, the Grand Old Party has launched GOP Platform 2008, a new website inviting one and all to contribute their ideas for the Republican Party Platform before the Convention in September. The online discussion forum encourages Republicans to weigh-in on the issues that matter to them most. Anyone who has registered and created an account on the site can post their suggestions for the Republican National Convention using either text or video (via YouTube) and can comment on and discuss ideas posted by others, too.

In addition to the interactive elements, the site as a whole has a very web 2.0-y feel to it -- with an appealing, easily-navigable interface, video introductions from the RNC Chairman Mike Duncan and Platform co-chairs Senator Richard Burr and Congressman Kevin McCathry, as well as a call-out for visitors to add the Republican Platform Committee Facebook app to their profile.

By leveraging an open platform framework and utilizing social media networks like YouTube and Facebook, the RNC is showing their determination to narrow the Dems' lead in web-based politics. Last Friday's unveiling of followed the announcement earlier in the week that the Democrats would allow supporters to participate in shaping their party platform by hosting in-person meetings in every state from July 19 - 27. There's no question that the GOP's new initiative -- which encourages anyone with internet access to chime in from wherever they are -- opens up the political system much further. "We hope that this process will guarantee the greatest amount of public input into any platform in American history!" the RNC announces on the homepage.

According to the RNC, as of this posting (noon PST on Monday) there are already 2,761 platform ideas submitted in text, and 36 in video. This is an ambitious, inspiring effort on the part of the Republicans. But the real judgment should come when the GOP can illustrate exactly how they incorporated the feedback they received from voters as they develop the party platform before convening in September.


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