We are headlong into the silly season of presidential campaign politics. If you doubt it, it’s time to crawl out from under that rock you’ve been sleeping under. Then, once you plop down on the sofa with your laptop, smart phone, or in front of your television, you’ll figure out who the key players are. This week as we launch Puppet John Law, a series lampooning the process of running for President of the United States, it makes sense to explore why I love politicians and what we can learn from them.
I have worked in an integral way on numerous political campaigns; sometimes on the winning side, sometimes on the losing side. I count a number of politicians—in both political parties—good friends. Despite what you might think about their political positions, my experience indicates that (most) politicians start out wanting to make a difference and do right by their constituents. They believe they can further the cause of their electorate, that they can best represent their constituency, and that they will serve the people better than their opponent.
Money and influence sully campaigns and have since the beginnings of democracy. But even today, with all the influence and money that flows through political campaigns, one truism can be gleaned from politics and applied to web television.
“How do you win an election? One vote at a time.” One only has to think back to the George Bush/Al Gore election to remember just how true that is. Even today, we see the Republican primary contenders traveling state-to-state, fair-to-fair, house party-to-house party. Why? To meet people! Raising money is part of the equation, but the goal is to win the support of opinion leaders in communities (communities of people living together, worshipping together, or country-clubbing together, or who share a common ideology). These politicians take their message out to various communities and make the case for how they are unique, different, and better than the rest.
When you listen to top YouTubers talk about keys to their success, it’s not so different. Many of them spend inordinate amounts of time responding to comments and fans, outreaching to communities that would resonate with their show, and working to convert the passive viewer into an active fan who likes, shares and talks about their show. It’s about what makes their show unique, different, and better at connecting with an audience.
Some may argue that the key is to simply create great content. But, discoverability also comes from knowing who would likely connect with that content and helping them find it. How do you build an audience? One view at a time. That’s a great place to start.
Puppet John Law is created by J. Sibley Law with animation powered by HandTurkey Studios.
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I used to believe in the political process. But over the years I have grown less and less connected. Once upon a time, politicians were great thinkers, men of substance. Now they seem to think that substance equals money. Today’s politicians are not great, they are barely even memorable. They don’t listen. However they start out, they are quickly corrupted by the gravy train. We often hear that public servants need huge salaries because that is what attracts the best people. I would argue that the best people would be attracted to a job because of the job’s merit, not its financial worth, and that being adequately compensated for a job well done is its own reward. Nobody needs excessive salaries and huge bonuses. Will this ever change? Probably not. The system is fixed, people vote, or not, and the politicians reassure themselves that everything is just dandy, and the people are satisfied because the system assures that this the only possible answer.