Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fianna Fáil epic fail

On Tuesday I signed up for a talk to be given by Joe Rospars from Blue State Digital, New Media Director of the Obama Presidential campaign. I found out about it via Damien Mulley on Twitter & through Maman Poulet's blog & for me, that was a pretty good endorsement.

Off I went last night & was surprised on arrival to see so many suits & handshakes - alarm bell #1. Lights were dimmed & then the Fianna Fail homepage was beamed on the screen - alarm now going ninety. Joe was introduced by Damien Blake of Strawberry Media, at whose site I had signed up for the event. Text on

"Joe will be discussing the lessons of the Obama campaign, how it can be applied in other fields, and will take a Q&A on his talk. Attendance at the seminar is free."

If I had dug further I should have copped Damien is actually Councillor Damien Blake, Fianna Fail. Lovely. So then Joe gave his short talk about the Obama campaign & the floor opened to questions. Most were from FF councillors & election candidates of which my favourite was along the lines of 'we have politicians with great charisma so how do we get it out there via the Internet?" Rospars spoke about how you need to plant the idea of the website being central into the minds of all FF members, right from the very top in order for it to work. This proved to have failed when his piece ended with telling Damien Blake that this was the point where he should give outo the web and email address to everyone to which Mr.Blake replied (paraphrasing here) "well if that's the only thing I've forgotten all day I'm doing fine". Was he even listening to Rospars for the 30mins previous? Not to mind any of the background work they've presumably been doing together?

Words that were repeated throughout Joe's speech and responses were "transparency", "relationship buildling" & "conversation". Afterwards, Mr.Blake spoke to Darragh Doyle and myself and when it was put to him that it wasn't very clever or nice to dupe people into going to what was clearly a Fianna Fail event he said "if people knew it was a FF event they mightn't have come". So you've lost some of the respect & trust of bloggers, journalists & others who attended innocent to the FF element of the event but you're probably happy that you'll have people talking about it anyway? He agreed. 

So the image of "sneaky FF" lives on. They're never going to change from what I see & Blue State Digital have their work cut out for them. Transparency? Failed at the first hurdle. Building relationships? I have my doubts. I felt cheated & lied to last night and came out with more disdain for FF & all involved than any hope of real dialogue with the people of Ireland. 

Epic fail. There's more about it here at Maman Poulet (who also attended), Mulley Communications, Irish Times coverage (overheard them requesting permission to record for podcast, haven't seen it so far) & conversation on Twitter.

1 comment:

DamienBlake said...


Thanks for your post, I appreciate your views on this.

I just hope we can do better on this in the future. I've posted the thoughts behind this - why it happened the way it did - over on my own blog

Good to chat to you, by the way,