2006 was a big year for me. I had just graduated from college and was setting out to make my mark on the world. Armed with a degree in poli sci, a passion for the Senate, and few (arguably zero) commitments, I joined a statewide campaign in Connecticut for a Democratic challenger to a 6 term Senator. I had experience volunteering and felt pretty confident I could help staff the candidate and manage the media for my region, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the experience of being thrust into a campaign that would break ground in the world of digital media, and alter the course of politics (and essentially ever regulator environment) indefinitely.
The blogosphere was about to transform the political game offering fast, raw, and usually unedited content. This guerilla style journalism offered the public a scoop that would normally take an entire news cycle to produce. The downside, of course, was that the gritty world of blogging wasn’t yet fully embraced by the old guard media institutions, so what bloggers had in scoops, they lacked in credibility. Over time (by the end of the election) groups the New York Times, the Washington Post, and several other major outlets had reorganized their newsrooms, hired bloggers, digital content specialists, and myriad other positions focused on digital media and content.
After the election I moved to Washington, D.C. where I would work at a consulting firm for a few months before getting called up to the Hill to work as the Press Secretary to a U.S. Senator. Again, I was faced with a situation where digital content was becoming increasingly popular (and efficient!), but it wasn’t easy to convince a 70 year old U.S. Senator that he should trade in his copy of the Grey Lady for a tablet. He did, eventually, but it wasn’t without some hard bargaining.
But by the time 2010 rolled around the game had again started to change. Polling data was being modeled through analytical tools that could help determine constituent behaviors. Now, it wasn’t just the news that was being overhauled by this digital revolution.
I could document every year from that point until now with countless anecdotes of how social media and digital content changed the nature of my work… in many cases for the better. But the increased focus on generating good, quality content (often data-driven) makes me excited for what’s next.