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In Wisconsin, Savvy Organizing Online, But Not Much Marketing

BY Nick Judd | Friday, July 15 2011

Writing for ClickZ Politics, Kate Kaye takes a look at the online action — or lack thereof — around the Wisconsin recall effort.

In the wake of the Wisconsin state legislature's passage of a controversial collective bargaining law, Democratic and labor groups mobilized to trigger recall elections against six state senators. The Democratic candidates each won their primaries Tuesday, fending off candidates running with Republican support and advancing the recall effort, the Washington Post's Rachel Weiner reports.

To bolster efforts to recall state senators who voted for the collective bargaining law, which weakened public sector unions, progressive groups engaged in a sophisticated online organizing and activism program. But, Kaye reports, they did little to no online advertising. She quotes Democratic digital consultant Chris Talbot on the why:

Added Talbot, "The background for a lot of political folks is in field operations and organizing - and they're finding incredible, innovative ways for the digital world to enhance those efforts. The problem is that this background doesn't offer a whole lot of training in ad strategy or media planning. Just look at the trends, how the Internet is now a top source of news for most American voters, how it surpassed print as the second largest advertising market. People who work in media would spot these things and adjust, but too many political groups are still running a playbook that's a decade behind.

Around the country, unions have looked online to mobilize against collective bargaining changes and budget cuts.