Barack Obama came at his selection for vice-president with a pretty cool new media idea: He would send a text message revealing his pick to anyone who signed up at his website. We would get the news on our cell phones at the exact same time the gate keepers in the political media did.
And the Obama campaign kept the suspense going.
When I went to bed around 11 last night, there was still no official word on who the veep would be, though the choices were narrowing with Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and Indiana Senator Evan Bayh officially out.
Then I went out to pick up the paper this morning, and there it was, "Obama picks Biden" -- getting the news from the printed newspaper, of all things.
I checked my texts, and sure enough, there it was: "Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee." The time code was 3:28 a.m. So, if a text message is sent to the middle of a forest, and no one's there . . .
Basically, it seems Obama fumbled this new media moment for two reasons:
1. He held onto the news so long, traditional reporting did eventually scoop him. If you stayed up even just a little after midnight last night and were plugged in, you would have known.
2. It was really no surprise. All signs had been pointing to Biden for days. Now, if everyone who signed up for the text got a message, say, Friday afternoon -- when people were obsessively listening for their text chimes -- saying it was Hillary Clinton, or some other surprise pick, that would have been a big moment in political new media. Once Biden was becoming obvious, the campaign should have sent the text.
But, with no surprise and people who signed up for the text not being the first to know after all, it just kinda bombed.
~ The Mother Tongue said her hubby joked that maybe Obama was trying to show he could take 3 a.m. phone call better than Hillary Clinton. Or maybe it was that he could make it as well.