YouTube isn't the only social networking site making political news (see our last two posts). Over the past few days the political blogs have been filled with debate over Senator Barack Obamas MySpace mess.

The “mess involves how Obama volunteer Joe Anthony, impresario of the most significant MySpace Obama page, with 160,000 Obama supporters he had gathered and nurtured over two years, was jettisoned by the staff and consultants of the Obama campaign.

For anyone interested in crisis management in the fast-paced online world of politics take the time to read the intriguing posts of Micah Sifry, co-founder of techPresident, a must-read blog on how the presidential campaigns are using — and mis-using — the new media.

In his first post, Micah provides the background. The next days sequel summarizes the fall-out in the blog world and the potential effect on the Obama campaign. Be sure to read the comments of the political bloggers contained in these posts.

Even if youre not the least bit interested in online political world or online political fundraising, if you deal with volunteers youll see why the old, top-down, and out-moded model so many organizations use in dealing with donors and volunteers can so quickly backfire.

As Zephyr Teachout, an architect of Howard Dean's online/grassroots strategy observed on techPresident: “…having grassroots support means autonomous individuals who do not just work, but speak.”

And with a loud voice, as Jerome Armstrong notes on his post at MyDirectDemocracy: The most intriguing thing about this whole mess is this is the first time I can think of where the grass-roots activist at the bottom of the pile has a megaphone as big as the folks who tried to boss him around.

As far as volunteers are concerned, the days of “command and control” are over!


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