What follows are my notes, not quotes from a teleconference with Michael Steele and Todd Herman from the RNC on their new webpage, GOP.com.
Michael Steele: Welcome to the new RNC platform! Users can blog, create and find events, join events, create videos. I think it’s going to be very exciting. This is a launching of a new era, a renaissance. It taps into creativity. This beta site is a chance for us to communicate directly with activists and others. It will allow social networking — it’s unprecedented in politics with all the things that will be happening with this website. We’re saving $500k with this website this year, too. There is a financial benefit and a political one. This is going to give people a chance to find out what works and what doesn’t. I was up at 3 AM surfing this website. Visitors can sign in with their Facebook credentials. I do want to hear critical thinking about this website. This is your tool. This is a grassroots tool.
Todd Hermann: Betas are about learning and we are definitely learning today. The purpose of the beta is for us to serve you.
The site seems to be down. You said you wanted to let people know who we are. So who are we?
We are all sorts of people. I am tired of folks believing that we’re racist and Uncle Toms. I want to tell our story. This is one platform among many we can use to tell our story.
Is there going to be moderation or safeguards put in place?
Yes. We have a full cadre of community managers.
Will there be a goal of the website to attract non-political people?
That’s exactly one of the goals of the site.
(Question from me) I saw the website this morning and it looked good, but it is down right now? Why is that? Traffic?
We have a memory leak and we are being hit with an enormous amount of traffic. We are working on getting it back up and adding more resources.
Summary: The roll-out of the new website has been plagued by problems. They had a future leaders page that was blank. Administrator passwords were posted and the website has been up and down for hours, including while they were doing a teleconference promoting it. Quite understandably, that huge mess is what most people are focusing on.
However, because I spent a lot of time working at an ISP wholesaler, I’m a little more tolerant of sloppy roll-outs. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that it’s just something that can happen.
But, the good news is that once they get these technical difficulties fixed up, which shouldn’t take too long, they’re going to have about the best website of any political party on the planet.
The roll out? Honestly, it could have been significantly better. But, it’s still a VERY SLICK looking, technically advanced website, with a lot of functionality, and a lot of integration with social media. Over the long haul, it’s going to be a real plus for the Party.