Mercifully, the political conventions have now ended. We can finally return to our steady diet of inaccurate attack ads and the media's endless parsing of things that have absolutely no relevance to the lives of everyday Americans.
Now is also the time where the investments in social media tools and in building online communities will start to pay dividends to those who made them. We're at the point in the election season where those who "maxed out" their campaign contribution to the Obama campaign can do so again - we're in the general election, not the primary. The McCain campaign, because it opted for public funding, will get $84 million and no more. (Of course, both the DNC and RNC, as well as state parties, can continue to raise and spend in a way that benefits their candidates.)
The Obama campaign reports receiving $10 million from 130,000 donors the day after Governor Palin made her convention speech, and took a shot at the Senator for being a "community organizer." To me at least, Governor Palin's rhetorical swipe represented the biggest mistake of either convention.
These numbers are amazing not simply in their headline sense. Think about it: that's an average donation of $76.90 - In June, the Obama campaign said the average donation that month was about $68.00. In one day, 130,000 people kicked in seventy or eighty bucks, and brought in about 10 times the amount a fundraising email from Governor Palin to Republicans did. Many of those donations were more than $70, but many were probably much less.
True to the candidate's roots, the Obama campaign has invested time and resources cultivating a nationwide community of supporters, and they've used social media tools along with old-fashioned door-knocking and traditional tactics to do it. They placed a high priority on convincing people that a seventy-dollar donation will make an enormous difference. And it got them $10 million in a day.
THAT'S what community organizers do, at least in the age of social media.
And now, thanks to Governor Palin, those community organizers are a bit more motivated.