Will Jill Derby embrace an online presence?

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Wednesday July 16, 2008.

Now that Jill Derby has stormed Daily Kos, will she be able to keep up the momentum on the digital front?

When I say “keep it going” I mean get it started. She posted on Kos with a “coming soon” Issues page, for crying out loud. Of course, maybe posting on Kos means you don’t have to have issues. It’s not like it’ll sway any of those guys anyway. But if you happen to be a casual blog reader who lives in Nevada and somehow came across the poorly optimized headline from Derby, and then you happen to click over to her site, you might dismiss her because of that page. So, as far as grading goes: FAIL.

Still, this marks a somewhat new chapter in northern and rural Nevada politics. We have a serious candidate for a national office attempting to “engage” the populace. Yay! The message needs work, though:

I’m Jill Derby, Democratic Candidate for Congress in Nevada’s Second Congressional District. Many of you know me from 2006 when I ran for this seat against Republican Dean Heller. Well, I’m back. And I’m running to change the way business is done in Washington.

Another FAIL for the recycled, unoriginal (see what I did there?), and uninspiring reason for running. Forgive me for not reading on. I really don’t care about her wanting to met “Netroots.” I don’t want to meet them, so I really have no interest in why anyone else does.

Beyond this groundbreaking post, what does she do from here? She absolutely has to (if she’s really serious about grabbing votes from the connected world) get real. I’m hoping she springboards from this into the entire world that exists online that so few politicians take part in. Don’t just set up a profile here and there and post the same self-promoting BS that you plaster all over your website with pictures of you “having a great time” here or there. Jump in.

Doing something like that will give Jill Derby a tremendous advantage over Dean Heller, who is both very likeable and very, very traditional in how he connects. The only thing the guy does that I’m aware of is call people at dinner and have them listen in on him talking to a bunch of blue hairs about terrorism or immigration. Both of those things might be pertinent, but it’s the method he’s using that sucks. Using, as your exclusive mode of communication, the land-line telephone is ridiculous and embarrassing. Jill Derby (or Dean Heller) can beat that, and they both might need it to win.

If you want to connect with the online voters, go where they are. Think local. Ask Bob Beers.

Try something new. Really new, not just new to your campaign person who still sees this thing as being won or lost on which out-of-state donors he can hook up before September.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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