Notes from an Unlikely Campaigner

The doorhanger hangar.
Picking up the door hangers & address lists, 5 a.m.

I often feel like I don’t have a dog in the political fight.

As someone whose job is to tell the stories of others (often clients), I try to maintain journalistic impartiality in all my online messages. And that sometimes creeps into my attitudes, too, for better or worse.

But early this morning well before dawn, I joined my awesome and politically charged girlfriend Natalie in racing around the suburban streets of Kansas City, Missouri, to remind people to get out the vote.

If I were a real political mover, I’d be doing all I could to spread the message online (and I’d append #VoteKC to all my tweets). But I’m not interested in that. Instead, I thought the best way I could make a difference would be to spend a few pre-dawn hours festooning houses and apartments in working-class Red Bridge with door hangers containing a list of suggested candidates and information on where to vote.

It’s that latter part – the act of voting – that I like to think I care more about than who wins.

But why not just turn to Twitter? Because, in addition to alienating people with differing views, only my wired friends would see me imploring the citizenry to take action.

I am nearly 100 percent confident that none of the people whose houses we hit this morning would’ve seen tweet-one from me.

For all my belief in the power of social media for global change, I still think going door-to-door is the only way to make that final, crucial difference in local politics. In the heartland, it’s TV, radio, church, and neighbors that constitute the real “influencers.” Not the tweeps working for the politicians.

For evidence, look at the fact that while one MO candidate has 12 times the Twitter followers of the other, it’s still a tight race. (You can’t tweet to vote, after all…yet.)

So that’s why if you really care about change, you’ll get off the socialwebs and go real grassroots.

Besides, your friends who are tired of your loud-mouthed online polemicizing will thank you.



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