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Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2007 at 11:02 am

Al Gore Discovers an Inconvenient Truth About Facebook

By Robert Gorell
October 9th, 2007

Al Gore on FacebookOur international readers may not realize that former U.S. Vice President-turned-environmental-activist Al Gore is at once laughed at and lauded for statements about his role in “creating the Internet” — a gem of a sound bite, especially when taken out of context. Well, he may want to take it back. If this screenshot is any indication, he’d have been better off inventing “Web 2.0″; at least then, he might be able to conjure up a Facebook app that could convince the American public that he’s not running for President in ’08. (Besides, this particular application, a news aggregator, hasn’t exactly been kind with the headlines.)

Poor Al. Not only has he endured the pain of winning the popular vote, then losing the 2000 presidential election in a landmark court case — now this?

Recently, Wired Magazine editor — and bestselling author of The Long TailChris Anderson elaborated on Tim O’Reilly’s Facebook application research, which found that “87% of the usage goes to only 84 applications! Only 45 applications [out of approximately 5,000] have more than 100,000 active users.”

al_gore_poll.jpgAlthough it’s unclear whether the “Election ’08″ app is one of the popular ones, it’s not doing much to boost Gore’s imaginary campaign. Still, he’s still coming in at #4 for the Democrats, according to last month’s CNN poll (see thumbnail image). Not bad for someone who’s not running!

So, what gives? Is all this social networking stuff better left to “the kids” (and I don’t mean Al Gore’s kids)? Robert Scoble doesn’t think so.

[Hat tip to Miguel Senquiz at Flavorpill.net for nabbing the Facebook screenshot.]

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Comments (10)

  1. Only Republicants would try to joke about being intelligent and visionary.

    In case you followers don’t know facts, but just like to keep reporting lies …. and on the chance you might actually care about the reality, Al Gore wrote ” High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991. The bill was one of the most important pieces of legislation directly affecting the expansion of the internet.”

  2. LindainSFNM,

    I linked to his Wikipedia entry — which seems to be where you got that quote — for a reason. Al Gore is a visionary for his role in speeding broad adoption of the internet, and I don’t see how this post detracts from that. Are you objecting to my saying he was “laughed at and lauded” for his statement about it? That’s a fact. Besides, I said his comments on “creating the Internet” were usually taken out of context. This post is meant as social (media) commentary, not political commentary.

    (Not that it matters, but if you must know, I’m a registered Democrat and voted for Al Gore in 2000. I think I’ll pass on voting for him in ’08, though — mostly because he’s not running. That being said, my views are not necessarily those of Future Now, Inc., or the rest of the GrokDotCom editorial staff. [Yawn])

  3. Robert, I apologize for not fully digesting your intent. But with the title and the claim, it came across as trying to propagate thefalse claim.

    If you are a supporter, why are you bringing up a 2000 Propaganda claim the Republicants created?

    None the matter, I think we got to the point of who created the lies and based on the realities and vision that Al Gore did.

    Be well.

  4. Robert,

    I think you hit on a larger interesting point in all of this (and that was lost on Lindain). This election cycle is entirely different due to Web 2.0.

    Most of the major presidential candidates are using analytics (with the exception of Mike Huckabee. Romney is even paying for SiteCatalyst), but they don’t seem to have a vision for PPC advertising or Web 2.0 outside of imbeds and blogger conference calls.

    Ideology aside, what would a Presidential campaign, epspecially the site itself and online advertising, look like if the folks at Future Now were running it?

    BTW – I think Hillary Clinton has the best all round website – just based on usability and such.

    Wilson K.

  5. Wilson,

    It’s funny you mention it. People ask us all the time whether we would work with a political campaign, and, if so, whose. (I don’t believe any of the campaigns have reached out to us, but I’m sure it would be the subject of much internal debate if they did.)

    The annoying-yet-honest answer to what a Future Now site for a political candidate would look like is, “It depends on the experience their audience demands.” Persuasion Architectureâ„¢, our methodology, is based on answering 3 simple questions at each step of a website or multi-channel campaign:

    1) Who is the audience?
    2) What action(s) do you need them to take?
    3) What information do they need in order to feel confident taking that action?

    In a presidential campaign, there are usually two important actions: fund-raising and organizing. In terms of meeting those two objectives, I think BarackObama.com wins hands-down — or, at least it did until someone put up this unnecessary, conversion-blocking splash page. Still, with the help of their web strategy, they’ve managed to raise more small money donations (under $200) than any campaign in the history of American politics. Their emails are generally well-timed, well-written and persuasive. And the social networking features at My.BarackObama.com have enabled massive grassroots organization to flourish. It’s a big reason that, with little news coverage, some 20,000 people showed up to see Barack speak in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park (Hillary’s turf). Besides, he’s the only one who’s been selling campaign merchandise since the beginning. Why wouldn’t everyone else do that?

    You may have a point about Hillary’s campaign site in terms of usability, but I’m curious to know why you think of it in terms of spurring action. I know they’re using similar Web 2.0-ish features, but I’d be interested to know how that’s going for them. I’m not sure she has — or needs — the same grassroots organization that Obama does.

    Back in July, Howard Kaplan wrote an interesting post on fund-raising data and using Persuasion Architectureâ„¢ methodology to predict votes, speculating on (not so fast, Lindain) Giuliani’s chances. I’ve yet to write my follow-up analysis of Barack Obama’s campaign, but thank you for reminding me. :)

  6. Robert,

    I love that you gave the Persuasion Architecture answer. I believe you entirely.

    I am interested in how you think the candidates could best utilize the new tools that exist for this election cycle – blogs (sort of existed in 2004), embeds, widgets, YouTube, Facebook, etc…

    While some of the candidates are doing different things, it is obvious that most of them are not in touch with high level Internet marketing talent (check out mikehuckabee.com).

    Things I like about HillaryClinton.com:
    1) Obvious calls to action. The menu on the right side of the home page uses verbs for everything. Fred Thompson does that too.
    2) If you surf through her media, it creates the feeling that her campaign is about You The Voter. It struck me as powerful.
    To be honest, I’m not supporting Hillary, but her website still makes me want to get involved.
    3) All of the issues are framed very favorably. She is absolutely controlling the conversation, but in a comfortable manner.
    4) Obama’s homepage, at least tonight, looks like it is all about 1 issue. Granted that issue speaks to his supporters, but he is not considering the particular whims of You The Voter. It comes across as, “If you aren’t with this issue then you aren’t with us.” HillaryClinton.com is much more open ended. Maybe she considered multiple personas in her planning?

    Would be interested in your thoughts…

    Wilson K

  7. The “Al Gore claimed to have invented the internet” is one of the lamest myths still perpetuated by people who have no real way of discrediting the man. He never said it.

  8. Using the web might work well in politics,too. It is a kind of viral marketing. Either you like or not, they reach you as a `spam`.

  9. My carbon foot plus the company I work plus all of its employees carbon feet prints would fit inside AL huge carbon foot print . He is a scam artist that needs to be punched in the face .

  10. Listen, My carbon foot, will end up Gore’s ass if he doesn’t start telling the truth. What a fat ass he is. Telling those lie’s about the planet is getting hotter, when in fact it’s getting colder. Have you seen the UK? Al, I really don’t have much to say about you, except that your one of the best liar’s that I have ever listen to. Your making billions of dollars with your bull shit about global warming. Some day, you will be found out and when your are, you better hide, because there are many of us that want to get our hands on you and kick your ass. Both of us will have to go to the ER just to get my foot out of your ass.

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