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Al Gore’s RealSimple “We” Campaign

BY Allison Fine | Monday, March 31 2008

[Cross-posted at A. Fine Blog]

Al Gore just announced a new campaign to $300 million climate change campaign. It’s a very slick website called We Can Solve the Climate Crisis, or We for Short.

At the risk of being totally un-PC for We, I have some problems here (and I’m not talking about the shock of seeing the phrase, “Nobel laureate former Vice President Al Gore” — didn’t I just know him as boring Al?). So, here are difficulties that I have with this:

1. I wonder how much of that $300 million has gone into this too-slick web site. I’ve been wondering for a while where the first social media-driven global advocacy campaign was going to come from, and I imagined that it would come from young people using their social networks and Twittering and poking one another around the globe to press for drastic climate change. I was hoping that it wouldn’t look like an online version of RealSimple magazine.

2. This is probably an extension of the point above, but in addition to the slick feel of the sight are the creepy “real” people talking to me. I think I’d feel better if they were just actors rather than real people who are called “presenters”. I have no idea what that means. I really wish this site felt more like craigslist and less like Disney world.

3. In a truly disempowering sense, the We campaign already has it all figured out — and all we, the robotic consumer people who don’t look as attractive as the “presenters” have to do is click here, buy this, give them our name and email address and the names and email addresses of our nearest and dearest and the problem will be solved! Hey, ad exec. people making millions of dollars, we regular people may have some ideas of what to do, who to talk to, how to organize ourselves that hasn’t been focused grouped and put into pale colors yet!

I’ve got to get off this site, it’s making me really cranky!